(Gawkwire.com) – Hosting companies, from goliath’s like The Planet down to one-person value added resellers take note: viewing support issues and account management for your clients as a ‘chore’ or an expense isn’t just a disservice to your clients – it means you’re leaving money on the table. Every web host deals with support tickets, for a variety of reasons: client questions, upgrades, and even a complaint or two on occasion. It is how your team approaches these issues that determine whether or not your interaction with your clients is an asset or a liability to your growing enterprise.
Even if you are a one person reseller company, you need to have access to the tools of the trade: support suites like Cerebrus and Kayako allow you to maintain an organized process for handling support queries. Let’s take this one step further however; using one of the aforementioned applications also allows you to track the support history for each client and even better, track metrics that help you to gauge the performance of your support team’s response.
From a sales perspective, the (hopefully) intimate interaction that you or your staff have with your clients when providing support is a very good vehicle, not only for sales but for fine tuning your product mix as well. If your sales efforts are not inextricably intertwined with your support system now, take note: your competitors are managing sales efforts with their own client bases this way and are increasing their competitive advantage as a result.
Let’s take an example. Say your client, John Doe, setup an account with your company eight months ago. His billing, at the time, was $50 monthly for a shared hosting account. Over the course of the preceding months, he has submitted 10 support tickets for the addition of mail accounts as well as assistance with dealing with SPAM on several occasions. Most recently, John submitted three tickets within the span of 48 hours regarding SPAM related issues and has threatened to cancel his hosting service to boot. For some hosts, gut instinct would be to perhaps issue an apology and offer some sort of compensation in the hopes of retaining John’s business. Not yours however; instead, by trolling through your support system, you find several other clients with the same issue and offer them the value added service of SPAM protection for a nominal monthly fee. BAM! You’ve not only avoided a flat out reduction in the value of your client to your business and the immediate risk of losing his business altogether, but you’ve also increased revenues and increased your value to the client – this increasing the longevity of the relationship.
Exposing your sales force to the daily support requirements of your clients provides the opportunity to provide relevant and timely solutions; what’s more, it opens up a valuable line of communication with your sales team, allowing them to see what is working, what is not from a product mix point of view. The net result of this approach is two fold: increasing your value to the customer and increasing the customer’s value to you. As with life, approaching client support as an exciting opportunity, rather than as a chore to deal will always yield better results.
Writer’s Bio: Josh Ewin is VP of Sales & Marketing at DedicatedNOW, a Managed Dedicated Server Provider in New Jersey.