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Tips for Clients

Tips for Clients

AldryicAldryic Member
edited January 2012 in Tutorials

There was a recent Tips for Providers thread, told from a client's perspective. I thought it only fair to give a related post from a provider's viewpoint.

1) Prioritize the support options. If a provider offers live support, only use this medium for inquiries or minor questions. During an outage or emergency, support members having to answer the same questions over and over to clients via live support will only delay them from solving the issue. If you have a concern regarding downtime, using the ticket system will not only keep the techs freed up to work on the problem, but will also serve as documentation should you need to claim SLA.

2) Maintain a respectful attitude. When you do interact with the company, be polite and courteous to the staff members. Not only does this further good relations with the company (nobody likes a client that does nothing but curse), but also prevents you from looking like a jackass should you decide to post on a public medium if an issue isn't resolved.

3) Be descriptive of any problems. Asking your provider "Sir why so lag" does absolutely nothing to help resolve a problem. If you're having latency issues, include a ping sample and a traceroute. If you can't get your VM to boot, explain what you've already tried instead of saying "It's down, fix it". Good communication is the key to getting a problem resolved quickly and efficiently.

4) Don't abuse the support systems. Opening multiple tickets about the same problem within a short period of time will not quicken the process. This only serves to irritate staff members. This also applies to live support; most companies answer tickets in the order they were received. Submitting a ticket and then immediately getting on live chat to tell them about your ticket (unless it's a true emergency) does not help.

5) The company is your provider, not your friend. Many companies maintain a friendly and outgoing presence in communities. You may even be on first-name basis with the owner or senior staff... this does not entitle you to ask for freebies, handouts, or exemptions to their policies. If we did it for you, we'd have to do it for everyone.

6) Be inquisitive, not accusatory Ties in to no2. If your VPS is offline, a ticket asking "Are there any issues with my node?" is much preferred to "Your service sucks fix it". You'll find that pleasant discourse will often get you much more informative answers about a problem than simply "It's working now".

7) Be aware of announcements. Many providers keep up-to-date announcements, as well as off-site presences such as Twitter, Facebook, or G+. Check these mediums regularly, especially before posting about downtime. The provider may have scheduled maintenance or other relevant information posted that would explain any problems you might currently have.

8) Don't immediately run to public forums. Goes with no7. Give a provider a chance to reply to your support inquiries before you blast them in public. Posting a "bad review" without even having a support ticket open is a sure way to find yourself with an eviction notice.

9) Make suggestions, but don't expect them all to happen. The best way for a host to provide quality service is to take into consideration the suggestions of their clients. Have an idea on how to improve a service, or a suggestion related to their website? Don't be afraid to speak up, but keep in mind that just because you suggested it doesn't mean it'll happen.

10) Be prompt with your invoices. You can save yourself a ton of headache simply by paying your invoices early. If you don't think you're going to make the due date, let the host know in advance, and they'll likely work with you. But, let's be honest... this is the LowEnd market. If you have to choose between paying another bill and paying for a 7$/mo VPS, then you really do not need a VPS.

11) READ. THE. TOS. Yeah, we all have a habit of blindly hitting "I accept the EULA" when installing a game or program. However, some VPS hosts out there are actually legitimate companies; when you sign up with them, you are entering a legal contract. If things turn bad enough (say, running up unpaid invoices or being terminated for abuse), there can be "real-world" repercussions for your actions (collections agencies don't care if you "didn't read the TOS, lol"). Read the service agreements, be sure to ask questions on anything you don't understand or would like clarification on. Don't agree with the no-refund policy? Don't sign up. Do you run a legitimate newsletter, but the provider frowns on SMTP? Get with them, explain the situation BEFORE you purchase, and see if they'll be fine with it.

There's probably more I could add, but I think that sums it up rather nicely. And to clarify; yes, I am a client of several hosts as well, so this is a summation of experience from both sides of the fence.

BuyVM - OpenVZ & KVM Based / TUN, PPTP, FUSE, SIT & GRE Enabled! / Stallion Control Panel || G+ / FB

Comments

  • Nice post! Although as I disagreed the same thing in my Tips for Providers thread, I believe the Live Chat interaction varies on the provider. On AlienVPS I would not go to them saying "My node is down what's going on?" because the Level 1 support would never know. However, on my current primary provider, there is a Level 3 guy sitting there that (even though possibly swamped) will still tell you what he knows. I'm not sure in their case filing a ticket is always necessary. It either varies for each provider or I'm just dense and secretly annoy that guy on Live Chat. =P

  • @Aldryic said: 9) Make suggestions, but don't expect them all to happen. The best way for a host to provide quality service is to take into consideration the suggestions of their clients. Have an idea on how to improve a service, or a suggestion related to their website? Don't be afraid to speak up, but keep in mind that just because you suggested it doesn't mean it'll happen.

    Very true, @Asim made a bunch of suggestion about a year ago, some were very good and I implemented them, some, well he was just off his rocker on a few, but we had a great discussion and I met a great new person I understood more about.

