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Outsource Your Customer Support

Quality support need be a top priority for any serious Web hosting provider. Customers, especially individuals and small businesses expect timely and informative customer support. Noting that the majority of a reseller's clients come from this constituency, support must be a central tenant of a vendor's offerings. Unfortunately, because most hosting resale operations are small, often resellers cannot effectively deal with incoming support requests. The result is usually an unsatisfied client base that does not obtain timely responses to their support inquiries.

When customers cannot obtain a desired level of technical support they obviously get furious and look for change. It is thus incumbent upon the reseller to establish effective and efficient means of providing technical support to their clients in order to satisfy customer expectations. Resellers can obtain higher levels of technical support if they outsource their own support infrastructure. By outsourcing technical support functions, a reseller can actually reduce customer costs while improving customer satisfaction.

Outsourcing customer support services allows a reseller to provide technical support without the headaches or capital expense of developing, staffing and maintaining an internal help desk. At fast growing Web host reseller businesses, over 50 per cent of all incoming inquiries can be support requests. At the smallest of these Web host operations, these inquiries can detract from other essential areas of business, such as sales and marketing. By outsourcing technical support, a reseller can increase the amount of time that they dedicate to the revenue-generating components of their business.

Great deal of technical support providers now offer expert support solutions that can actually expand the complexity and breadth of support operations. Any basic provider should offer toll-free telephone support and 24-hour e-mail support inquiries at a minimum. Their inquiry supports are the most commonplace in the Web hosting industry. An excellent hosting provider however should have the capacity to offer help desk support via fax and by instant messaging. All this support should be "private labelled" as well, so that assistance provided to your customers is transparent. In other words, your technical support operator should pick up the phone as you.

Remember, that consumers dislike support lines that are overtly generic. Providers should specialize in call screening, routing, logging and tracking, and must be able to escalate calls that meet specific criteria to second tier support specialists or refer certain calls back to the Web hosting resellers.

Outsourcing service providers should also be able to provide customized activity reporting and bill the reseller on a per support request basis. Only on a "per-instance" basis will outsourcing customer support be an affordable proposition to a smaller Web host vendor. For this reason, resellers must ensure that they enter into an arrangement with a customer support outsourcer that is negotiable, short-term and is pro-rated based upon call volume.

Outsourced technical support must be specifically tailored to your service offerings. Your customers will not be impressed with your technical support simply because it is responsive. Customers must obtain relevant assistance when they call. This can only be achieved if the technical support outsourcer has an in-depth understanding of your business operations.

By: Bala Panchanan - websense

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