So, I'm curious to know how different hosts handled their support at different stages of growth. Many (dare I say most) hosts have started as one person with one dedicated server and no clients.*
One person can't provide 24/7 tech support with a guaranteed response time of say, 3 hours or less. But it seams mist customers won't consider a host who can't provide that.*
Let's assume this one person is very serious about his hosting company, provides an exceptional service, and is competitive with his pricing.*
How have sone of the more established hosts here handled their support offerings while remaining competitive at each stage of growth?
In the beginning did you offer a 13 hour response guarantee? Did you outsource to a support company even though you didn't have the customer base yet to cover the costs? Once you gained that customer base did you continue to outsource or did you create your own in house department? Did you boot-strap your business or did you seek VC to be able to fund a "proper" support department in the beginning?
How were some of the more established hosts able to provide the level of support required by clients on limited budgets in the beginning?
In my opinion and experience, your pricing must reflect the ability to grow. If your pricing is only based on current operating expenses and direct costs, then having stages of growth will be extremely hard.
If your pricing reflects the ability to hire two to three people, then reaching 24x7x365 support is within reach.
Hosting is a 24x7 task especially when it comes to support. Unless you're targeting a local market and set expectations for support to be available only during business hours, you would need to provide 24x7 support to the general population in order to be competitive.
As Peter mentioned above, make sure your pricing is based on your current operating expenses and if need be you can avail a decent and good outsourced support partner to assist with providing 24x7 support or support after business hours.
I don't have a problem with my pricing and I'm aware of the support demands of the industry.
Maybe I didn't word my questions properly.
How did you structure/provide support in the beginning when it was one guy and a server?Did you simply refrain from offering 24/7 support? Did you outsource support? Did you enlist the help of a friend? Or did you simply never sleep?
How bout when you hired a few people? Did you put the task of support on a few people for 12 hours of the day and outsource the other 12? Did you again refrain from offering 24/7 support? Did you outsource all of the support and dedicate your small staff to sysadmin work?
Then what about after you grew to the point of having many employees? Did you create your own 24/7 department? Did you continue to outsource some or all of your support?
I'm more interested in if and how you achieved 24/7 support at different stages than I am pricing schedules.
When I first started I offered 24x7 support however it was just me. Luckily all my customers were from the United Kingdom which is where I am based which allows me to provide support. I have my iPhone push me my emails when I get them so I can provide support where ever I am.
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Lol I'm sure they have great respose times while working their shift but everyone has to sleep sometimes. It's easy when you have someone coming on to take the next shift but I'm sure it can be difficult for the startup host with only the owner providing support and not much of a budget to outsource.