    Hostigation High Resource Hosting - SolusVM OpenVZ/KVM VPS
  • Very well written @Aldryic. Seems like common sense for the most part, but I know a lot of people don't have that.

  • XeoncrossXeoncross Member
    edited January 2012

    I'm not a client, I'm a user.

    Clients have money.

    Thanked by 1DimeCadmium
  • premisopremiso Member
    edited January 2012

    @Naruto It probably varies in how many techs there are, the work load at the current moment and how many customers are on live chat requesting help. If an outage goes out, and you have x customers on that node, you can expect at least 30% of customers to come in and ask the same question "Whats wrong with nodeX". Personally, I would rather see a twitter, or email saying "We know there is a problem with NodeX, we are working on it ... etc" vs them answering every single person in live chat who has the same question and wasting time.

    That is my personal opinion though, but it also depends on how much I am paying. If I am paying a premium for 24 hour support / services, yea I want someone to tell me immediately, but then again, most of those services do not have live chat and require ticket systems. I would expect a response though within a reasonable amount of time.

    The term, "You get what you pay for" comes to mind. If you are buying a lowend box for a really cheap price, you have to know that they cut the costs somewhere, and my guess is the first thing to get cut is support personnel.

    @Aldyric, good post.

    You may not like what I have to say, so use greasemonkey and ignore me.

    http://bit.ly/105TBo8 Check it out, best there is!

  • tl;dr.

  • @Kairus said: tl;dr.

    Lost my bet :( I was expecting that within the first 5 posts :P

    BuyVM - OpenVZ & KVM Based / TUN, PPTP, FUSE, SIT & GRE Enabled! / Stallion Control Panel || G+ / FB
  • @Kairus said: tl;dr.

    tl;dr; version:

    Get in the queue and don't be an ass.

    :)

  • @Naruto said: Nice post! Although as I disagreed the same thing in my Tips for Providers thread, I believe the Live Chat interaction varies on the provider. On AlienVPS I would not go to them saying "My node is down what's going on?" because the Level 1 support would never know. However, on my current primary provider, there is a Level 3 guy sitting there that (even though possibly swamped) will still tell you what he knows. I'm not sure in their case filing a ticket is always necessary. It either varies for each provider or I'm just dense and secretly annoy that guy on Live Chat. =P

    I think its easier to reply to tickets. and use livechat for sales queries only. as then you have reference if the user has the same issue again. etc.

  • @Aldryic Nice guide i wish all my clients followed this i would have such a nice client base :)

  • @Aldryic Thank for this, despite some of these points sound like me today (maybe you already know what I am talking lol).

    1. I try to be polite, and I think I am, but sometimes I can get desperated when things aren't going well :S
    2. I try to explain my issues, but sometimes the support just don't understand me, but I always try to do my best effort to get the things solved.
    3. I try to be friendly, and if the support people is friendly with me too, then I am grateful with that, and I don't see anything bad behaving like that.
  • @yomero said: (maybe you already know what I am talking lol).

    lol, I'd actually been meaning to write this since yesterday, none of the above was aimed your way XD Besides, in your case, you had a very good reason to talk to Fran, no hard feelings there :P

    BuyVM - OpenVZ & KVM Based / TUN, PPTP, FUSE, SIT & GRE Enabled! / Stallion Control Panel || G+ / FB
  • @Aldryic

    Part of me wishes we could squeeze this part in just before "Some" clients accept the terms and conditions haha

  • @Aldryic said: Besides, in your case, you had a very good reason to talk to Fran, no hard feelings there :P

    OMG all my secrets are being revealed xD

    Well, maybe isn't the best reason, and maybe I am exigent =( But now seems that all is solved, let's see what happens :P

  • @Aldryic said: 4) Don't abuse the support systems.

    I would amend this one to also include: "Do not post multiple, unrelated things in the same support ticket that was already resolved and closed. Also take a moment to look at the different support departments and try to pick the closest one to your question."

    It irks me when people use a pre-sales ticket from when they signed up 6 months ago for every support inquiry they've had. I was so close to writing a plugin for WHMCS to keep tickets closed because it was happening so often.

  • @KuJoe said: I was so close to writing a plugin for WHMCS to keep tickets closed

    That would be awesome actually. cPanel tickets cannot be re-opened after 90 days, so if you could do it along those lines I think you'd have a winner.

    Hostigation High Resource Hosting - SolusVM OpenVZ/KVM VPS
  • @KuJoe said: It irks me when people use a pre-sales ticket from when they signed up 6 months ago for every support inquiry they've had

    :) I have a client that since 10 years use to reply to the welcome message for everything (sales, billing, techical and psycologichal support, etc).

    IperWeb & Prometeus, Hosting Provider since 1997. iwStack cloud infrastructure
  • I would love to redirect our noreply@ address to my inbox for a week and see how many clients reply to our system generated e-mails.

  • @KuJoe said: I would love to redirect our noreply@ address to my inbox for a week and see how many clients reply to our system generated e-mails.

