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  1. #1
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    Good to turn off email support tickets?

    I'm seriously looking into turning off allowing support tickets via email. Here are the reasons:

    - For some strange reason users always like to send emails with anything OTHER than their registered billing email address. This means less security, more time to authenticate the users, etc. Not only this, but many won't even bother telling me what their account is, resulting in email tag.

    - Some users insist on sending duplicate emails to multiple email addresses, some of which don't even deal with their issues. For instance sales@, reseller@, billing@, etc when their issue has to do with FTP.

    - Security. Often times sensitive information needs to be sent. Email is plaintext, so there's no security there.


    Obviously the downside is that customers may be pissed because it's harder to contact support. They'd have to log in to their ModernBill (suppose ModernBill is being used, integrated with some support ticket system) and send it from there.

    What are your thoughts?

  2. #2
    You should not disable support by email as thats the most convenient way for customers to communicate and many times customers just like to email [email protected] to get some issue resolved.

    If they email billing dept for FTP issue then move the ticket in support queue and inform the customer to email support for support related issues from next time. Potential customers also send email to sales or support to see the response time and disabling email support will make you loose some potential customers.

  3. #3
    Which help desk you are using ?

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Won't be very smart to disable email support.

    Regarding the wrong department. Simply transfer their message to the correct department and email the client telling them next time they would receive a faster response if they emailed the correct address.

    You might also want to redirect them to a page explaining what each department handles and their addresses.

    - Tomer
    Christmas time is among us, get your loved ones Designer Fragrances

  5. #5
    I agree with Tomer, You can always have way around (complete shutting down email support is not a wise move )-- Also several ticket boards provide move option ... you can simply move tickets from one queue to another.

  6. #6
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    This is quite reasonable - we don't officially allow direct email support.  Only via our "open a support request" page.

    Just too many people were sending emails like "my email doesn't work" and then getting upset when we sent a reply asking for trivial things like their domain name or customer info.

    With all the spam problems, it is not unusual for emails to not be received or delivered.  A few people were irate saying "I sent you 5 emails and you never bothered to answer a single one".

    Of course, the "funniest" ones are where the client is having a problem with their email account (usually the Outlook settings on their PC) but the only contact info they put in their request is the email address that isn't working so trying to reply is fruitless..

    With a web-based form as the initial point of opening a support request, we at least have a chance to explain on the form "Use an alternate email if your inquiry is concerning your email account" and also "we reply to all requests promptly, if you don't receive a reply it may be that spam blocking or other problems are preventing us from receiving your request", etc. etc.

    We do allow replies via email once a suppport issue is opened, but not allowing initiation via email has increased our service levels and customer satistfaction a lot.

    For the rare person that complains how not being able to send a support request via email is inconvenient, we remind them that if we can't receive their request at all, it is a lot more "inconvenient" that a few extra key strokes.
    Voicegateway.com Web Services - High-performance Hosting & Fully Managed Servers
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  7. #7
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    We haven't allowed email support for a very very long time. By not allowing email support, you make getting/giving support much more efficient.

    As spiv said, you'll completely eliminate the clueless "my email doesn't work" tickets...with no other information whatsoever.

    If the customer has to actually fill out a short form (name, email address, domain name, servername, description of problem and error messages) - they may decide its easier to take 20 seconds and read the FAQ before firing off an email to support.

    --Tina
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  8. #8
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    Problem is they may just decide to pick up the phone and call "my email doesn't work" : (. This would be a worse scenario taking up more resources and time.

    But if we don't have phone support, I think I would follow your method. The hassle of filling up the form might make them look at the FAQ twice.

  9. #9
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    Depends on your client base... If you cater to businesses and ecommerce clients, offering email and ticket based support (or ideally merging it all into one backend) is the best approach IMNSHO, as businesses use email every day. Fix your spam filter to not filter out client emails, and you'll be all set. If this also gets piped into your support desk, then you have a record to show a client as well.

