This is a question to all the web hosting customers here. What do you think is the best method of support a host can provide? Is it phone, email, messenger, IM or any other?
And what do you expect from web hosting providers when there is some severe problem, like server crash, httpd/mail/database server down or anything else. Is it compensation in form of cash or extension of your service... or it may be full refund... or a sincere apology mail is sufficient... or just getting back on as early as it could be is enough.
Hope these things help web hosts provide a better service.
The ideal support is to be proactive and ensure there are as little problems as can be and then for those incidents when things go bad I think it does not matter what kind of support is available, as long as you get contact quickly and can put your worries aside.
I can set up all support features, mail, tickets, phone, IM's and so on, but will that actually make the client any happier if I dont reply to them? No. What you want is not the many features, but quick response times so you know that the issue has been identified and that its being delt with accordingly.
When something goes bad I expect to hear about it ASAP so I know what is going on and an estimate on how long it will take to fix. I fully understand that things sometimes go bad and as long as I know that its being corrected I dont mind much as long as its not a frequent occurance.
An appology is manditory, period. People are paying for your services and when something goes wrong, even if its for a short period you should always appologise. It takes virtually no time and it show that you care about your clients and respect them.
When it comes to compensation that is from case to case basis. Some clients may not care much and are satisfied with just getting things fixed, others may have suffered because of the loss because they have a special sale going on or things like that. In those cases you should discuss the problem it caused them and work out a solution for compensation.
The main thing in all of this is that no matter how you turn and twist you should make sure your clients come first and that you satisfy their individual needs. Always be polite and respectful and listen to what the client has to say. Finally, trim your support, no matter what kind it is, so that you get the best possible response time.
I expect a host to have phone and email at a minimum. Instant messenger or chat is even better. When there is amajor problem, my first expectation is for them to fix it. I don't expect a refund or credit unless the problem is for an extended period of time or happens again shortly after. I know there can be problems. I just want to be assured they are going to fix it in a timely matter.
The amount of support I expect depends on the price.
* If it is free or practicaly free then little/no support
* Over $5 a month I think e-mail next day is appropriate
* Over $10 should have 12 hour e-mail resolution and Im support available during some business hours
* Over $15 should probably have some sort of phone support with techs, 4 hour e-mail resolution and IM support available.
* Over $25 I want 24 hour phone support
* Over $35 I want 24 hour phone support and someone who can solve the problem via the phone the first time I call.
We have phone, email, livehelp and Flash Tutorials, FAQ's personally i find sites that have LiveHelp that are actuallu online the most helpful, which is why we decided to go for that - Good support documentation is also something I like, so i can try and sort out the problem myself if possible.
It is important to keep support issues to a minimum by making everything as secure and reliable as possible to be. For those problems that do occur I think support ticket and forums is enough for shared and reseller hosting, but for VPS and dedicated I think it is important to have telephone support, or at the very leaste live chat (and I don't mean installing live chat software, i mean installing and using it).