You had me at “Hello”
Customer support is an inevitable element in the Webhosting Industry. In fact, it ts one aspect that cannot be removed from any product or service that we come across in life. At times, I feel even prayer is one form of customer support.
The three main channels for customer support in the web hosting Industry is Helpdesk, Chat and Phone. What’s important when providing customer support is not just resolving the customer queries, but also the speed taken in resolving them and also the personal touch that is involved in it. The advantage of helpdesk support is that the resolution of a support query can be handled with more time in hand. But, in this case, the response time could be high. Whereas in chat and phone support, the customer gets an instant response. In Chat support, there is a probability of typing the same sentence in multiple ways so that the customer or the support personnel understands the problem in hand better.
I feel that the best support channel to provide quality support, by understanding the customer requirement effectively and at the same time providing personal attention to the customer is through phone. There is a human touch which makes the whole difference. When he hears a “Hello” from the customer support representative, the customer gets the instant feeling that he is not being auto responded to, as in case of a helpdesk system.
Though phone support is a better tool for customer satisfaction, it does come with a cost factor. The cost includes having a PBX system in place, having staff apart from the helpdesk team, the cost for the providers and a lot more. However, if you have the required call volume in place, its definitely worth the cost.
If you do not have the required call volume to substantiate the cost, you can still try outsourcing the phone support. The available options in the industry include phone support plans based on either per call or per minute. There are also options on the coverage like 24×7 support, just business hours, after hour support or weekend support and even phone support for times when a surge of calls is expected in advance, like when a promotional deal is offered.
The phone support company assigns a phone number as your support line for the customers to call in. Your end customers will be greeted by your company ‘s welcome message. If your company already has a support line, you just need to redirect the calls coming in, to the number assigned by your support company.
From my experience of observing the call volumes at Bobcares phone support operations, the average call length of a call varies from 3 to 5 minutes. You could use this data to forecast the cost that is involved in introducing the phone support option for your company. Support companies offer portals to understand the call volume and patterns of incoming and outbound calls. This will help in choosing the right plan or upgrading your existing plans.
Having a phone line for the customer support division, increases customer retention to a certain degree, because its easier to understand the caller’s query and reply likewise. I doubt whether a technical issue can be solved completely through phone, but customers still prefer to use the phone option as they can be sure that there is some one at the other end of the line who is responsible to get his issue resolved. If the issue is complex, the phone support division just needs to follow a proper escalation procedure and provide the customer with a reference ID for the support issue. I feel it’s this sort of assurance that matters the most to the customer.
Outsourced Phone Support can be used to handle pre-sales, billing and technical support effectively and efficiently. A proper escalation procedure must be defined for queries that cannot be resolved through phone. A premium can be charged to the customers who opt for phone support. You can offer this package in either the number of calls or number of minutes. I would suggest to purchase minutes from a provider and offer per call to your end customers.
Probably the next great innovation in this field would be a video based streaming support. But until then, I think its going to be Phone Support. So let’s get our customers on ‘Hello‘.
About the Author:
Tobby Davasia Kollemmalil has worked as a Lead Developer at Bobcares, before taking the role of Executive Team Member. He has worked in both the Technical, Development and the Training Division of Poornam. He has over 5 + years experience in the Web Hosting Industry. He is a regular speaker in conferences related to the Web Hosting industry.