How to get the most from our customer service

Most customers at some point in the process of setting up or running a website will naturally need to communicate with customer service.  Maybe your site is down for an unknown reason.  Possibly you are attempting to install a script or get a script working and having troubles.  Even installing an SSL certificate or setting up emails may not go as smoothly as you’d like it to go.

How do you go about getting the most from our customer service?  As many of our customers know, we strive daily to ensure that our customer service is the best that it can be.  We have real people answering real phone calls from 9am – 6pm Central Time.  We also have a 24/7 support helpdesk that we often respond to so quickly that our customers don’t answer back until the next day because they just didn’t think anyone would be answering a ticket at 2 o’clock in the morning.

But what can you do as a customer to ensure the most out of your hosting?

The first thing that you can do is be prepared to offer as much information as possible.  We are more than happy to wait it out with you if you need time to find certain information, but the more you have readily available the faster we can help you with your problem.

On a rare occasion we’ve had customers even create support tickets without supplying any information except the problem.  Ticket: “Our Website is Down, HELP”.  At this point our response is very limited, the customer hasn’t provided their name, their domain name, or any other information that we could use to even find the account.

Naturally, there is this kind of basic information that we need to even begin looking for the root of the problem.  It occurs often enough that my only assumption is that panic has overcome the customer, and so they just immediately send off an email hoping for help.  Best thing you can do is to stay calm, and logically provide all information possible.  If you provide too much information we can just take what we need, and fix the problem.  If you don’t provide enough information, we can’t even proceed until we hear back from you.

Additional information about the problem itself is also helpful

An estimated 80-90% of the problems have occurred because of something that was done immediately before the problem occurred.  For example, sometimes customers choose to install their own SSL certificate.  After installing the SSL certificate they check their website and it’s not working.  Their email works, FTP works, just the HTTP or “web” process is not running.  We’ll immediately get a ticket or a phone call describing the problem.  Naturally, with nothing more to go on than “My Website is Down”, it may take a few extra minutes to find out that there is a problem with the SSL certificate.  In this example, just letting customer service know what happened immediately before the website went down, helps expedite the process of finding out what the problem maybe.  And in this instance we could help properly install the SSL.

Because of the amount of maintenance time and monitoring we put into our servers, a down website due to a major problem on the server or service as a whole is pretty rare.  The majority of the time an issue is contained to just the one hosting account that is having problems, possibly even contained to just the service that is not working properly.  The more information that can be provided in regards to what has happened recently, the faster and more efficiently we will be able to take care of that problem.

So what if I don’t have a problem?  I just need help with my Hosting Account?

We’d be more than happy to assist with this as well.  Many customers will encounter a problem at some point whether it is configuration, scripting, or some sort of issue that doesn’t directly deal with service outage.  Maybe you want to redirect all of your non-www traffic to your www domain name.  Feel free to give us a phone call and we’d be glad to discuss it.

In these instances, it’s best to first describe the actual problem you are trying to solve, not the problem you are encountering with implementing the solution you’ve come up with.  For example, John Smith calls us up because his website is down.  We start taking a look at the problem, and don’t really see a problem, everything is responding properly.  We visit the site, to find that there there is a scripting problem occuring that just returns a blank screen, which to some may look like the site is down or at least not functioning.  Now we take a look at the code being used and we find that there are some redirects in PHP that aren’t coded properly, and ending up in a break.  While trying to help with what would be the proper syntax, John Smith describes to us how he’s trying to redirect all his “mydomain.com” traffic to “www.mydomain.com”.  At this point we explain there is an easier method, we delete all his extra code, add three lines to the .htaccess or the httpd.conf file, presto chango, all finished.

There is always going to be about 101 ways to skin the cat.  Our primary goals are always going to be to make sure to help do it the most efficient method.  Once we understand the actual real problem that needs to be resolved, often we can come up with a better solution.

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