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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
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    combined support team

    forgive me if this is an obviousl idea or is obviously silly or has already been discussed frequently

    i was interested in discussion about the idea of small resellers combining into a support team to extend the reach in hours and depth of knowledge to make available to clients

    the idea assumes more or less that those involved would be small resellers (1 or 2 people) marketing primarily to their local market

    i am thinking that if enough resellers were involved from (for example: UK, Australia, USA) and a suitable level of harmony and cooperation could be established then eventually if would be become possible for those resellers to offer the much sought after "24x7" support

    1) establish an access protected web site where the members can commune and keep records of the support issues

    2) establish an email gateway so that if I was operating myhosting.com then I would set up [email protected] to forward to the gateway which would then distrubute the support request to the members

    3) currently rostered members to handle requests as far as is possible without requiring admin access to the server - when urgent access is warranted according to stated critera the members can page the relevant business owner to deal with the issue (SMS)

    4) livehelp product software can be used to provide a stronger presence and sales support might also be provided

    i do not believe that it would be necessary to develop too much software to enable an idea like this as several existing products could be employed in a useful fashion

    look forward to any further thoughts or a general feeling for how much support such a concept might receive

  2. #2
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    Aug 2003
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    Chesapeake, VA
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    That's an interesting idea that you bring up. Sort of the Web hosting equivalent of a farm "co-op" arrangement, so to speak.

    The immediate question that comes to mind for me is: is chat-only, e-mail-only, non-admin access sufficient to handle a typical client support request? Even if the request is to reset a password or check on an account, that will require some level of admin access --- and then the issue of trust & expertise comes into play.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
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    What's to prevent your competitor from making you look bad, for the obvious reasons?
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  4. #4
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    Bad idea.
    Matt Wallis
    United Communications Limited
    High Performance Shared & Reseller | Managed VPS Cloud | Managed Dedicated
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  5. #5
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    Feb 2003
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    Connecticut
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    It's like communism, only good in theory.

  6. #6
    People will take each others clients etc, its a really bad idea and wont work.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
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    Sydney
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    Originally posted by cdgcommerce
    That's an interesting idea that you bring up. Sort of the Web hosting equivalent of a farm "co-op" arrangement, so to speak.

    The immediate question that comes to mind for me is: is chat-only, e-mail-only, non-admin access sufficient to handle a typical client support request? Even if the request is to reset a password or check on an account, that will require some level of admin access --- and then the issue of trust & expertise comes into play.
    as mentioned, if admin access is required then the owner can be paged to perform the task - however in the meantime the problem has been looked at by someone with (hopefully) at least a little expertise and the resller is less likely to woken up in the middle of the night than if the customer was able to page him/her directly

    the point is that a system such as this can only beef up the ability of a small reseller to respond to requests in a timely manner - if the reseller is primarily selling to his/her local market then the chances that someone needs a password reset in the middle of the night are probably relatively slim - the worst case is when out at the opera and "off the air" for an hour or two and then getting acess to a system - as wifi grows this will probably become easier

  8. #8
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    Jun 2001
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    Sydney
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    Originally posted by AffordableHost
    What's to prevent your competitor from making you look bad, for the obvious reasons?
    live chat support transcripts are available to review customer interactions

    email going through the gateway is also logged for review

    most of all each particpating reseller should realise that their own business can only be enhanced by succesfuly co-operating with the group to supply effective, friendl y support to customers

    clearly anyone incapable of delivering the required level of expertise in an affable manner has to be er... eliminated

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
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    Sydney
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    Originally posted by DanX
    It's like communism, only good in theory.
    seems to me that it is only a bad idea "in theory" as you haven't mentioned an example of when this particular proposal has been tried and failed

    many business operators have formed succesful co-operatives of one kind or another

  10. #10
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    Originally posted by D0mainGuru
    People will take each others clients etc, its a really bad idea and wont work.
    i am proposing that each of the participating reseller is marketing primarily to their local area - this is a marketing strategy adopted by many small operators

    so the resellers in each area have a sort of moral ownership of clients in their area

    just look at the average support forums at a reseller farm - resellers are all chatting friendly and bending over backwards to help each other out

    this just takes that friendly spirit of co-operation one step further

  11. #11
    I think it COULD work, if done properly, between trusting companies. I believe a lot of different hosting company's tech guys already chat with each other, help out with problems, going on other's boxes to help via. root. If you can trust them, I think it would work.

    It definitely wouldn't be a common thing though.
    - Infinityws.com
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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Ottawa, Ontario
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    The problem is, it only takes one bad tech, and then everyone suffers.

    It is a good idea, but it is too much of a risk, and I wouldn't risk my company on it.
    Peter M Dodge,
    President, Viridian Tower Electronics

    (Formerly Creative Director of LiquidFire Network Solutions 2003-2007)

  13. #13
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    Originally posted by liquidfire
    The problem is, it only takes one bad tech, and then everyone suffers.

    It is a good idea, but it is too much of a risk, and I wouldn't risk my company on it.
    i don't see a very large risk here - goodwill with customers is at risk yes - but not totally all at once - a owner can/should follow up all issues with the customer when back on deck - "are there any problems with that issue you had last night?", "how did you find so-so?"

    any incompetence or trouble making should become apparent - overtime trust can be established - but again I am not advocating that privileged access to server is granted - just setting up a first line of defence for incoming queries - when appropiate problems should be escalated so that the principle deals with them personally

    this risk applies to any situation where customer interaction is delegated to a third party or employee - without such risks all companies would be single person operations

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Ottawa, Ontario
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    All it takes is one word to destroy a reputation, and there's plenty of opprotunity for that there. And if someone is not on my payroll, then I have no insurance that they won't do something extremely damaging.

    As noted above, it's good in theory, and it's obvious you've done a lot of thinking on it, but I am not suitably convinced that there is not a large risk here to buy into it.
    Peter M Dodge,
    President, Viridian Tower Electronics

    (Formerly Creative Director of LiquidFire Network Solutions 2003-2007)

  15. #15
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    Aug 2003
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    Chesapeake, VA
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    Here's another idea... that answers the concerns (or most of them) brought up and still has the "group" concept in effect.

    How about just having a group fo resellers that put in some amount of monthly investment to hire a 3rd party 24x7 support team that is neutral and not related to any of the companies.

    I.e. this way, everyone invests a small amount of monthly money but everyone benefits from true 24x7 support from a larger outsourced support company. And since each reseller is smaller, the total volume of requests would be about the same as one larger host so it could work out for everyone.

    Just an idea... I know that personally we wouldn't want to outsource our own merchant support to a 3rd party since we like to keep everything in-house but I could see how something could be put in place to work well for a smaller, local-oriented hosting reseller.
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