    If you cater to personal websites, then streamliming to form based only may be the best approach for maximizing efficiency.

    In our business, we offer email, ticket, and toll-free phone, and the combination works well to cater to business focused hosting. All 3 methods are used, and mostly used effectively by our clients. If your company prides itself on superior customer support, then offering various methods for clients to get that support to suit individual tastes works wonders for your "image". (And image is everything I believe).

    - John C.

  10. #10
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    Originally posted by AH-Tina
    We haven't allowed email support for a very very long time. By not allowing email support, you make getting/giving support much more efficient.

    As spiv said, you'll completely eliminate the clueless "my email doesn't work" tickets...with no other information whatsoever.

    If the customer has to actually fill out a short form (name, email address, domain name, servername, description of problem and error messages) - they may decide its easier to take 20 seconds and read the FAQ before firing off an email to support.

    --Tina
    I see from your site that you are using Kayako? You can turn off email support from that software? I can't seem to turn that thing off.

  11. #11
    In my oponion if you think email support is not working for your company (overall) just shut it down, have an autoresponder guide the clients to your helpdesk incase anyone sends an email to support.
    Last edited by dubfire; 07-27-2005 at 03:14 AM.

  12. #12
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    I'm just trying to figure out what to do based on the experiences of other hosters. I got this idea initially when VenturesOnline started doing this.

  13. #13
    If you want to follow the majority of hosters and their experiences, use a helpdesk with email piping features; I believe thats what most hosts do now a days.
    "there are 10 kinds of people in the world, those who know binary and those who dont!"

  14. #14
    Regarding the security side, I think using an ssl certificate will help passing the passwords. How do they contact you in case your entire network is down. You need at least reliable phone or chat support in parallel if you are turning off email support
    Affiliate Services - Your search ends here!

  15. #15
    Originally posted by BeUnlimited
    You need at least reliable phone or chat support in parallel if you are turning off email support
    how would email help when the entire network is down? Phone or AIM is the only way of contacting you if the entire network is down unless your using foreign web/mail/etc. servers.
    "there are 10 kinds of people in the world, those who know binary and those who dont!"

  16. #16
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    Originally posted by BeUnlimited
    Regarding the security side, I think using an ssl certificate will help passing the passwords. How do they contact you in case your entire network is down. You need at least reliable phone or chat support in parallel if you are turning off email support
    You don't need your customers' passwords. You should also have your support desk on a separate network.


    --Tina
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  17. #17
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    We stopped providing direct e-mail support a long time ago and haven't really had any problems.

    Our support address sends back an autoresponse explaining that unless the issue is regarding a problem logging into the control panel, they need to submit a ticket and it then gives them directions on how to go about that.

    Once the ticket is created, they are free to reply by e-mail and then it is piped into the helpdesk, but having the original request come from within the control panel means we have their details in front of us and we know they are authorised to access the account.

  18. #18
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    Originally posted by Wullie
    We stopped providing direct e-mail support a long time ago and haven't really had any problems.

    Our support address sends back an autoresponse explaining that unless the issue is regarding a problem logging into the control panel, they need to submit a ticket and it then gives them directions on how to go about that.

    Once the ticket is created, they are free to reply by e-mail and then it is piped into the helpdesk, but having the original request come from within the control panel means we have their details in front of us and we know they are authorised to access the account.

    Exactly.

    --Tina
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  19. #19
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    We've been concidering this for a while now too -- mainly the same problem.
    Our ticket system automatically associates tickets with accounts assuming that
    they send an E-mail in from an address that is listed under the clients Authorized
    Contact Addresses... If it is not associated automatically, we have to manually
    do it and it is not something anyone enjoys doing.... sometimes the client provides
    limited information and searching for the customers account is like looking for a
    needle in a haystack.

    The disadvantage to it is it makes submitting a ticket more of a trouble to the
    client. I'm interested to know how it goes for you, can you update the thread as
    you proceed, if you proceed?

