There is plenty of humblebragging when it comes to WordPress hosting support. While self-promotion is important and expected, it’s also a chance to be transparent, honest, and realistic.
So how do you tell the semper fi’s from the polished lies?
A lot of criteria go into defining good web hosting, but one that tops most lists is support. To really shine you need to be better than good; you need to be fantastic!, outstanding!, phenomenal!
In this article, we’re going to look into the various aspects that make for great web hosting support, then focus on how to make sure you are getting it.
Keep reading, or jump ahead to any section:
All right, let’s get into it.
Customer support is the heart and soul of any business. You can offer flash & slash deals to usher in new customers, but if you can’t keep them, you won’t be successful for long.
People often won’t remember specific things you said or did, but they will most certainly retain the residual feelings of any interactions they had with you. Because how you treat people leaves a lasting impression.
Let’s look at the specific areas that comprise great web hosting support. Some are rather basic, but all bear mentioning.
There should be a variety of different avenues available for you to seek support from, such as:
This should be easy to locate and read, and written in plain language―not mired in technical jargon.
It should cover the full range of topics as applicable to the company’s offered services. It should also be easily navigable (jump links or table of contents), and smartly organized.
Tutorials & Articles
An active blog is an invaluable resource. Its content should be timely, engaging, and useful. And while it’s normal and acceptable to promote oneself, the whole of each article should be without bias.
Articles should cover a variety of concepts, topics, and how-to’s, with key insights on what the company (and comparatively, savvy competitors), have to offer.
Unless a company is brand new, there should be a decent amount of Q&A’s accumulated, with both historical and current posts.
Look for patterns in response and resolution times. It’s not a good sign if people are left hanging for days or weeks on end.
Also check for the tone and language used to convey information; does it appear to be easy-going and respectful? Is the response fleshed-out and pertinent to the subject?
Open a Ticket
It should be a straightforward process to fill out and submit one of these.
Post submission, is a confirmation link to a forum-created-post provided, or an email with ticket content sent?
There should be a definitive path to easily check back at any time for status checks or posted updates.
In today’s day and age, this tool is essential, and should be readily accessible, 24/7/365.
The initial entry request should require only the basic information necessary to funnel the chat to the correct department. Having to complete a lot of detailed questions or compose a mini novel isn’t reasonable or necessary this early on.
The chat software/plugin itself should be solidly dependable (so sudden cut-offs happen rarely to never), and have well-thought out features (like emailing transcripts after the chat is completed).
Here are some important questions to consider when it comes to engaging with support:
How easily can you get in touch with them?
Making that first contact should be simple; if you have to wade through menus/submenus to find a viable channel, the rest of the process isn’t likely to go smoothly.
How long does it take to get an initial response?
Live Chats should get a response within seconds (if first in line), and within minutes (if there’s a queue). For tickets, you should hear within 24 hours of submission. Further delays fall outside the bounds of acceptability.
Who is the most direct line of communication to a company’s customer base? You guessed it―their support team. Therefore it’s vital that they present themselves in the most positive light.
The following should be inherent to a great support staff:
Support should be ready and pleased to engage with you. There’s a lot to be said for a friendly tone and pleasant demeanor.
Agents can’t simply hold the knowledge, they must be able to convey it to you.
They are there to assist, yes, but these are also great opportunities to come away with some tech & dev knowledge for handy use later. You’re speaking to an expert, after all. 🙂
You should feel no sense of annoyance coming from an agent, nor a sense of being rushed to finish. Being hurried through communications or made to feel insignificant are both indicators of inferior support.
Support messages should be conveyed in easy to understand language, so that a non-native speaking individual wouldn’t struggle to comprehend them.
It’s also important for the agent to get to the crux of the matter, so they can provide the most fitting responses and solutions without wasting time (yours, especially) getting sidetracked.
Advanced Troubleshooting Skills
Support should be adept at issue escalation, and able to coordinate between different support tiers if the situation warrants.
For example, if you need to go from Level 1 tech support to Level 2, or another department altogether, it should be with minimal transfers, and without putting you on terminal hold.
As we all know, submitting a problem is only the beginning. Having it seen through to completion is another pivotal test of quality customer support.
Here are some important questions to note in this area:
Is the issue resolution time reasonable?
Not all problems are instantly solvable. However, the interim between presentation and resolution should match the complexity of each issue, and the order in which they were received.
Lost time can mean lost revenue and increased bounce rates for your site, so exorbitant wait times, especially over minor items, are deal breakers.
What’s the ticket lifecycle? Are open items closed prematurely?
A customer should always be the one to mark an open item as resolved, not the support team. (With few exceptions, i.e., duplicate threads.)
In this manner, the customer decides and indicates when their issue is resolved, based on their level of satisfaction. Support teams who close tickets at their own whim are a red flag.
How are unresolvable issues handled?
In the rare instances where problems aren’t fixable, the customer should be compensated in a different way.
Much like those “delivered in 30 minutes-or-less, or your pizza is free” deals, but something of value in the hosting realm.
So we know why good hosting is important to have. Aside from what we already talked about, how can you be sure you are getting it?
Well, here’s a list of some items to be observant of:
Things are running efficiently.
If you never encounter any issues, and your website’s just humming along seamlessly in the background, that’s partly attributable to great hosting support.
That’s not to say hiccups are never to be expected, even in a well-supported hosting environment; just that a lack thereof points to pro-level care behind the scenes.
Support interactions are quick, easy, and produce desired results.
If you can’t recall feeling flustered or helpless after reaching out for assistance, you’ve got a winner.
If you would go so far as to grant a glowing testimonial for help you received―written or verbal―that’s enviable support.
Tools and services are updated, tweaked, or added.
If fresh versions of your plugins or service features are rolled-out on the reg, (or new ones are added to the existing library), that’s a host that works to stay relevant, and provide you with the most value.
Communication flows freely, independent of reaching out for any issues, and is non-invasive and helpful.
If your host sends occasional emails or messages with tips or pertinent news (not hourly or daily nonsense spam), that’s a forward-thinking, knowledge-sharing provider.
To make sure you’re getting the best hosting support possible, there are a few other things you can do.
Try an experiment with different hosting companies by doing a Live Chat. Then judge accordingly on the following:
How fast did they respond? Were they polite? Did they ask intuitive questions? Did they answer your queries succinctly & intelligently? Was the chat peppered with unsolicited sales pitches or ‘act fast’ deals?
There’s nothing like testing the waters yourself to decide if you’d rather hang around or get away quickly.
Also, scope out the ratings for potential hosting providers. What others have to say about them can definitely shed some light.
Keep in mind there are likely to be false positives and negatives floating in any sea of reviews, so consider the overall direction of the tide, and go with your inner ear (i.e., reviews that resound with you).
Additionally, check to see if providers offer a free trial, or a money-back guarantee (and that they stand behind them).
Finally, don’t forget to inspect the fine print. Sometimes what seems like a smashing good deal washes away to almost nothing in those asterisked addendums. Read. Them. Carefully.
A slick salesperson can sell just about anything once. But it is the ongoing interactions that determine whether you’ll gain a customer for life. A quality company will work to build a rapport―a beneficial one that people will want to retain.
Give due consideration to all the different elements of website hosting. Research and review, digest and debate―from the many offers available.
Then actually go for a trial run, with any host of your choosing, (hey, our support is awesome!), and see how their features, services, and assistance actually stack up.
Whatever hosting provider you go with, know that you don’t have to stick with one who’s not meeting your expectations. Don’t settle for subpar when the best web hosting support for you is out there, ripe for the picking!
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