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  1. #1

    Question How feasible is "9-5" support?

    I was just wondering if as a hosting company I could only provide support during normal business hours (say from 8am to 6pm).

    I'm still writing what might become a business plan and I know that I will only be providing hosting to other business within my part of the country. So there's no need to provide 24hr support for other time-zones.

    How realistic or feasible would this be? Would this be to my detriment and do you think it would scare away potential clients?

    I think I'm basing it on the fact that the companies might only need support during their business hours. Of course, if anything major happens I would probably be around anyway to fix it. Also, I would be available most nights for evening support in case anything goes distrasously wrong.

    I was just hoping for peoples' thoughts on this.

    Thanks
    http://www.stodge.net
    http://pixellent.stodge.net - Pixellent Interactive

  2. #2
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    It might be fine, if you are completely up front to your prospective customers as to what your support hours are.
    I wouldn't try it. But, if you know your target audience and you think they would be receptive, it may be worth a try.
    There is no best host. There is only the host that's best for you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2002
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    542
    Hosting is pretty much a 24/7 job. For example, last night my pager went off at 4AM to let me know that there was a DNS error, so I had to get up and fix it. People don't like having their sites down whether it's at 4AM or 4PM.

    What you may want to do is look into a place like http://www.bobcares.com that does tech support for you during the night. They even have a special "Sleep Well Plan" where they handle all tickets during the night. (though if you're just starting, their 24/7 Startup Plan would be cheaper)...

    Just things to consider.
    Jay » [email protected] • AIM » FDrive Support
    Front Drive™ » Advanced multi-domain solutions
    http://www.frontdrive.com/

  4. #4
    Ok thanks - food for thought there.
    http://www.stodge.net
    http://pixellent.stodge.net - Pixellent Interactive

  5. #5
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    I think FDrive nailed it. People need support at all different times. You never know what might crop up in the middle of the night. If you decide to go that route, make sure you let your clients know this upfront!

  6. #6
    This is true. I'm just not sure that I can physically guarantee 24/7 support, so I was hoping there were some feasible alternatives. Oh well!

    Thanks
    http://www.stodge.net
    http://pixellent.stodge.net - Pixellent Interactive

  7. #7
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    You do have alternatives. You could hire someone in a different time zone to handle the times when you're sleeping or you could clearly state to your clients what hours support will be available. As long as your clients know the guidelines for support ahead of time, it's less of an issue.

    Granted, you may still have a few emergencies to deal with after hours, but the key is being upfront to those you'll do business with.

  8. #8
    That's true WiredDog. Thanks for the suggestions.
    http://www.stodge.net
    http://pixellent.stodge.net - Pixellent Interactive

  9. #9
    BobCares and places like them also have packages where they will support your clients while you sleep. That way, you can provide the support during the day, but get some sleep (or more work done) at night. It could also save you a little money off of completely outsourcing support.
    Johnathan Brandon
    President - BeGlobal, Inc.
    jbrandon (at) beglobal.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2001
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    697
    I think you will be fine as long as you offer 'emergency support' on off hours. Get a cell phone, and have an address such as [email protected] be forwarded to your cell phone email address. Then tell your clients that emails to [email protected] will be answered during business hours from 9-5, and that if they need support after hours, they can email [email protected] .

    Just make sure you don't host your domain name on the same server as your customers' sites because if the server goes down and they email [email protected] , the email will bounce and you won't recieve the page.

  11. #11
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    mpope - That's a good idea We do something slightly different. We have PDA's and Cellphones that are internet active. When a support e-mail is received, an order is received, it tells us on the phones, just so we know.

    We can be on the case within seconds. Even if we are in India, GSM Phones.
    Kaumil P.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
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    Fair Lawn, NJ
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    Post

    The only problem with having an 'emergency' contact is that some clients always feel their problem is an emergency when it is really not
    TroubleFree SysAdmin/CP Programmer
    https://admin.trouble-free.net

  13. #13
    Join Date
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    The problem with not providing 24/7 technical support is not because of people in your timezone, but more that some of your customers may have mission-critical apps that have to be online and functional... such as e-commerce.

    I own an e-commerce business and if we were down from 7 PM - 8 AM the next morning we would lose a lot of money in sales... and would most likely switch hosts. If they were down and you only had 8-6 support you wouldn't even know to reboot their server or begin investigating what was wrong.

    I would think that normal business hours would be fine for billing, customer service and phone orders though.
    CDHost - Managed Business Hosting
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    Proud Host of PhotoshopForums.com!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2001
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    Originally posted by hostingplex
    mpope - That's a good idea We do something slightly different. We have PDA's and Cellphones that are internet active. When a support e-mail is received, an order is received, it tells us on the phones, just so we know.

    We can be on the case within seconds. Even if we are in India, GSM Phones.
    Yes, it has worked quite well for us. You'd be surprised how shocked people are when they email our emergency address and get a response within 2 minutes! It makes them very happy.

    Side note - we are about to get setup with Sony Ericcson T68i's and IPAQ 3970's with Bluetooth. I can't wait, and it should be very cool!

    Originally posted by kottonmouth
    The only problem with having an 'emergency' contact is that some clients always feel their problem is an emergency when it is really not
    We have run into that also. The best that you can do is tell people what you consider an emergency, and to also tell them that their email will page an admin and to not abuse the emergency paging system. Even after all of that, we still get a few people who use it for non-emergency situations. The best you can do is just inform them of their mistake and ask for them to use the normal support address for these type of issues in the future. We realize it is going to happen every so often, so we don't get too upset when we get paged "How do I setup an email account?"

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