Just me offering support to many customers?
Hello, well as the title states, im very close to be able to open my webhosting business to public. But im worried about something. If somehow i manage to get a few customers, like 100-200 and if all of them ask for support. Well, im just 1 person lol. Every day i think of how i can ever respond to that many people being just me on the site offering support.
I dont want people to get mad because i didnt answer in time due to many people that needed my help, or didnt knew how to fix some issue due to my low knowledge on webhostings yet.
Maybe im panicking a little, but this came worrying me for a while now
Sorry for the long thread, i hope i can get some advice here.
It's all about setting proper expectation. When you're just starting out you can reply to people within 5 minutes, and people love that. But maybe you start out immediately saying "Responses can take up to ____ hours" and let people be pleasantly surprised when they come in earlier.
I did support almost entirely on my own with MXroute until after I had reached over 1000 customers. It takes a fair amount of success to overwhelm one person, if you have any reasonable amount of free time.
1000 customers?! How the hell you handled all that by yourself? I dont get it, i bet many people asked for your support and you barely had any time to breath. Thats what scares me the most
The entire time I had a mildly complicated product and a significant lack of documentation. I would average maybe 5 tickets a day. It's up to maybe 10-15 tickets per day now at about 1600 customers. Just to give you an idea of how few tickets you're likely to get on average.
I started by setting the expectation that non-critical responses would be responded to within 2 business days. When an email came in, I draft a response as soon as possible but defer sending it for a few hours (1-4, typically). I always send responses by the end of the same business day though. Critical requests I always handle immediately. Expectations are always met and everyone is happy.
I am selective of my clientele. Targeting specific types of businesses.
It should also be pointed out that if you can retain customers long enough, those people typically need less hand holding because they know how things work, etc.
I only send one ticket to @jarland since last year. That's because I want them to remove the service that has 3 month past due, yet I still can use it.
I was getting a hard time when I want to setup DKIM, but I found some useful information on their website and I can make it, yay!
If you write a proper tutorial/FAQ/Knowledge Base and keep the stability of whatever your service is, @kazurengan you can handled 1000 of me.
Another good way to avoid a lot of tickets. Overdue payment service suspended after 3 months, terminated after 6. Doesn't cost me shit, and no one ever has to ask for an extension
We have 4k customers+ and manage with 4 people of which only 3 actually work with tickets in a serious way. We have some 20+ tickets a day I think, normally about 15, the extra ones come in spikes when we are making changes or something breaks and that can be painful, had even hundreds a day, but putting up status in forum twitter and whmcs helps a lot.
Also, copy paste with the link works miracles.
As others have said, it is manageable! - you may well have 1000 customers however those customers arent all going to be putting tickets in at the same time - Have a good knowledgebase for them to use, set clear expectations and you will be fine. Good luck with your venture!
I work for an IT provider with a few thousand users. The single most important thing to a successful support offering is documentation. Let it be a part of your every day work not an after thought. You can offer awesome support with okay technicians if your processes and documentation is setup correctly.
If you're providing a reliable service then tickets should be few and far between, you're only really likely to see significant spikes in tickets whenever you have an issue with your service.
I think you should be fine coping quite easily on your own with that number of clients, however that does mean that you won't be providing 24/7 support so realistically you shouldn't advertise as such.
Take some time and budget it for writing a knowledgebase of commonly asked questions and solutions to basic problems that might arise.
I find that it reduces tickets substantially.
Maybe get a custom module for your support system developed. Make it limit the number of tickets submitted per day or hour, so if more than say 5 customers attempt to submit a ticket within any 6 hour period the system rejects it and says "Unfortunately we have reached the maximum number of tickets able to be handled in a certain window of time, you will have to try and submit your support request another time".
Or just realise that in reality not everyone will ask for support at the same time unless something major is broken on your side; in which case you should have some public status page and send people there automatically.
PS. First paragraph is sarcasm...
I'd cancel at the next possible opportunity if I got that
Would be nice to adjust such a module to NOT block tickets, but instead print something about "ticket wait times are longer than normal, expect 1+ days to receive a response"
We have a NOC in our office @ Portugal and do ticket support / network and server monitoring for two companies. We do part-time for those and receive up to a hundred tickets per day. It's just a matter of money. If you can afford extra support staff, then you'll be able to provide a decent support. Choose wisely though, there's many cheap support techs out there that are no close to decent. Replies are poor, knowledge is very limited. You'd rather pay for someone with enough qualifications.
I would suggest a really good documentation can save you time with customers that have repetitive demands that have been asked before. More than that, about 99% of the problems are caused by 1% of the customers. So statistically speaking, most of the customers do not need support as long as the service is reliable and without downtime.
Good documentation and support options is working out very well for us.
Documentation is everything. Customers end up asking the same questions over and over after awhile. If you're up front with a reasonable (to both you and the customer) response time, everybody is happy. Some large providers aim for 15 minute response to your ticket and 4 hour resolution to the issue while if you don't have the manpower 4-6 hour response and 24 - 36 hour resolution is reasonable if you're up front about it.
+1 on this and don't hesitate to toss 1% of the bad customers to make 99% happy.
Don't fall for "I'm going to post on WHT if you don't give me what I want!!!" because that's threatening to throw crap on top of a huge crap pile already.
Or, "the average first-reply time is x hours and x minutes over the last 24 hours; we apologise for any delays if it is longer than normal", etc etc
I was being sarcastic, sorry if it wasn't obvious. ;-)
Automate the crap out of your company. If we get a few clients opening tickets for the same thing then we automate it to reduce those kinds of tickets, if we have people asking the same question over and over we add it to our KB, if clients keep having the same issue we fix it and script a monitor/repair script for it.
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dont worry, if you have 1000 client i think you will not get more than 20 ticket a day.
We have 200 client and i only get max 2 ticket in a day
Sounds like I need to signup and send you a ticket every hour then to make you have enough work :-)
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