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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    1,226

    time to invest... in what?

    hello

    I'm running a hosting business alone for 2 years (I use computers for more than 12 years and always liked it, so I had some tech background when I started and improved it - always reading - while keeping the servers)

    the "problem" is that I'm 20yo, got more than 500 customers and I'm getting around 50 tickets per day... and I have the university, tests, girlfriend, etc.
    I bought a pocket PC (with internet connection) recently so I could support my customers almost everywhere, but I fell I need an employe

    So I have a doubt... in what kind of employe I should invest?
    Sales? Tech support?

    Sales seens to be the most inexpensive (almost no knowledge needed... just need to know the prices, what can and cannot be offered, etc.)
    But if I generate good sales, I'll have more tech tickets to support... so I could handle that for a time and get a tech support when I get more revenue

    But isn't it "bad impression" if a user see a "chat on-line" to talk to a salesman, but doesn't see the same for tech?
    I think I'd think "they invest on getting new customers, but not on keeping them"

    (I have conditions to pay someone to be 8h/day to real-time chat, but not a tech to do that - because they're more expensive than sales)

    So the main idea now is to invest on sales and use this same employe to "filter" some tech tickets
    If it's just something like "how do I create an E-Mail account?", etc. he could answer that from a database FAQ
    it it's something more complex (ie "I'm not getting to import my DB"), then I'd handle that

    do you think it will work?
    on-line chat with sales (but not with tech) will probably increase the new customers? or may have a bad effect?

    thanks

  2. #2
    I am planning on opening my own web hosting company this summer, and could use some tech support experiance. I have a lot of computer knowledge, and could probably filter out a lot of your support tickets. If interested, I would love to chat with you.

    Have you thought about investing in flash tutorials for cpanel/whm. That would probably help cut down on the total number of support tickets, and maybe save you from hiring another employee.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Posts
    3,352
    i think tech support can be outsourced to bobcare or thelinuxguy. if you can't sale then you have nothing to support. i think outsource tech support and foucs on sales and billing.

    just my two cent.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Boston
    Posts
    5,010
    Wow 50 tickets per 500 customers a day seems like quite a bit. Do you have a detailed knowledgebase or maybe flash tutorials? I would first look and see why you have so many tickets and find out how to cut it down, it should literally be less then half of that if you have stable servers without any problems.

    That will cut down a good amount of your workload if you can slow down the incoming tickets and I would also suggest getting someone who has worked web hosting sales before unless you plan to spend a great amount of time with them for training.

  5. #5
    I don't know, I have been with hosts where it is so darn obvious that their tech support is outsourced.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    233

    Re: time to invest... in what?

    Originally posted by Lem0nHead
    the "problem" is that I'm 20yo, got more than 500 customers and I'm getting around 50 tickets per day... and I have the university, tests, girlfriend, etc.
    I bought a pocket PC (with internet connection) recently so I could support my customers almost everywhere, but I fell I need an employe
    I've never been a big fan of sales or support chat sessions. Sure, you get a quick response and you're speaking to a live person, but the conversations can be quite terse and uninformative. I think it's bad for both the host and the customer. The level of communication through a chat session is usually sub-par. So forget about sales chat sessions. It doesn't take care of your actual problem which it seems like tech support.

    You say that you have about 500 customers with about 50 tickets a day. Concentrate on your existing customers and hire at least a part-time employee or freelancer to answer those tickets. You don't have to differentiate between a sales and a tech person. You can have the person do both (some sales and lower-level tech support).

    Also, I would advise on not using a third-party company for "outsourced" support. If you want good, personal, high quality communication, hire someone in-house. It's really the best option.

    Whatever you decide, the important thing is to give your clients the best possible support.

    Good luck!
    IceStorm.com - Top Provider of Web Hosting, Reseller Hosting, and Cloud VPS Plans.
    Why IceStorm? Two Words: Proven Reliability.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    21
    If its a big of an issue as you say it is, then why would you invest in sales to get more clients and thus (as you said) more support tickets.

    You should definatly have someone look at your server if your getting that many tickets each day. Also have live support availible 24/7. And another thing that would possibly help is make a "Support" section on your website with commen problems and give the solutions to those problems.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    1,226
    hello

    thanks for all the suggestions, it was fast

    first: I'm not looking for someone in this forum because currently I deal only with brazilian customers, so Portuguese knowledge is a must
    that makes things a little hard to outsource too

    second: I think 50 tickets/day with 500 customers is a lot either, but like 20% of them are from new customers (or interested on being one)
    and in fact I don't have a knowledge base nor FAQ
    that's something I'm considering doing, but was thinking about hiring someone and put this person to do and mantain that on the spare time

    third: I agree chat is pretty informal and may not be a good option
    probably a better thing now would be working just with tickets (even sales) and, depending on how things goes, start to working with chat and phone support

    so, basically, the most important thing now is a knowledge base

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Rochester, MN
    Posts
    916
    Do you fee more confident in sale s or support?

    If you feel you can better support new sales then hire a tech, you can get a entry level tech that’s going to school for cheap and have him take care of basic support and questions. Anything he/she can't handle have them ask you. Have them add every question to a Q&A or knowledge base. Make sure you reference this q&a/kb link in every email and every invoice sent out.

    If you feel your time is better spent doing support, hire someone to do sales. Try to base pay off of some sort of incentive. If they signup more next month then they did this month they get a #%bonus etc.
    Area51.mn VPS, Dedicated & Colocated Servers.
    Area51 Computers Custom Servers & Gaming Systems. (Since 1998)
    NetAffect Email & Web Hosting Services. (Since 1996)
    Quality Systems & Service Since 1996

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    1,192
    Make your knowledgebase cover a much larger amount of topics, this will help immensley!

    Have someone write articles telling step by step how to get started as well, since that's where most have issues!
    Ankit Gupta - Cernax Hosting
    "We're always second in the industry, the customer comes first."

  11. #11
    I think you should do 3 things to make stuff cheaper for you in the long run -

    1. Outsource Support - Bobcares offers 24$ per month for unlimited tickets for resellers.
    2. Get Flash Tutorials - A decent amount of them will cost you around 110$.
    3. Write some tutorials yourself - Develop an extensive FAQ. It costs nothing.

    Those 3 things will help reduce your work load.
    Techy Bubble

    A Truly Remarkable Web Hosting Is Coming Soon! We won't change the world or anything. We will just make it better....

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