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  1. #1
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    A reseller's customer comes to you for support?

    We have one user who is having trouble with their site; he is a reseller's customer. We've told them politely numerous times that they need to get in touch with the company they purchased their account from for help because they are not our direct client. We did tell them, too, that we forwarded their requests to the reseller, but that was as far as we could go.

    Their response? 'I don't see why you have to get permission from them, my domain is xxxx.com and this is what's wrong with it. Please fix.'

    Was our response wrong, or is this person just being thickheaded? We don't ever provide support to our reseller's customers unless the reseller themself has specifically made arrangements for us to do so.

    What do you normally do if a reseller's customer keeps submitting support tickets to your helpdesk?
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  2. #2
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    hrm, if the problem isn't hard just fix them this time and then tell them for future support issues to contact thier reseller.

    Or just forward all the emails and such to thier reseller.
    ................

  3. #3
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    Typically, from our perspective of things, resellers (at most companies as well) receive a discounted price. This price discount is also factored in with the absolving of such issues like client support, etc. which the reseller must bear the responsibility of, and if they cannot, then they (reseller) must contact us for assistance, not the customer. Unfortunately, allowing, or assisting the client typically will become the case of the client always circumventing the reseller, and going direct to you for support. This can cause problems, especially when it comes to 3rd party software, scripts, or any other admin features that the reseller may not necessarily want installed on their server. My best advice would be to speak to the reseller directly, alert them to the client's contacting you directly, and offer a solution if possible to either have the reseller resolve the problem, or you take the client on directly. There are alternate programs, such as affiliate programs, that allow the affiliates to receive monetary or other compensation for referrals that you ultimately support yourself. Perhaps that is an option as well?

    Thanks,

  4. #4
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    Well, the one time we did fix an issue for a reseller's customer it turned out they had been delinquent on payments and the reseller told them they would not regain access to their account until they brought themselves current.

    Needless to say, that reseller was mighty angry!
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  5. #5
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    @DedicatedNow: Normally this reseller is very good about supporting their clients; this seems to be a problem with this one particular user.

    We've forwarded all emails sent from this user to the reseller and asked them to get in touch with this user so the problem gets resolved. Haven't heard a peep (knock wood) in about 24 hours, so hopefully it's been taken care of.
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  6. #6
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    Originally posted by P-nut
    Well, the one time we did fix an issue for a reseller's customer it turned out they had been delinquent on payments and the reseller told them they would not regain access to their account until they brought themselves current.

    Needless to say, that reseller was mighty angry!
    exactly my point

    Also something that I had to make certain didn't happen, we do not offer *chat* services for support, but do (when selling anyways) have a live chat for sales. I had to make certain that under no circumstances did we allow support through those services, as I've learned my lesson that way as well.

    Thanks,

  7. #7
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    Originally posted by P-nut
    @DedicatedNow: Normally this reseller is very good about supporting their clients; this seems to be a problem with this one particular user.
    Ok, I didn't get enough information about the particular reseller, and we have had both, reseller's that didn't support clientele, and those who did, but their clients just came to us instead. All in all, if you feel the reseller does a good job, perhaps you guys can get together about the customer, and figure out a solution.

    Best of luck to you though,

  8. #8
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    Originally posted by DedicatedNOW
    exactly my point

    Also something that I had to make certain didn't happen, we do not offer *chat* services for support, but do (when selling anyways) have a live chat for sales. I had to make certain that under no circumstances did we allow support through those services, as I've learned my lesson that way as well.

    Thanks,
    Would you mind sharing some of your reasons as to why live chat support is a bad idea?

  9. #9
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    We've had reseller customers contact us as well, same thing, we try and push them back to their reseller for direct support. Unfortunately things get bad sometimes, one of our resellers just wasn't responding to the client at all. Eventually that client asked if he could just pay us directly for hosting, I let him know that is up to him and the reseller to discuss as we cannot just take over the account without an agreement between them first.

    The worst part is we end up getting burned since they tend to use the toll free line for support.
    Dynanet Network Services - 206-607-9075
    We Do Hosting - Established May 2001
    http://www.dynanet.ca/

  10. #10
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    Re: A reseller's customer comes to you for support?

    Originally posted by P-nut
    We have one user who is having trouble with their site; he is a reseller's customer. We've told them politely numerous times that they need to get in touch with the company they purchased their account from for help because they are not our direct client. We did tell them, too, that we forwarded their requests to the reseller, but that was as far as we could go.

    Their response? 'I don't see why you have to get permission from them, my domain is xxxx.com and this is what's wrong with it. Please fix.'

    Was our response wrong, or is this person just being thickheaded? We don't ever provide support to our reseller's customers unless the reseller themself has specifically made arrangements for us to do so.

    What do you normally do if a reseller's customer keeps submitting support tickets to your helpdesk?
    We forward them to the reseller. It's tempting to repsond or correct the problem, but you might risk losing the reseller if they do not want others to know that they are reselling.

