How to Evaluate Web Hosting Customer Support Before Signing Up for an Account

Good Customer Support can Make All the Difference

Website hosting is not always easy. Problems will come up, and If your web hosting service does not offer quality customer support, then you may find the experience stressful and frustrating.

That is why you need to be sure of any prospective hosting provider's support system before signing up. Here we have mentioned a few ways to make that happen, along with the value of good customer support in web hosting:

How Important is Customer Support for Web Hosting?

Customer support of a web hosting company does not seem quite so significant initially. But when you run into errors, complications and queries on a daily basis, it turns out to be a pretty big deal. A good web host always makes sure that every member of their support team is fully trained and adequately prepared to guide customers through the intricate processes. Below are the major tasks where you will need help from the customer support team.

How Important is Customer Support for Web Hosting?

Installing new tools

Most web host companies nowadays offer many tools and software systems to streamline your website functionalities. Among the most popular software integrations, there Content Management Systems like WordPress, Joomla, and Magento. Such platforms are indispensable for blogging, eCommerce and many such specialized areas of the web.

Sometimes installing them is not just a button click. So if you lose your way or get stuck, you can just contact the customer support team of that host to find your way back.

Site Errors and Malfunctions

Every website can fall victim to unforeseen errors and malfunctions. Not all site owners have technical experts on their team. Besides, the server infrastructure varies from host to host. Even if you have some prior experience in hosting or server management, the new host you have moved on to might not have any common feature.

This is where the customer support representatives can come in and get your website out of the mess. The hosting company usually trains them to resolve such situations in a matter of minutes. So if you let them take over the situation, they can show a way out faster.

Web Hosting Upgrades

Sometimes, our website exceeds our expectation and grows a lot faster than we estimated. In such cases, it ends up demanding more resources than the allocated amount to handle the extra traffic and workload.

You can then seek help from the customer support members to upgrade these resources. They will let you know which packages can provide the required amount of resources and how much each cost. They will also guide you through the plan upgrades so that your website does not suffer from any data loss.

Metrics for Customer Support Evaluation

It is hard to evaluate customer support until you face some real trouble and contact them. However, we have dared to still come up with a few metrics to measure the grade of web host customer support. You can take a cue from here and then run your own research on the specified aspects:

1. Response Time

Response time simply refers to how long the support team took to respond to your call for help. Having a standard response time is completely non-negotiable while choosing your web host. One can only wait so long when their dream site has hit a roadblock and there is no way to get out. So the customer support personnel must be on standby and ready to pick the call up.

Emails take much longer to generate a response from the other side. So check if your desired host has phone or live chat options. There can also be different response times set for different severity levels (of the issue). This may guarantee that you will get a prompt response when your website’s life is in danger, but it can also mean that on all other occasions you will have to wait more than a few hours. Generally, the response time should be below 10 minutes, but whatever floats your boat, go for it.

2. Resolution Time

Be it a website catering to thousands of visitors worldwide (like an e-commerce platform) or just a simple one where a creative individual showcases his/her masterpiece, the site will definitely run into some problems. And resolving any issue related to websites should not take too long since every second can be critical if your website is down or your email doesn't work.

Customers can leave your site with a poor first impression if they don’t find it loading properly. Especially in the case of e-commerce hosting, the longest they will wait is two seconds. When the threshold is so sensitive, you definitely wouldn’t want to take risks by investing in a hosting company that takes too long to solve a problem.

Of course, website issues can occur at multiple levels of severity and the resolution time will vary accordingly. But taking more than 24 hours for resolution just doesn’t cut it.

