Outsourcing Some Support

Update:  This post is no longer accurate

This post previously discussed our evaluations of using out sourced support during high growth periods.  We have since expanded significantly since then and utilize our own in house team.  Anyone responding to tickets works exclusively with Hawk Host customers.

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A lot of people see out sourcing in any service field as a big negative and this is especially true with web hosting.  The fact is a large majority of web hosts out source their support in some way whether that be by using a company specializing in web hosting or by hiring people who do not work in their office.  Most users though see the outsourcing of support as only when it’s located in a country such as India for example.  Even with support in India I’ve always thought the issue was never the location but rather the training of the staff.  You read about just as many poor support stories from company’s who’s staff are located right in the company’s office.  I know of a lot of web hosting company’s who’s owners are located in the big oh no countries such as India and they are very knowledgeable.  Most of them are praised for their great support so is the location of the support team really the issue?  Probably not in most cases.

So why am I bringing this up? Well we’ve been actively looking to a solution to our growing support problem where we’re having more an more issues keeping up with the support load.  I have been in talks with numerous companies who specialize in web hosting in one way or another.  All of them are highly recommended and probably provide support for the majority of web hosting company’s people use already.  Some of them then they provide you with an easy way to hire people knowedable in web hosting and others provide solutions by server, number of tickets ect.  Those discussion have finally resulted in us finding a solution to our support problem and we will start implementing this in July.  I’m sure many are wondering but Tony you guys respond in very fast already!  This is true but our growth suggests that it is very soon we will be unable to keep up resulting in either slow replies or lower quality replies.  Our staff all being the equivalent of level 3 support people it always seemed silly to have them answering support equivalent of level 1.

We will start having the company we will be working with assist with the much easier questions we receive on a daily basis.  The questions that require our staff expertise will still be possible around the clock obviously as we use an escalation system.  Overall we believe this will improve support speed as well as quality of all replies due to staff handling tickets more to the level they should be.  At times in the past if we’ve had issues with a server which would mean all ticket replies not even relating to that server might be slowed down.  This should no longer be the case as the people who should be working on issues are handling those issues.  No longer will someone be trying to deal with a problem with a server while also trying to help someone on how to create an email account.

Most company’s in this situation do not even talk about the fact they’re doing.  We’re very confident this will actually improve our services rather than degrade them so I have no issue talking about it.  A lot of our high praise is the fact our servers very rarely go down or become slow and this is because of our expertise on management not support. We already review select tickets on a daily basis for quality control purposes and this will still continue.  If you do run into an issue you’re always welcome to email me personally.  This does not mean any ticket you make cc’ing me on them as I mean if you run into a quality issue with support.  Users have always been welcome to email me on quality issues and some have in the past.

If you’re curious at all about our growth in the last 6 months we’ve doubled our current subscriber base.  The next 6 months going forward we’ll double the current base we’ll have as of July so we are growing at a pretty rapid pace.  We’ve also expanded what Hawk Host Inc. the company does as we’ve provided specialized hosting solutions to company’s or provided our expertise in deployment of their servers or continued maintenance of them.  We also have hopes of expanding the software we use ourselves to other company’s as another revenue stream to help fund us.

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11 Responses to Outsourcing Some Support

  1. Kris Bulman says:

    Any projections of when VezozVM will be released?

  2. Tony says:

    We wanted it to be already out but here we are. So now the goal is simply ASAP not going to give a date as I just do not know what is going to happen. We could have another insane month and get double the regular number of signups or something crazy like that.

  3. chris says:

    Does this mean your live chat support will be on more?

  4. Tony says:

    Maybe, Maybe not.

    The problem with live chat and always has been people come on and expect a person to give them attention for hours on an issue. As much as we’d love to do it unfortunately this is not possible. With tickets we can handle the issue and move on. We have yet to come up with a decent solution to this problem other than being rude to the user.

    A lot of company’s either just do sales threw it or the support may as well not be there as they really cannot do anything. We could follow that motto and there would be complaints about how it’s never helpful.

    With less of a ticket load it might be feasible we’ll have to wait and see.

  5. Tony says:

    It’s July 1st so this is all live now. I’m sure some people have received excellent replies from our new staff (I guess you can call it that). If you run into any problems feel free to email me of course but I’m sure things will go great. They’re probably a lot more professional than I’ll ever be 🙂

  6. kbase says:

    I think it should help reduce support tickets by at least 20%-30% if the knowledgebase is constantly updated to be more extensive. Hopefully customers try to search for answers in the knowledgebase otherwise efforts to keep it updated would be futile.

    Now that you’ve outsourced your support, it might be prudent to change your statement “We don’t believe in outsourcing support or certain tasks, everything is handled in-house” in http://www.hawkhost.com/About/whyus .

  7. Cody says:

    And they’ll spell things correctly 😉

    @chris Tony already addressed this, though I would like to elaborate further on it. We’ve always been in the mindset that when staff is on live chat, or phone support that they will be able to help the customer to the fullest. This means that it’s not a typical sales person, but someone with enough knowledge to not only answer the majority of the questions asked , but actually assist existing customers with issues they may be having. As a result our live chat is sporadic, though the quality of the chats should be much higher.

    This should be addressed within a few months, though our main form of support is still tickets.

    @kbase This has been on our todo list for months, though we’ve been so busy it’s always been put on hold. We should now have the free time to start working on the website more, which includes the knowledge base.

    I don’t believe we need to adjust that statement as we took these measures after long hours of R&D and believe it’s the best for our customers. You must realize we’re not leaving things unattended – everything is monitored and everyone that has been here in the past will be doing the same amount of work. We believe this will allow us to give more attention to the tickets that need it.

    What’s everyones else’s opinion on adjusting the about us?

  8. Jas says:

    I think this is a good change here Tony, I’m sure you guys must have had a lot of support requests that were simple, so this will really help with that while keeping up the quality of Hawk Host, which from some sites I use that are hosted by you I see is incredible. This’ll also give you guys more time to develop VezozVM 🙂

  9. qa says:

    I think it’s important to have a ticket rating/survey system to help ensure top quality support at all times. Hawk Host has always provided top-notch support, but one must never rest on one’s laurels.

    Anyways, you’ll be pleased to know that Kayako’s SupportSuite version 4 will include this feature. No idea when v4 will be available though.

  10. Tony says:

    I agree a rating system would be nice but unfortunately it’s not there. I’m sure we’ll hear from our customers though if there is an issue as we always do. I do not anticipate things going downhill by any means things probably would have gone that way with our continued support structure. There is only soo much a few people can do while trying to cover a 24/7 shift. We do not have 100,000 customers so that multi tier level system cannot be built internally just yet. Some day though right!

    The majority of our customers are hear from reliability and performance and not our support. It’s never been always the fastest I’ll be the first to admit that as we always wanted quality. Now we just have the ability to have fast responses and have the issues that need escalated do and so it’s fast + quality.

    Also with the more free time for some of us it’ll give us a chance to develop things like VezozVM and some client area stuff we’re been working on hint: maybe support system 🙂

  11. Hikari says:

    Well I didn’t have the opportunity to test the new support yet, and I hope to not need to soon 😛

    But when I have any question I’ll call, and then I’ll see if there is any difference.

    Gratz on the growth! It is splendid to know you are growing and working to not let quality go down. Just don’t let any big company buy HH PLEASE!!

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