    Responding might be a violation of privacy policies as well, since you indirectly revealed some information about them.

  11. #11
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    Occasionally, with a few resellers of mine, they tell their customers to contact us directly. We don't mind, and take care of it promptly, but these arent normal support issues. These are things that only we can take care of, that the reseller cannot do, (like fix corrupted email accounts, or tweak a server setting to get a users perl script to run properly).

    Fortunately, these have been far and few between, but if they start showing up more frequently, I might need to create a proper procedure for escalating issues from my resellers.

  12. #12
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    We work hard to appear as transparent as possible to resellers. Any requests that come directly from their customers are pushed to the reseller and we inform the customer they must go through their support channels with their reseller. It is too easy to do something the reseller doesn't want done, doesn't charge the customer for or has told the customer no to. You can get yourself in a pickle real quick if you bypass your reseller. They sold the account, they need to support it.

  13. #13
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    Originally posted by kris1351
    They sold the account, they need to support it.
    Agree 100%.

    Now the reseller can come to me and i will tell them how to fix or fix it for them. but never thier customer.

    You look like a hero to your reseller and your reseller looks like a hero to his customer which in turn keeps your reseller in business and paying you.
    www.saveserver.com<-- Ask me about low cost dedicated servers
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  14. #14
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    I tend to support my resellers customers but mostly because my resellers are webhosts. they are usually just designers and the such that use their reseller accounts to host the sites. if their client contacts me with an issue I usually respond and help to the best of my ability (can't help them will their billing or such of course)

    my resellers pay extra for this service but i would never support the customer of another webhost.
    Brian Larter

  15. #15
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    Originally posted by ImLagging
    Would you mind sharing some of your reasons as to why live chat support is a bad idea?
    Please remember, I'm speaking only of my own experience here with companies I've managed. Live sales chat, is a benefit IMHO to provide to people surfing the site, however, IM support, can turn into a problem, and here's my experience as to why

    Adequately responding in a timely fashion. When a company gets large enough, with literally thousands of servers to support, so many customers tend to rely upon it, and expect immediate response, regardless of how many other clients also need support at that time.

    Accountability, is difficult as well, because multiple people must login under the same IM handle, so there's no way to pinpoint which user is controlling that name.

    Tracking. It's almost impossible to truly follow a complete ticket start to finish over IM, especially when multiple people use the login, even with chat logs, it saves portions to people's computers. If there's ever a need to see the historic work performed on an issue, it can't be easily obtained.

    Swapping users (employee A leaves for the day, employee B signs on from their machine) requires shutting down IM sessions, thus cutting off all the logs and new employee must play catch-up on stuff.

    With a ticketing system for support, we can have as many employees as we have working for us monitoring the queues, thus giving faster and better response time, rather than 1 employee watching it, and should they step away from their desk, etc. it will go un-noticed for that timeframe.

    There's actually more to it, but those are the basics. This again, is based on my experience, and mine only. Each company varies, some love providing IM support, and more power to them, it's just that this model works out well for us, and we rarely have complaints about the speed of support resolutions from our customers.

    Thanks, and hope that helps,

  16. #16
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    Is the problem a SERVER problem? If so fix it, is the problem a USER problem? If so don't intercede, it only sets a bad precedent, next time a problem arises you'll be expected to fix it since you've already shown you will.
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  17. #17
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    Well of course if it was a server problem it would be our responsibility to fix it.

    In this case it was a simple login issue. Still haven't heard anything from that user so I can only assume that they got it straightened out.
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  18. #18
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    Originally posted by DedicatedNOW
    Please remember, I'm speaking only of my own experience here with companies I've managed. Live sales chat, is a benefit IMHO to provide to people surfing the site, however, IM support, can turn into a problem, and here's my experience as to why

    <snip>

    Thanks, and hope that helps,
    Thanks for the info. I've had my own reservations about Live Chat/IM support, specifically for the tracking reasons. Your experiences gave me other reasons to not like it.

  19. #19
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    If the problem is easy to fix do it and tell the host you have done so

  20. #20
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    I'd say stay out of it. As some have already pointed out, there's no way of knowing what is going on between the reseller and the client. Billing problems, they have said they won't support "x" program, etc. Just because a reseller and their clients have to abide by your rules, doesn't mean that if the reseller puts down extra rules you shouldn't respect them as well.
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  21. #21
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    Originally posted by markjut
    If the problem is easy to fix do it and tell the host you have done so

    Already learned that lesson the hard way - as I stated before, the one time we 'fixed' a problem for a reseller's customer, it ended up blowing up in our faces.

    If it's something the reseller can fix we'll let them take care of it.
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  22. #22
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    We use Live Support for pre-sales questions. Anything that is for existing customers unless it is a simple question is pushed to the ticketing system. I agree you have to keep it away from your primary source of information. The only support we will do is maybe tell them the syntax to setup a user account in Outlook or something.

    I am unsure why you would ever want to support your reseller customers. We have enough to do between server maintenance and our customers that adding the extra load of their discounted customers would kill us.

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