3. Method of Contact

Although emailing is the most common form of contacting support, we prefer the following three methods more. That is because these generate a much faster response and thus allows a proactive solution to the problem:

a. Phone Support

This is the fastest way to get to the support team. There is no need to wait for a reply message or email. You can talk to them in real-time and explain your issue with as many details as possible. Hence, this generally leads to a fruitful conversation and takes the solution process forward.

b. Live Chat

For people who like to handle multiple tasks at once, live chat may seem to be the best option. Because this lets you seek support from the dedicated personnel and continue other initiatives for your business at the same time. All the leading web hosts typically exhibit excellent response times for a live chat. While this is generally slower than phone calls, it also keeps your conversation safe from misheard or overlapping words.

c. Trouble Ticket System

Almost all web hosting services offer the opportunity to "open a ticket" to request support. The hosting service then ranks the issue based on severity then addresses the problem. Opening a ticket is a great option, especially for less urgent issues or questions, and in situations where you don't have time to chat with or call support.

4. Knowledge Base

Many questions can be answered by searching the hosting service's knowledge base. The best web hosting services' update their knowledge bases constantly, adding solutions to problems that support encounters as they interact with customers.

A good knowledge base makes it unnecessary to contact customer support for most issues, enabling you to resolve the issue quickly. Choose a hosting service that offers a strong Knowledge Base.

5. Social Media Presence

Your host must be present on at least one of the major social media platforms. It can be Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or all of them. They are an easy way to connect with the hosting company representatives. Many companies are lagging behind in this respect but the leading ones already have a strong appearance in the social media and they maintain an active account with relevant posts.

6. Guarantees

Many hosting companies offer helpful guarantees like a 99.99% uptime guarantee or 14 days’ money-back guarantee. Of course, just putting up the guarantee on their official site is not enough, they have to be capable of delivering on their promises. You can know if they do justice to their claims from reading web hosting reviews.

Make sure any guarantees (e.g., uptime guarantees) are backed by a strong Web Hosting Service Level Agreement (SLA).

7. Proficiency of Staff

Undoubtedly, the expertise level of the customer support staff matters. If they respond instantly to your queries but can’t provide the required information, their response time is as good as infinity. It helps if the hosting company mentions their support proficiency level or designation on their website. Some companies provide training to these representatives themselves to ensure customer pleasure.

The Reality Check

Now that we know what to look for in a hosting company to evaluate its customer support, let’s find out how to get a reality check on the support’s actual condition:

Customer Reviews

The first thing that comes to anyone’s mind while looking for some solid evidence on the web host’s performance is their web hosting reviews. It's a good idea not to make decisions based on one or two glowing reviews or based on a review by a customer who had a bad experience. Read a number of reviews to get as full a picture as you can.

Ask Questions Live

While browsing through the official website of the hosting company, ask some questions to their live chat support right then and there. This will allow you to see first-hand if the support people are trained enough and how long they take to respond.

Try to ask some questions. Even if customer support won't answer questions from a non-customer, you can at least learn how responsive their support is.

Call Customer Support

Make a call to their designated customer service number at odd hours to see their reaction. Firstly, see how long you have to wait to speak to someone. Then note the support reps' tone of voice, and eagerness to help you. Try to ask some questions. Many customer support representatives aren't allowed to answer questions from non-customers, so don't hold that against them. At this point, you're mostly trying to get a feel for the responsiveness and friendliness of the support team.

Test Email

If email is the only option the web host provides, send them a generic query email as a test. The results will be most effective if you send it at an unusual hour (like the phone call) like 3 am or Sunday morning. Take a mental note of their response time. If more than 24 hours goes by without a response, then that's not a good sign.

So you can see how massively a good customer support system can enhance your website performance and hosting experience. Now that you know all the tips, tricks and metrics to evaluate the customer support quality of a web hosting company, it will be easier for you to choose the best web hosting service.

 

Patricia Eldridge Patricia is a tech and business blogger. She is a single mother writing full time to support her kids. She is an animal rights activists who also believe that there is a special place in hell for people who put pineapple on pizza. She is a professional writer with over six years experience.

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"How to Evaluate Web Hosting Customer Support Before Signing Up for an Account"

How to Evaluate Web Hosting Customer Support Before Signing Up for an Account