- Mar 24, 2021
- by A2 Marketing Team
Customer service offers a direct line to your clients. Get your reseller hosting customer support right, and you’ll have no problems growing your business. Get it wrong, and you’ll struggle to hang onto any of your users.
Fortunately, you don’t need a multi-million dollar budget or even a dedicated team to deliver exceptional customer service. With a few simple tricks, tools, and free software, you can offer the kind of assistance that your clients deserve.
In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of delivering a five-star customer service experience. Then we’ll share eight tips for optimizing your reseller hosting customer support to keep clients happy. Let’s get started!
An Overview of Five-Star Customer Support
As a hosting provider, you don’t necessarily have to offer support to all your customers. For example, you might only extend it to clients who purchase a premium package.
It can also be difficult to find the bandwidth to offer support, particularly when you’re in the early phases of launching a reseller hosting business. However, wherever possible, we recommend offering a high level of customer support to all your clients. Ideally, it should be available 24/7 and via multiple channels.
Whenever a user reaches out for help, their experience will influence whether they remain a loyal customer or take their business elsewhere. By helping clients resolve their issues quickly and efficiently, you can boost your retention rates. You’ll also be in a stronger position to upsell them.
Delivering five-star customer support 24/7 may feel like a difficult task. However, it’s an effective way to stand out from the competition and grow your reseller hosting business.
Happy customers are also the best way to advertise your business. In a world where nearly all businesses need web hosting, every satisfied customer could recommend your services to a huge number of people. By contrast, dissatisfied clients can inflict serious damage on your reputation. If your support is unhelpful, unreliable, or just plain difficult to contact, people will hear about it, and you’ll lose out on potential sales.
It’s sometimes easy to think of customer support as something that happens after a successful sale. However, giving potential clients a taste of your stellar support in advance can be a powerful way to drive conversions. If the prospect has questions, it should be easy for them to get answers.
How to Deliver Five-Star Reseller Hosting Customer Support (8 Tips)
It doesn’t matter how affordable and reliable your reseller hosting services are. If your customer support is lacking, people will likely complain. Not only can this make it challenging to maintain high retention rates, but you may also find it difficult to attract any new clients.
The good news is that you can provide top-notch support and gain a loyal audience with some simple steps. Let’s take a look at eight helpful tips for consistently delivering excellent customer service.
1. Determine Your Support Availability
Ideally, your support staff will be available any time of the day and night. However, this isn’t always feasible for startups and smaller businesses, which typically work with limited resources.
The key is to be upfront with your customers. While the promise of 24/7 support may attract new clients, they’ll quickly lose patience if you fail to deliver on that promise. If you can only realistically provide assistance within a certain time frame, it’s important to inform people in advance.
Over-promising and under-delivering will almost always lead to a poor customer experience. It could also damage your reputation as a reliable and trustworthy hosting provider.
When determining your availability, it’s crucial to consider your time zone and the your customer support department size. However, to get maximum Return On Investment (ROI), it’s also smart to consider your target audience’s hours of operation. If your biggest customer is operational from 9am–5pm Eastern Standard Time (EST), it may make sense to adopt these as your standard support hours, regardless of your own time zone.
Your availability will also be determined by the kind of support you offer. Telephone or live-chat support requires your staff to be on-hand. This can limit your support accessibility, so it’s crucial to take this into consideration when drawing up your contracts.
Wherever possible, we recommend offering at least one automated support channel, such as a chatbot or ticket-based system. These automated options can create the impression of around-the-clock support, even when your staff isn’t physically available:
You may also want to consider offering self-help resources, which we’ll discuss more in a moment. This gives customers the ability to find their own answers, at any time of the day or night.
2. Offer Support via Multiple Channels
Every customer support request is different. For example, some might require immediate attention, such as if your customer’s business-critical site goes offline. Others will have a more forgiving timescale.
Similarly, clients may prefer to access support in different ways. Many people prefer to speak to a person directly over the telephone. Some feel more comfortable discussing their support issues digitally over live chat. There are also plenty of customers who favor solving technical problems themselves by reading online documentation and blogs.