    Thanks.
    ---
    Dan Ushman
    Co-founder & CMO
    SingleHop, Inc.

  20. #20
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    Originally posted by BeUnlimited
    Regarding the security side, I think using an ssl certificate will help passing the passwords. How do they contact you in case your entire network is down. You need at least reliable phone or chat support in parallel if you are turning off email support
    SSL is completely defeated when users/technician replies are sent via email in plaintext.

  21. #21
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    We've been doing this (opening new requests only via web not via email) for over a year and it has worked very smoothly for us.

     

    Originally posted by midphase-Dan
    We've been concidering this for a while now too -- mainly the same problem.
    Our ticket system automatically associates tickets with accounts assuming that
    they send an E-mail in from an address that is listed under the clients Authorized
    Contact Addresses... If it is not associated automatically, we have to manually
    do it and it is not something anyone enjoys doing.... sometimes the client provides
    limited information and searching for the customers account is like looking for a
    needle in a haystack.

    The disadvantage to it is it makes submitting a ticket more of a trouble to the
    client. I'm interested to know how it goes for you, can you update the thread as
    you proceed, if you proceed?

    Thanks.
    Voicegateway.com Web Services - High-performance Hosting & Fully Managed Servers
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  22. #22
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    Originally posted by spiv
    We've been doing this (opening new requests only via web not via email) for over a year and it has worked very smoothly for us.

     
    Do you allow replies by email?

    Now the thing is, if you do, how would this work?

    Initial emails to support@ gets an autoreply back saying to start a new ticket view the web interface.

    A reply is sent back from support@ (or some other email?) to the client. Client then replies back to this email.

  23. #23
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    Originally posted by Skeptical
    Do you allow replies by email?

    Now the thing is, if you do, how would this work?

    Initial emails to support@ gets an autoreply back saying to start a new ticket view the web interface.

    A reply is sent back from support@ (or some other email?) to the client. Client then replies back to this email.
    We allow replies by e-mail. but the tickets are not under our support@ address, they use another address.

  24. #24
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    Originally posted by AH-Tina
    We haven't allowed email support for a very very long time. By not allowing email support, you make getting/giving support much more efficient.

    As spiv said, you'll completely eliminate the clueless "my email doesn't work" tickets...with no other information whatsoever.

    If the customer has to actually fill out a short form (name, email address, domain name, servername, description of problem and error messages) - they may decide its easier to take 20 seconds and read the FAQ before firing off an email to support.

    --Tina
    Always nice to hear what a veteran thinks about it. Thanks.
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  25. #25
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    Re: Good to turn off email support tickets?

    Yes, it is amazing that users do not identify themselves. I hardly have any customers who let me know their domain name or something in the first place. I am looking into making my support system "ticket only", too.

  26. #26

    tickets

    could somebody please explain what support tickets are.

  27. #27
    Join Date
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    Re: tickets

    Most hosts (and many other online providers) use some kind of formal "customer support" application for tracking customer issues, requests, and resolution.

    Typically, the customer "opens a support request" and then it flows through various stages of being handled.&nbsp; The bigger full-blown CRM systems include queuing, work-flow, routing of requests, etc.

    The smaller systems have a webpage form to "open a new support request" and an associated database and linkage between the db and email handling.&nbsp; Service requests are often also called "trouble tickets" or "problem tickets" and that is what is meant by "opening a ticket request".

    There are multiple ways to "open a ticket" such as:

    Filling out a web form
    Sending free-form email to a special address ([email protected])
    Making a telephone call

    What is being discussed here is that only the first method allows the host to automatically collect important basic info such as client name and website domain name.&nbsp; The other more informal methods of opening a ticket requires more follow-up with the client just to get the basics before the real problem can be addressed.&nbsp;

    Originally posted by dfwgaming
    could somebody please explain what support tickets are.
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  28. #28
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    Not to rock the boat.....but.....

