After hours tech support – Common mistakes and how to avoid them
After hours tech support can be quite tricky. You’ll need to spend a lot of time, money and effort to maintain a 24/7 team, but a few mistakes can get you angry customers, and loss of business.
Here at Bobcares, we help web hosts and other online service providers deliver 24/7 tech support. Here are a few common mistakes that we’ve seen companies make, and how we help them avoid it.
Mistake 1 – Emergency support delivered via email
Many companies cut costs by offering emergency support (such as website down, domain expiry, etc.) over email. This frustrates customers.
Customers assume the worst when their services don’t work. When supporting web hosts, we’ve handled support calls where a simple domain expiry led customers to believe their site was hacked and their data was stolen.
Why phone is ideal for emergency support
In our experience, phone is the best channel to deliver after hours emergency support, because:
- Human factor – Talking to a living, breathing person is any day better than an impersonal email. During emergencies, customers need reassurance, and a human voice is the best way to deliver it.
- The interaction happens in real time : Unlike mail communication, the customer knows that someone is looking into the issue RIGHT NOW. That someone is accountable at that moment.
- Helps quick & accurate issue troubleshooting – Upset customers tend to leave out critical information. On phone, the techs can ask precise questions to quickly find out what’s going wrong.
- Assess customer satisfaction – It is important to de-escalate a situation before signing off from a support interaction. On phone, it is easier to understand if a customer is happy with the resolution, and if not, more actions can be initiated to make the customer happy.
Customers always remember how you made them feel when they needed you the most.
Emergency support is one such situation, and handling it well will get you loyal customers who drive in more business in the form of referrals and positive reviews.
It need not be costly
Here is the good news – You don’t have to spend a ton of money to get after hours tech support.
You’ll get only a few calls per month, and you can easily get a specialist company such as Bobcares to cover the graveyard shift for you. Since you pay only for a limited number of minutes, there’s no risk of you spending more money than you need.
With such a small investment in after hours tech support, you get a powerful marketing edge, which if used right will put you company in the premium league while keeping the service price comparable to your competitors.
Mistake 2 – Forcing auto-responders and KB links on customers
On the face of it, Knowledge Base articles seems like a good idea, especially one with videos.
But remember, many customers find tech concepts confusing or even intimidating. When faced with a tech issue, especially at night, customers have very little patience and get really annoyed when they get a link from an automated robot.
Yes, automation isn’t enough anymore. The big difference you can bring to your business today is personalization. Customers need to know that they are not a string of letters and numbers to you.
Greeting someone by their name, referencing their past support history, and ability to give precise help for their issue can bring an enormous difference in the value of your service.
That is why we recommend service providers to deliver after hours tech support via phone.
That does not mean KBs are worthless. At Bobcares, we use KB articles as a secondary tool to deliver quick support.
For eg. We provide outsourced after hours tech support for web hosting companies. When calls come in, we talk to the customer, understand the issue, and use images and videos in KBs to walk them through the different steps to resolve an issue.
One small step like this can go a long way in reducing customer churn, and save hundreds of dollars in marketing.
Mistake 3 – Limiting after hours tech support to only server wide issues
Many data centers offer 24/7 monitoring, alerting, and on-demand server administration.
We’ve seen many web hosts try to cut costs by using data center’s support to take care of server downtime during night time, while leave normal customer queries in the queue until morning.
This is a brand reputation disaster waiting to happen.
For a customer, a non-functioning email could mean several hundred dollars worth of orders lost, or an inability to send a business proposal in time. When that happens, they need to feel that you’ve got their back.
The resolution to such issues could be trivial, but to be available at the right time makes all the difference between a loyal customer, and one that leaves bad reviews in public forums.
We recommend customers to use Phone support as the primary means of after hours tech support. In this way, customers know that there’s an expert on call when they need you, and that someone is accountable to resolve their issue.
At Bobcares, we give every caller the same level of consideration, and make them feel that their issue is NOT secondary to any other issue that we may have. That is one of the reasons why our team consistently gets happy reviews every single day.