To ensure that you’re providing the best experience to all your customers, it’s smart to offer support via multiple channels. Popular options include telephone support, ticket-based systems, live chat, chatbots, and self-help resources such as wikis:
You can also create Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) using a tool such as phpMyFAQ. If you’re an A2 Hosting reseller, you can install this multilingual, database-driven FAQ system via your account’s built-in Softaculous installer:
By offering multi-channel support, you can give customers the flexibility to choose the method that’s most appropriate for their requests. If they can do that, you’re already off to a strong start – even if the client is making a complaint. Alternatively, if you force your users to contact you through an inconvenient channel, you’re putting them in a frustrating position, even if their issue is relatively minor.
If you’re an A2 Hosting reseller, all your clients will receive a cPanel account as standard. You can then customize this cPanel to include information about how to contact your customer support. This ensures that they are aware of all their options and have easy access to all your service channels.
3. Provide Self-Help Resources
When faced with a technical problem, some people prefer to find answers themselves. This may be a personal preference, as not everyone feels comfortable communicating over the phone. It may also be necessitated due to the customer’s busy schedule or a time-zone conflict. Some users may also prefer self-help resources if there’s a language barrier between themselves and your support staff.
Studies suggest that 81 percent of customers try to resolve an issue themselves before reaching out to a live representative. This figure suggests that self-service may be the preferred method of customer support for the majority of your audience. Therefore, it’s important to offer at least one self-help customer support channel.
One option is to use a plugin such as Echo Knowledge Base. This lets you build a library of documentation and resources.
Thanks to the built-in Softaculous installer, A2 Hosting customers can access all the software they need to build a robust self-help portal. This includes blogging software, FAQ systems, and MediaWiki:
MediaWiki is the software that’s used to power Wikipedia and almost all other Wikimedia websites, including Wiktionary, Wikimedia Commons, and Wikidata. Using this tool, you can build a wiki that feels instantly familiar to any customer who’s ever visited the hugely popular Wikipedia platform. This ensures they can navigate your resource with ease, and find exactly the information they need to resolve their problem – without having to speak to customer support.
4. Offer Multilingual Customer Support to Your International Audience
As a hosting reseller, you have the potential to connect with an international audience. With 74 percent of internet users speaking a language other than English, offering multilingual customer support can greatly increase your client base. It can also help your customer service achieve that five-star status, as 65 percent of consumers prefer to access content in their native languages.
For the best results, try to recruit multilingual representatives to your support team wherever possible. Native speakers can help reduce miscommunications and ensure that your staff follows cultural etiquette. This can increase the chances of international clients coming away with a positive impression of your customer service.
It’s a good idea to support as many languages as possible, but this isn’t always practical. To get the highest possible ROI, it’s smart to identify the most popular languages among your current audience. Then you can hire people who speak these particular languages. You can analyze your customer base using an analytics platform such as Google Analytics.
It’s important to note that multilingual customer support isn’t limited to telephone conversations. If you offer live chat support, you may want to opt for a solution that supports multiple languages, such as phpFreeChat:
If you provide self-help resources such as wikis or tutorials, you can also translate these resources into multiple languages. When doing so, we recommend hiring a native speaker or partnering with a localization agency that has access to such staff. You can then upload the translations to your reseller hosting website or customer support portal using a plugin such as Polylang:
The free Polylang plugin adds a language picker to your website. This enables customers to access your self-help resources in their preferred language.
5. Demonstrate That You Value the Customer’s Time
According to research, 66 percent of customers believe that valuing their time is the most important factor in customer service. If you offer support via multiple channels, customers can choose the channel that’s the most convenient for them. This means you’re already off to a strong start.
Callbacks can be another way to demonstrate that you value the customer’s time. This helps you avoid a situation where busy clients are left in a support queue. A2 Hosting users can offer appointment scheduling using the Booked scheduler tools available via Softaculous:
Once the customer has reached your support staff, the race is on to resolve their issue as efficiently as possible. According to research, 82 percent of consumers expect an immediate response to their requests – and they define “immediate response” as ten minutes or less.
Responding to every request within this time frame is a surefire way to make your customers feel valued. However, this isn’t always possible, particularly if you’re a smaller business. Some support requests may also be complex and require in-depth investigation or even escalating to a specialist.
In these situations, it may help to acknowledge that you’ve received the customer’s inquiry and will respond to them as soon as possible. Many ticketing systems have an autoresponder built-in. For example, osTicket has a customizable automatic response.