    I check our no.reply@ account once a week or so, to clean it out. The fact that it needs frequent cleaning out, despite the "DO NOT REPLY TO THIS EMAIL" at the top of every system message, says enough >_<

    BuyVM - OpenVZ & KVM Based / TUN, PPTP, FUSE, SIT & GRE Enabled! / Stallion Control Panel || G+ / FB
  • @Aldryic said: I check our no.reply@ account once a week or so, to clean it out.

    What are the messages like? just curious :D

  • Quite a few are folks trying to reply to things such as invoice notices, etc. But the vast majority tend to be people bitching when they get suspended for nonpayment :P

    BuyVM - OpenVZ & KVM Based / TUN, PPTP, FUSE, SIT & GRE Enabled! / Stallion Control Panel || G+ / FB
    Thanked by 1dnom
  • I logged into our noreply@ e-mail and 90% of the e-mails were "thanks". LoL! I setup a filter to auto-reply with a "This is not monitored..." message. I've come to realize Google Apps is not very powerful. :(

    Thanked by 1dnom
  • @KuJoe said: 90% of the e-mails were "thanks"

    Haha, true, I forgot to include those as well.

    @KuJoe said: I've come to realize Google Apps is not very powerful. :(

    I dunno man, I've been loving Apps. Since we did away with our prior waste-of-resources junk system (Zimbra) and went back to a paid Apps account, it's been all smooth sailing. And having the Docs, Calendar, etc is handy as hell for organizing a to-do list and working jointly on a piece of code.

    BuyVM - OpenVZ & KVM Based / TUN, PPTP, FUSE, SIT & GRE Enabled! / Stallion Control Panel || G+ / FB
  • Has anybody ever replied with something like "You said you don't monitor this address, but you appear to be reading this message?". That would be pretty funny.

  • I <3 Google Apps for my emails. Save resources; uninstall sendmail.

    Note: When using a contact form with your Google Apps and you want to reply to the actual user and not [email protected] then you have to put the user's email in a 'reply-to' field.

  • @Aldryic @Naruto I have nothing against Google Apps, it's excellent for a free system. It's just limited in some areas and the workarounds for some issues aren't always the best. I just miss having the control over my mail server but the uptime and security is worth the missing features. The filter system is very basic and I'm still not a fan of labels. :(

    Does the paid version offer any incentive besides bigger mailbox? We were grandfathered in so we don't have the 10 mailbox limit nor do we hit the 2000 e-mails per day limit (yet).

  • cedriccedric Member
    edited January 2012

    @Kairus said: tl;dr.

    ..

    "Reading is hard. :("

    FTFY

  • @KuJoe said: Does the paid version offer any incentive besides bigger mailbox?

    I think you can get the Postini stuff for more control/filtering

    President Of Operations/CEO/CFO/CTO/COO of my account
    image

  • SSDNodesSSDNodes Member
    edited January 2012

    @KuJoe said: I would love to redirect our noreply@ address to my inbox for a week and see how many clients reply to our system generated e-mails.

    @KuJoe At first we did noreply@ for everything, but now we send all our messages from support@, so that if a client replies it just creates a new ticket and we can answer it right away.

    Matt from SSD Nodes, Inc.

  • @SSDNodes said: At first we did noreply@ for everything, but now we send all our messages from support@, so that if a client replies it just creates a new ticket and we can answer it right away.

    That's what we don't want to happen.

  • bretonbreton Member
    edited January 2012

    10.9/11 I'm good :3

  • @KuJoe said: Does the paid version offer any incentive besides bigger mailbox? We were grandfathered in so we don't have the 10 mailbox limit nor do we hit the 2000 e-mails per day limit (yet).

    You gain more control stuff in the admin area, you can add route in and out in the smtp (for archiving, filtering, etc), you can also activate postini (I did and hated it). There are also the usual "enterprise" features: active directory integration, auditing api, more import options, BES integration, and other feature I just forgot here ;)

    S.

    IperWeb & Prometeus, Hosting Provider since 1997. iwStack cloud infrastructure
  • I probably send a few too many no-reply replies. Down to folks mistakingly using my email address to sign up for things.

    Regularly get sent things like doctors appointments, mortgage details, bank details, e-tickets...etc...

    Ended up managing to create a filter that matched a fingerprint for the majority of those types of emails so they get a canned response saying "you've sent mail to the wrong user".

    Downside - almost all of them are going to no-reply mailboxes meaning my

    "A person has signed up using my account details incorrectly. I do not know you nor wish to use your service, please remove me from your database"

    Goes un-read 99% of the time.

    Wish more companies would use proper mailboxes instead of no-reply.

  • kiloservekiloserve Member
    edited February 2012

    @Aldryic said: 2) Maintain a respectful attitude. When you do interact with the company, be polite and courteous to the staff members.

    That's a good point. We try our very best to always be polite (it's our job).

    But if a client is abusive, we like to suggest and steer them towards finding another provider.

    Most companies that have been around for awhile won't lose any sleep over an "entitled" $7/month client going somewhere else.

    Much better than having to swallow an "entitled" client mouthing off all the time.

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