Cloud Hosting Support – Hire inhouse or outsource?
Cloud hosting is here to stay.
The cloud-enabled SaaS, PaaS and IaaS keep growing year on year (13.38% as per Gartner 1).
And people adopt it because it’s easy to setup and use. You can get a web server online in 3 clicks.
But that doesn’t mean cloud hosting is 100% trouble-free. Cloud servers have the same nagging issues that’s present in Shared/VPS servers. It includes mails bounces, malware infection, DNS errors, and more.
In fact, more than 50% of effort of a cloud hosting provider goes into end-customer tech support.
That brings us to the question : What’s the best way to deliver cloud hosting tech support?
There are broadly two ways:
- Establish a team inhouse
- Outsource support to an external company
Many companies just add on to their core tech staff (who built the cloud), and establish a separate tech support wing.
But more often that not, an inhouse team just piles on a lot of management overhead, scaling issues and HR headaches (staff churn, training, QA).
Let’s take a look at the most common management challenges in maintaining a tech support team, and see which support model fares better.
1. Staff management
Many cloud hosting companies set up their office near tech hubs like Austin or San Diego. It helps them get easy access to infrastructure and talent.
But that’s a double edged sword.
The same market that gives them top-notch talent takes them away. In fact, most employees do not last longer than a year. This puts perpetual pressure on the HR team and managers to hire, train and retain the valuable tech staff.
Added to this are the pressure of meeting internal goals such as reducing escalation, cutting down complaint rates, achieving testimonials, and more.
So, it’s no surprise that most companies feel they are spending more time firefighting than building a competitive cloud service. That is where an outsourced support team can make a big difference.
In contrast, when you engage an outsourced support provider for tech support, all these pesky issues will no longer be your trouble. You pay a monthly contract fee, and get your job done.
At Bobcares – Account manager, quality assurance, training, and more
Here at Bobcares, we specialize in outsourced tech support for cloud hosts, data centers, VPS hosts and other online service providers.
Over the past 15 years, we’ve faced and resolved almost every kind of staffing issue that happens in tech support.
That is why we provide each of our clients with a dedicated account manager who is accountable to meet all support objectives.
So, our customers only need to tell the account manager what they want, and we get to action behind the scenes to do all necessary hiring, training, quality assurance, documentation, and more to transparently achieve the results.
2. Quality control & best practices
These days people get world-class support from everywhere they turn to. This includes industry giants like Amazon, Google and Microsoft.
So, they will expect the same or better from your tech support as well. But it’s not easy to deliver high quality support each and every time.
You need to ensure technical accuracy, low hold time, empathy, cheerfulness, and effective resolution in each interaction – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
When running an inhouse team, you need to commit considerable resources & management time to analyze customer satisfaction indices, learn from setbacks, and learn along the way.
Throw in continuous staff churn, and you’ll be stuck finding and fixing new support issues every day.
Whereas when a professional support company takes care of your customers, you’ll be free from the intricacies of quality control and and pressure to deliver top-notch support.
At Bobcares – Dedicated quality assurance team and continual improvement
Here at Bobcares, we re-invest close to 5% of our revenue into a quality control department headed by our Quality Manager.
This team examines hundreds of support interactions each month to fine tune the way support is delivered (eg. asking the right questions, improve First-Contact-Resolution, etc.).
This continuous feedback loop to the frontline techs helps us deliver high quality support each time, every time.
3. Support scaling & burst coverage
You never know when a hypervisor might go down, or when your servers are going to get hit by a DDoS attack.
Unpredictable events like this can throw any support team into a dizzy and force everyone to pull all-nighters.
However, if you have a support company like Bobcares taking care of your tech support, you’ll get extra staff from spare capacity to cover emergencies.
At Bobcares – Spare capacity and quick recruitment
Here at Bobcares, we anticipate that our customers might need burst coverage at short notice, or will need to expand support capacity with a few weeks notice.
So, when the need arises, our customers are never left high and dry.
4. New technology adoption
There are disruptors in every market.
Facebook disrupted MySpace to become the top dog. Cloud took away a big chunk out of shared and dedicated hosting markets.
The future is said to be Container as a Service and managed application hosting.
How do you know what’s the wave of the future? How do you transition your business to the new technology?
When you partner with an outsourced support company, you get the benefit of their insight into the industry. You’ll be able to make decisions that keeps you ahead of the game than play catch-up.
At Bobcares – Quarterly business review and technology consultation
Here at Bobcares, we believe that our success is closely tied with the success of our customers.
That is why our quality manager takes initiative and conduct management review meetings where we share our insights into how to better help your customers and grow your company.
And it is a matter of pride that we’ve been able to power the growth of our customers. Some of our customers who signed up with us as hosting resellers have grown to shared hosts, to VPS hosts and then on to multi-NOC cloud hosting providers.
5. Engineering expertise
A majority of issues reported by Cloud users are about the individual server instances, like server not booting, or mails bouncing.
Many companies turn to administration tools such as cPanel or VistaCP in an effort to reduce customer tickets.
So, it is natural that they employ (or outsource to) people who are experienced in these administrative tools as the frontline support.
But that is a pitfall. Often such superficial knowledge makes a team unable to dive deep into a complex, undocumented error (such as kernel panic).
It often leads to long hold times and issues escalated to your core tech group.
At Bobcares – Computer science graduates with cloud tech background
Over the past 16+ years, we’ve seen that issues in real life don’t come in a nice package that can be solved with a few clicks in the administration panel.
That is why our support teams are formed 100% of computer science engineers.
When something doesn’t work right in the administrative interface, we roll up our sleeves and go look at the operating system config and logs to figure out what’s wrong and fix it within minutes.
Even in the most hopeless of situations, we have the expertise to find a way, or build a solution from scratch to keep the business running until a new proper system can be brought online.
Cloud hosting is booming, and you’ll need exceptional support to not just grow but to survive in the business. Here we’ve seen the top considerations on how to choose a support team, and how here at Bobcares we surmount those challenges.