    In today's competitive hosting market, it never ceases to amaze me how small hosting companies want to take measures as if they were huge when it comes to providing support to their clients. Why make it harder for clients to contact you? Why *force* them into a form online, having to enter lots of information, or having to login, etc...?

    It is irrefutable that it is more efficient and potentially more secure to have clients obtain support through a web based helpdesk / ticket system. I am not arguing that. What I am arguing is if by doing this you inconvenience some of your clients (even if it's only a few) to make it more convenient for you as the host to provide support, then it seems to do more harm than good, especially in the higher end market and small business focused hosting sector.

    I've found that offering multiple ways of contact for support, coupled with an above and beyond attitude, fosters an "image" for your company that you truly go the extra mile for the client. Email is a common tool for many businesses, and using it to communicate with a hosting company is a natural extension of this. Taking it away can upset some clients. You may not even notice that some clients are not happy, and the praise you get from others can drown this out, but with every client mattering these days for the bottom line, it can hold your company back from reaching it's full potential.

    Here's my analogy: When I call Sears and get that automated voice system where I cannot speak with a live human being, it is frustrating but I know I have to go through it due to the sheer size of Sears. Now, if I call up my local hardware store, and I were to be met with such an automated system, I would stop going there, and opt for Sears. When you're a small company, it's often the personal service (in this case email being more personal) that wins you clients for life... as the client that cannot distinguish your company from the large faceless ones (or cheaper ones) will often leave to those companies at the first sign of trouble.

    On a personal note, I think I would shoot myself if I had to deal with our datacenter via an online form only. Or better yet, we would vote with our money and go elsewhere.

    - John C.

  29. #29
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    You're missing the point -- this is about email versus web form to initiate a request.&nbsp; The amount of "clicks" isn't that much different.

    The point is that free-form email will lack even the client's domain name or other identifying info delaying a response and lowering the service level.

    Using a form, with only a few required fields (to avoid the survey-answer-10-zillion-questions frustration) is really not any harder and allows the host, especially smaller ones, to provide better support.

    In our experience, it has down just that.&nbsp; No more "my email doesn't work" emails arriving with only that same email account as the only contact!

    The question of&nbsp;online versus telephone support options is&nbsp;a different discussion.&nbsp; This discussion is only betwen flavors of online (email or web form) to&nbsp;open a new request and doesn't preclude continuing to offer telephone or other support methods.

    &nbsp;

    Originally posted by JohnCrowley
    Not to rock the boat.....but.....

    In today's competitive hosting market, it never ceases to amaze me how small hosting companies want to take measures as if they were huge when it comes to providing support to their clients. Why make it harder for clients to contact you? Why *force* them into a form online, having to enter lots of information, or having to login, etc...?

    It is irrefutable that it is more efficient and potentially more secure to have clients obtain support through a web based helpdesk / ticket system. I am not arguing that. What I am arguing is if by doing this you inconvenience some of your clients (even if it's only a few) to make it more convenient for you as the host to provide support, then it seems to do more harm than good, especially in the higher end market and small business focused hosting sector.

    I've found that offering multiple ways of contact for support, coupled with an above and beyond attitude, fosters an "image" for your company that you truly go the extra mile for the client. Email is a common tool for many businesses, and using it to communicate with a hosting company is a natural extension of this. Taking it away can upset some clients. You may not even notice that some clients are not happy, and the praise you get from others can drown this out, but with every client mattering these days for the bottom line, it can hold your company back from reaching it's full potential.

    Here's my analogy: When I call Sears and get that automated voice system where I cannot speak with a live human being, it is frustrating but I know I have to go through it due to the sheer size of Sears. Now, if I call up my local hardware store, and I were to be met with such an automated system, I would stop going there, and opt for Sears. When you're a small company, it's often the personal service (in this case email being more personal) that wins you clients for life... as the client that cannot distinguish your company from the large faceless ones (or cheaper ones) will often leave to those companies at the first sign of trouble.

    On a personal note, I think I would shoot myself if I had to deal with our datacenter via an online form only. Or better yet, we would vote with our money and go elsewhere.

