Many nights I stay up wondering why so many customers/potential customers seem to come in with a “chip on their shoulder” and what we can do to help restore their confidence.
It seems that so many come in with the mindset that web hosting support is going to be subpar so their attitude from the very beginning is pessimistic.
As one customer told me on the phone, “I’ve simply been burned by one to many web hosts over the last decade.”
Understanding Customers’ Frustration
This past week, I got a taste of just how bad the industry has become with customer service and now better understand this frustration.
Monday, I had a conference call with a company we’re about to start working with here at NameHero. After agreeing to a deal, I was eventually sent their plugin for WHMCS (our CRM).
All was good until our team went to install it on our staging environment (we heavily test all plugins/software/upgrades before pushing out to our live site).
It didn’t work. Blank white screen of death.
Most of the time, this happens with a mis-configuration of PHP, so we completely understood it as a problem with our staging server.
To make sure, we went ahead and setup a second staging environment on another server, and it worked.
For the next two days we went back to the original staging environment to ensure that server’s configuration perfectly matched the other.
It did; but unfortunately it didn’t solve our issue. Still, same blank white page.
Experiencing Customer Service For Myself
I like to consider myself fairly advanced when it comes to server administration, coding, etc. I did develop the entire Name Hero infrastructure from scratch and have been developing and managing multiple Internet businesses for nearly two-decades.
Not to toot my own horn too much, but there isn’t much I haven’t seen and it’s usually rare for me to have an issue I cannot solve. Especially with help from my team.
But this plugin was a different story. For whatever reason, nothing seemed to solve the problem, so it only made sense to reach out to WHMCS to see if they could provide some feedback:
Thanks for contacting WHMCS!
Unfortunately there is not much we can do in terms of troubleshooting as this is a third party module, and thus you would need to reach out to the module developer for more information.
I see error logging has been enabled, however no output is being displayed which leads me to believe that perhaps PHP is suppressing errors. Getting those turned on may help the module developer narrow down the issue a bit better.
Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance!
The “Handoff” Begins
This my friends, is what we call “the handoff.”
When there is an issue that can’t be solved, fingers start getting pointed in the other direction.
Sure, I get it, they didn’t make the module so they don’t want to get their hands dirty. There is no going above and beyond to help the customer. That’s too much trouble.
But the annoying thing? It took their 24/7/365 support team NINE hours to tell me that:
Ticket opened: 15th Mar 2017 (12:51)
Ticket replied: 15th Mar 2017 (21:51)
Moving on, I reach out to the developer of the plugin.
I had already sent an email to the individual’s email address that was in the configuration file for the plugin. No response, so I decided to raise a ticket with them:
Thank you for contacting us.
Please be informed that we do not support -Name Of Plugin Removed- plugin.
We recommend contacting directly with the company that you have received this plugin.
Feel free to write if you have any questions or concerns.
Another handoff! Want to guess the response time? Yep, another nine hours:
Ticket opened: Mar 16th, 2017 03:11
Ticket replied: Mar 16th, 2017 12:14
One thing I didn’t mention, I STARTED with the company that we received the plugin from.
They agreed that they could see the issue, but since it worked on my other staging server, and on theirs, they dismissed it.
I get it, my server, my problem.
No one is going to go above and beyond.
The Name Hero Difference
Knowing this, I try to make the experience for our customers much different here at Name Hero.
For starters, if you log a ticket, call our 800 number, or start a live chat you’re going to receive a reply within minutes not hours.
Now granted, we may have to escalate your issue to a senior-level admin, but at least someone is going to be immediately looking into your issue.
I See Everything
Just because I’m Name Hero CEO doesn’t mean I’m sitting in some fancy corner office counting stacks of cash while booking my next tee-time.
Heck no. I watch Name Hero support like a hawk.
Every live chat. Every phone call. Every ticket.
I’m reading your questions, my team’s replies, and am constantly working on improving the customer service relationship.
It’s what I call the “Name Hero Difference.”
Can We Solve Everything?
Are we miracle workers? No.
Do we sometimes have to handoff support to another party? Yes.
But we’re not going to waste nine hours to tell you.
As much as I hate to do the “handoff” it’s not possible for me to train my entire team on every single piece of software out there.
Doing that would require much higher prices that would leave us completely unable to compete in already a vicious industry.
We Try Our Best
Simply put, we try our best to 1) get you an answer as quickly as possible 2) solve each issue to your satisfactory.
In regards to my situation, I still plan on continuing my relationships with the above companies. While their customer service is subpar, their products are really good. But imagine what they could be like with awesome customer service?
I’ve purposely left out some details in this post as it’s not my intention to shame these companies, but rather illustrate examples of poor customer service with how these situations can be handled differently to provide a much better end-user experience.
If you’re working with NameHero (as a customer or potential customer) and don’t get your questions answered to your satisfactory, please make sure to reach out to me personally, [email protected]! It’s my promise, we’ll do everything in our power to try and solve your issue(s) to ease your frustration!
Ryan Gray is the founder and CEO of NameHero, one of the fastest growing independent web hosts in the United States. Ryan has been working online since 1998 and has over two-decades experience in Internet Entrepreneurship.