I came from a technical background, was a programmer, then become interested in unix operating systems, before I know it I have started my own small web hosting company. As time passed by, I learned that my “hobby” alone is far from sufficient to provide “services” to “customers”. Then I started to setup a small office, hired some of my own friends from college and co-workers when I was a programmer to help me in customer service and support. It worked pretty well, we were able to service our little customer base.
As time pass by, even that is not sufficient. Things gets much more serious, it’s more than a hobby and “fun” now, it’s business, and people’s businesses is also “on the line”, they count on our services to provide really good “corporate” services. Then I started to assemble our team of “management” which over the years has evolved quite significantly. I did not immediately hired some “top notch hot shots management people”, but it started from people I know, people of “good integrity”, who are my friends. We “were” all lack of experience in management, but the way it came out now, they are all became a really good high quality managers and leaders. Just amazing.
Working with “people” if I might say is 100 times harder than working with “machines”. That goes internally – working with our own team, and externally – working with customers. You can not “predict” people; they’re just “people” – created in the image of God – Himself. Oops I’m starting to get deep now haha. Back to the topic. So, when it comes to working with people it takes a lot of factor if you want to us together to “flourish”. We have to be able to “get to them”. So we can “click”. What are their concerns, what things they value most, and so many factor. When we can really relate to them, understand how they are feeling and simply be able to put our self in their shoes, and then people will be able to appreciate you and actually be able to work together with a team. It’s a very complex and delicate situation when we are in the people’s business or in other words customer service business. We have to be able to work both internally with our entire team, and externally with the customers it self.
We have already started to implement so many things to improve our customer service level. As I said above, it is not easy, because what I want is “excellence”, not just average. We have begun compiling classes or courses for our entire team to enroll; it’s like back in college. Our team is required to enroll every class available and have to pass the various exams which we compile ourselves. Starting from the basic subjects such as how to interact with various customers attitudes to how to solve or troubleshoot complex server issues. The very main point is, whatever the customer issues are, our staff has to be able to “know in their head”, what they have to do to fix the issue. Even if the operator does not have access to fix it on the spot, but at least he/she knows who exactly can fix it on the spot. So there will be only one time escalation within the team, and when it got escalated, it will get escalated to the right person, and that person has to be able to fix the issue right on the spot.
That’s just one factor, we have so many other things going on, which I can not lay it out here, it’ll become a book if I do Okay, it is an on-going effort, but I can assure you Host Department is not all about “machines”, we are all about people now. Behind the name Host Department are so many people which over the period of time – which I hope by this year, we will be a people of integrity and totally professional. What I simply want to achieve is whenever “we” say something, you can count on it that we will deliver.
This will be implemented into the hearts of our entire team – “All you need to say is simply ‘Yes,’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one” – Matthew 5:37. When our staff say “yes” but it is not being done, our customers have the right to report this directly to his/her supervisor (you will have access to this), and immediately this staff will get a formal written warning. If he/she gets three warnings, the fourth one will be a letter of termination from our management. That’s how serious we are in implementing and improving our customer service. Without you our customers, we simply do not exist.
When we have achieved total satisfaction in our customer service deliverance, and can put a big smile to it, we are going to the next level. That is to provide even more superb customer service levels for customers who needs it, business critical customers. We will provide an option for business critical customers to “purchase” a new level of customer support. With this support level, customers will not be in a queue when they are chatting, submitting tickets, or calling. They will be put on a special line so their queue time will not exceed more than 1 minute. But the down side is they have to buy this kind of service level, because we can not simply provide this kind of service level to our entire customer base with the price we have now. The price for the support is not determined yet, but it “may” even exceed the price of the hosting plan itself. But we’re still calculating what the reasonable price is.
Exciting news for our resellers, we will be opening a system where our entire team will be able to service our reseller’s end customers directly. Reseller’s customers will not know that they are being serviced by us, they will see that they are being serviced by the reseller company. It will be totally branded by the reseller’s company. Now of course, this won’t be suitable for all resellers. If you are a reseller and only have 2 customers at the moment, it does not even make sense to purchase this, yes resellers have to purchase the “support”. It will be a “flat per month rate – per customer”. We are thinking of $1/Month per number of account resellers have under their account. So, for example if a reseller has 50 accounts, and they want to opt in to this system, where we totally support their end customers, this reseller will get another billing of $50/Month – that is $1/Month for each account under the main reseller. These way bigger resellers can focus on marketing their business and growth, while we focus on providing support to their end customers.
Of course we can launch the two type of paid support when we are 1000% confident that we won’t be overwhelmed and we can surely deliver them. If we have even 1% of hesitation, I will not launch it just yet.
In the long run – now this is exciting! When we get the hang of it, my “dream” which I hopefully accomplish not so long from now, that we will support multiple languages to our customer service support line. So, non English speaker can feel comfortable in contacting us, knowing that we will work with them in their native language!
That’s the update for now – thanks for dropping by!
-Jimmy R Tanzil