    - John C.
    Voicegateway.com Web Services - High-performance Hosting & Fully Managed Servers
    Specializing in Virtual Machine Hosting with Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2, Windows SharePoint Services, Microsoft SQL Server 2005, ASP.NET 2.0 hosting and Newsletter/Mailing list services

  30. #30
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    Originally posted by spiv
    You're missing the point -- this is about email versus web form to initiate a request.&nbsp; The amount of "clicks" isn't that much different.

    The point is that free-form email will lack even the client's domain name or other identifying info delaying a response and lowering the service level.

    Using a form, with only a few required fields (to avoid the survey-answer-10-zillion-questions frustration) is really not any harder and allows the host, especially smaller ones, to provide better support.

    In our experience, it has down just that.&nbsp; No more "my email doesn't work" emails arriving with only that same email account as the only contact!

    The question of&nbsp;online versus telephone support options is&nbsp;a different discussion.&nbsp; This discussion is only betwen flavors of online (email or web form) to&nbsp;open a new request and doesn't preclude continuing to offer telephone or other support methods.

    &nbsp;
    I would argue that you are also missing the point, but I'll refrain.

    Some clients, especially business minded ones, *prefer* email over online forms. I am one of those individuals. As a host, I want our company to meet our clients' needs and desires for their websites, so we provide both email and form based support, and manage to do it efficiently. That is my point.

    The phone analogy was just that, an analogy and not a direct comparison, as it is more tangible in the real world speaking of phone systems, i.e. "flavors" of phone support, not preferring phone support over email support.

    - John C.

  31. #31
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    Originally posted by JohnCrowley
    Not to rock the boat.....but.....

    In today's competitive hosting market, it never ceases to amaze me how small hosting companies want to take measures as if they were huge when it comes to providing support to their clients. Why make it harder for clients to contact you? Why *force* them into a form online, having to enter lots of information, or having to login, etc...?

    It is irrefutable that it is more efficient and potentially more secure to have clients obtain support through a web based helpdesk / ticket system. I am not arguing that. What I am arguing is if by doing this you inconvenience some of your clients (even if it's only a few) to make it more convenient for you as the host to provide support, then it seems to do more harm than good, especially in the higher end market and small business focused hosting sector.

    I've found that offering multiple ways of contact for support, coupled with an above and beyond attitude, fosters an "image" for your company that you truly go the extra mile for the client. Email is a common tool for many businesses, and using it to communicate with a hosting company is a natural extension of this. Taking it away can upset some clients. You may not even notice that some clients are not happy, and the praise you get from others can drown this out, but with every client mattering these days for the bottom line, it can hold your company back from reaching it's full potential.

    Here's my analogy: When I call Sears and get that automated voice system where I cannot speak with a live human being, it is frustrating but I know I have to go through it due to the sheer size of Sears. Now, if I call up my local hardware store, and I were to be met with such an automated system, I would stop going there, and opt for Sears. When you're a small company, it's often the personal service (in this case email being more personal) that wins you clients for life... as the client that cannot distinguish your company from the large faceless ones (or cheaper ones) will often leave to those companies at the first sign of trouble.

    On a personal note, I think I would shoot myself if I had to deal with our datacenter via an online form only. Or better yet, we would vote with our money and go elsewhere.

    - John C.

    It really depends on the target market. For budget hosting customers, in my experience, the need for hand holding seems to be greater and if given a choice...many would just click and send an email saying "my emails broke. fix it.". How is that helping anyone? Its not helping the customer. Its not helping you. If you walk them through helping themselves (and you) by disallowing email support, you're providing a better service.

    As for dedicated server customers, etc. It would be stupid to allow ticket only support. Those are a different set of customers, paying a different price for a different level of services.

    You can't really compare apples to oranges.