Alternatively, you might display a popup confirming that you’ve received their request. If you have a dedicated support email address, you might want to use an email auto-responder.
6. Use Chatbots to Automate and Streamline Customer Support
You can use chatbots to offer live, personalized customer support, even when your staff isn’t currently available. This can be useful for businesses with limited resources, or if your users span multiple time zones.
According to research, more than 67 percent of consumers worldwide used a chatbot for customer support in 2019. This suggests that customers are happy to use the technology in order to access the help they need.
Even if you plan to provide 24/7 support, chatbots can be a powerful tool for streamlining the support process. For example, you might use a chatbot to gather essential information about the customer’s issue and to schedule a callback. Your team can then contact the person with the relevant information already on-hand. This will immediately make your staff seem more knowledgeable, and provide a more positive customer experience.
Alternatively, you can use chatbots to collect details about the problem, then forward them to an appropriate self-help resource. According to reports, 73 percent of customers prefer to use a company’s website over other forms of customer support. However, 55 percent find web self-service portals difficult to use.
By combining self-help resources with a chatbot, your users can access support via their preferred channels, and with minimal effort. You can implement one using a WordPress plugin such as ChatBot:
You can use this plug-and-play chatbot to display text responses that you create in the WordPress dashboard. Alternatively, you can give ChatBot natural language processing powers by integrating it with Google’s Dialogflow.
7. Request Customer Feedback
No matter how much time and effort you invest into providing five-star customer support, there is always room for improvement. To ensure that you’re consistently moving forward, it’s vital to gather customer feedback.
Demonstrating an interest in someone’s opinion can make them feel valued. This means that simply asking for feedback can improve the customer experience.
Occasionally, there may be a situation where the customer service doesn’t live up to your usual standards. Here, asking for input can help diffuse an unpleasant situation. When the client has an opportunity to complain to you directly, they’ll be less inclined to air their grievances publicly. Having an open discussion with an unhappy customer is far better than receiving negative reviews or getting tagged in reputation-damaging social media posts.
Since customer feedback is so valuable, it’s smart to take a proactive approach. Ideally, you should request feedback as part of the standard customer service process. This might involve asking clients to rate their experience at the end of each support call.
Many customer-focused tools give you the opportunity to request ratings automatically. A2 Hosting resellers have access to a range of these support portals, including Hesk:
Hesk has all the settings you need to request and log valuable feedback. This includes rating your self-help resources, which can be invaluable for continuously improving the quality of your blogs, tutorials, FAQs, and many other resources.
8. Be Proactive
Going the extra mile is one of the most effective ways to deliver five-star customer service for your reseller hosting business. Rather than simply reacting to customer requests, you should look for opportunities to anticipate your customers’ needs.
If you’re already gathering feedback, you’re off to a strong start. By looking for recurring elements and patterns in responses, you may be able to identify a product, service, or new feature that would improve the customer experience.
It’s also a smart idea to look for chances to communicate with your customers. Social media is a great place to start, but you can also interact in the comments section of your company blogs. Here, you may be able to encourage customer engagement by installing dedicated commenting software, such as Commentics:
This solution can provide a more fluid and responsive User Experience (UX), even when your comments section spans hundreds of posts. Another option is to interact with your customers via questionnaires. If you’re an A2 Hosting customer, Softalcous provides a wide range of polling and questionnaire software. Some popular choices include LimeSurvey, Advanced Poll, and LittlePoll.
Keeping your customers happy isn’t always easy, but it’s essential for running a successful reseller hosting business. Satisfied clients won’t hesitate to renew their hosting contracts, and they may even help you earn new customers by recommending you to their friends and family.
To deliver five-star customer support, we recommend using a variety of channels. For the best results, this should include immediate channels, such as telephone support, and those with a more forgiving timeline, such as ticket-based systems. It’s also a smart idea to offer self-help resources for customers who prefer to research a topic themselves.
Support is just one element of providing a positive customer experience. The quality of the hosting service you provide can make the difference between happy clients and angry phone calls to your customer support staff. To ensure that you’re providing the best possible customer service, we recommend purchasing your hosting from a provider who offers high-performance and an uptime guarantee. Check out our plans today!
Image credits: Pexels.