    --Tina
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    Plenty of space and bandwidth to fit your needs!
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  32. #32
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    Originally posted by AH-Tina
    It really depends on the target market. For budget hosting customers, in my experience, the need for hand holding seems to be greater and if given a choice...many would just click and send an email saying "my emails broke. fix it.". How is that helping anyone? Its not helping the customer. Its not helping you. If you walk them through helping themselves (and you) by disallowing email support, you're providing a better service.

    As for dedicated server customers, etc. It would be stupid to allow ticket only support. Those are a different set of customers, paying a different price for a different level of services.

    You can't really compare apples to oranges.

    --Tina
    Granted, email support is not for everyone. However, even our higher paying shared hosting business clients can require just as much hand holding as budget newbies, and email such as that is addressed with our best guess, and also asking for more info if we did not fully answer their question. It may seem inefficient from the hosting perspective, but if the client is happy, then all's well that ends well.

    My point in all of this is not to so quickly dismiss alternative methods of being contacted for support, as you could be turning away a percentage of customers due to this action, or lack of action.

    On an unrelated note (but somewhat related, or more likely amusing to me) is this slashdot article about "old people" and email... Maybe there's a lot of teenagers round here that prefer tickets and IM to email.

    http://hardware.slashdot.org/article...49258&from=rss

    - John C.

  33. #33
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    Originally posted by JohnCrowley
    I would argue that you are also missing the point, but I'll refrain.

    Some clients, especially business minded ones, *prefer* email over online forms. I am one of those individuals. As a host, I want our company to meet our clients' needs and desires for their websites, so we provide both email and form based support, and manage to do it efficiently. That is my point.

    The phone analogy was just that, an analogy and not a direct comparison, as it is more tangible in the real world speaking of phone systems, i.e. "flavors" of phone support, not preferring phone support over email support.

    - John C.

    I'm guessing your customers pay more than $3 a month.

    As I said, it really boils down to your target market.


    --Tina
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  34. #34
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    Originally posted by JohnCrowley
    Why make it harder for clients to contact you? Why *force* them into a form online, having to enter lots of information, or having to login, etc...?
    Let's take the following:

    1) User submits ticket, only needing to select their domain from a dropdown and type in the problem.

    2) User submits a direct e-mail to support@

    Now, in number 1 we have the full details of their account in front of us and we can act on that straight away. In 2 they are required to manually type all of their details out. Which one requires more work on their part?

    Surely you do not act on a support request that says "I want to do X to my account and my username is xxxxxx". Where is the security in that?

    In the UK at least, we have privacy laws that prevent us from dealing with anyone unless they are authorised to access the account. The only way to do this through e-mail is to contact them asking for clarification (Last 4 digits of card, etc etc), afterall e-mail can very easily be spoofed.

    You get a request coming in from a ticket based system where they need to login to their account before they can access it and you have already verified that they can access the account, there is no further verification necessary so you can act on that request straight away.

    If you use e-mail and they they don't provide confirmation in the initial e-mail, you should never act on it without confirming their identity, which is another step and an extra delay before you can do anything.

    Sure you don't want to make things difficult for clients, but you should also be working to streamline your support while still providing a secure and quick process.

  35. #35
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    1,664
    We do not provide ANY account information via email. We tell customers only ticket support is guaranteed, as a host you get tons of spam to filter through. You cannot provide email support these days and expect them always to be the customers. For simple questions we will answer, but for anything involving passwords, accounts, billing or modifications tickets are the only safe way to do business.

  36. #36
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    West Michigan, USA
    Posts
    9,675
    Originally posted by JohnCrowley
    Granted, email support is not for everyone. However, even our higher paying shared hosting business clients can require just as much hand holding as budget[/url]

    - John C.

    Yes, but its cost-efficient to hold a higher paying customer's hand. If your target market is budget hosting customers, you can't afford to provide a whole lot of hand holding. Email support quickly becomes a liability.

    --Tina
    ||| 99.999% Uptime SLA!!!
    Plenty of space and bandwidth to fit your needs!
    www.AEIandYou.com - - (WP Friendly - Premium Reseller Hosting and Cheap Dedicated Servers)

  37. #37
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Posts
    1,434
    Originally posted by Wullie
    1) User submits ticket, only needing to select their domain from a dropdown and type in the problem.

    2) User submits a direct e-mail to support@

    Now, in number 1 we have the full details of their account in front of us and we can act on that straight away. In 2 they are required to manually type all of their details out. Which one requires more work on their part?
    Yes, of course this makes sense, but I'm not advocating getting rid of ticket support, only saying consider offering email support as well (which can and probably should be piped into a common helpdesk application). Some clients prefer email and use a signature to contain their domain name in the email, and like doing that.

    Surely you do not act on a support request that says "I want to do X to my account and my username is xxxxxx". Where is the security in that?
    Of course we do not act on requests that change the account itself, but we do respond to emails asking for help setting up email, or emails saying their site is down, or asking how to do something in the control panel, etc... For billing related issues, security issues, etc..., we email back and ask them to confirm the change (when they email back, it confirms they are the account owner unless their email is hijacked).

    You get a request coming in from a ticket based system where they need to login to their account before they can access it and you have already verified that they can access the account, there is no further verification necessary so you can act on that request straight away.
    Also true. That is why we have forms in the account manager for billing related changes. What about the client that says "What is a ticket?" or "Why do I get a response from my web submission, do I respond to it?" Email is just another method to help some clients who maybe cannot help themselves, and still look like a champion in their eyes.

    Also, the more savvy client uses email effectively for back and forth correspondence on complex issues that can be handled quite nicely in an email format, which makes them happier about the level of support they are receiving, as they are more comfortable with the medium.

    If you use e-mail and they they don't provide confirmation in the initial e-mail, you should never act on it without confirming their identity, which is another step and an extra delay before you can do anything.
    Again, true. That is why we respond asking them to confirm, and also suggest signing up for the helpdesk or submitting the request through the Account Manager for no confirmation required requests. Seems to work well.

    You don't want to make things difficult for clients, but you should also be working to streamline your support while still providing a secure and quick process.
    Yes, and offering multiple support avenues may do just that. It's not for every business, but dismissing it outright is not the smart move IMNSHO.

    - John C.

  38. #38
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    353
    Many customers NEED contacting the host to be a little more difficult.

    We used to offer both telephone and e-mail support and were plagued by constant requests from customers for :

    1) support for software they run locally that is not our problem
    2) information that was contained in their signup mail and our support pages that they're too lazy to read
    3) Some just phoned for a chat !

    We took away phone support, and direct e-mail support and introduced tickets - we expected 10% of the customers to leave but we did not lose 1 account (!)

    And suprise, suprise people actually started reading our support info and fixing their own problems rather than just lazily reaching for the phone and making it our problem.

    This is good for the client, not just for us, as they actually start to understand the processes themselves and gain control over their own accounts.

    It's like the old proverb about giving a starving man a fish or giving him a net and teaching him how to fish . . . .

  39. #39
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Posts
    1,434
    Originally posted by my_forum_id
    ...And suprise, suprise people actually started reading our support info and fixing their own problems rather than just lazily reaching for the phone and making it our problem.
    Don't worry, we'll take the lazy ones, they tend to pay more and then are "wow'ed" by our support and remain more loyal over the years.

    I'll agree that ticket based support only will streamline the support requests, as anytime you mold customers into your way or no way, it works in your favor. Whether it's ultimately more profitable depends on your target market and ability to market.

    - John C.

  40. #40
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Posts
    1,349
    It's not an inconvenience for a client when the host doesn't need to play email tag to further authenticate the client.

    It is not an inconvenience for a client when sensitive information needs to flow in a support ticket.

    It is not an inconvenience to a client when support requests are confirmed to have been received by the host, guaranteeing a reply.

    It is not an inconvenience to a client when the host doesn't need to deal with spam (or even have an overzealous spam filter mis-identify a real ticket as spam), thus resulting in faster responses.

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