Why support should be top priority to retain customers | Running your SaaS business

Michael:

All right, I’m Michael. He’s Abdul here we’re back again talking about bionic WP. Today we’re going to talk about why support should be the top priority for a hosting provider to retain customers. This is a sensitive topic. Because this is all I believe, I truly believe there’s not a lot of difference between hosting providers especially. No offense, other hosting providers, one’s not providing the level of speed and things that we’re doing right. But there’s just not a lot so service is one of those things not a lot of between agencies service if if people are doing work right, the results that they get are all pretty similar right 51 blocks gets between 20 and 40% growth year over year. However, when you actually doing SEO work. That’s what you get, right? That’s the type of results you get. So what what on top of that? Can you do to separate yourself and I’m a huge believer in service. And trust me when I go to some restaurants and I don’t get the best service, I’m not the nicest person. But on the flip side, like if I go to the hardware store, and I have amazing service is to talk to the manager and say, Hey, this person did an amazing job, right? Because I think as business owners, we need to know those things. We need to know when they have great service, you know, when they have bad service both ways, right? And that’s why getting video testimonials and those types of things are important. For service you could tell them I’m passionate about that Yeti even asked him what he thinks about this. But so why don’t we Why don’t you go ahead and talk us why why should that be the top priority for hosting providers and why isn’t it for hosting providers?

Abdul:

Yep, I think like you mentioned like it is a sensitive topic. And I think all of us if you have a website, if you have a professional agency, you develop websites or even if you have your own blog, have your own website ecommerce something and you’ve been doing it for a few years, you would have some horror stories with hosting companies I am yet to find a person who has been doing or hosting a site for a few years. And it doesn’t have both Korean stories, especially from the like me like like the big hosting companies I that’s the kind of global mega, all those hosting companies that are there. Not everyone has some horror stories with them. So I think for hosting support is important because when hosting works, you don’t need support. It’s working your website, it’s fine. You don’t need support, you actually only need support when something goes wrong, right. So you already your emotions are already high. You already frustrated. You already like maybe you’re losing business, maybe you’re an e commerce store. If you are an e commerce store, every hour that your site is down if you get good traffic, you’re losing money. Or if you’re an agency and your clients websites around you are at the risk of losing the clients business. So you already like when something has gone wrong. You’re already frustrated, right? You already not in a very good mood, you want your problem fixed. And then if you hit a kind of a support wall, which later you hit a boy and like, You’re not listening if the person is not understanding or you cannot get in touch with support, that’s when things like that where like, even if it’s a small problem, if it’s a small mistake when support people it just gets expanded because of the environment that you need support and for hosting, right? Like you only need it once when it’s not working. So at that time, I think it’s very important for hosting company then there are some very good hosting companies that do take their support seriously, but most of them if you look at like most of them, support is like an afterthought. That’s what I’ve always said as a customer to them that support is an afterthought.

Michael:

Do you think that is

Abdul:

I think once you and not just with hosting like I’ve seen this with because I do like if you listen to Michael, like make joking about me, I do use a lot of software, right. So I think I’ve seen this with almost every company that They use that if support wasn’t like their priority from day one, it never becomes a priority. Right? But because what happens is when you have a very few number of customers, even if support is not your priority, you don’t have a lot of customers so you can easily support them. But because it was not in top of your mind or not your top priority, when the number of customers start growing, you don’t have the systems or you don’t even have the kind of the bill to kind of make sure that your support metrics are like you’re tracking them, you’re making sure your customers are happy, things like that. Right. So and then with support. The problem is that once you lose it, like once you get to a certain point, like let’s say you reach a hosting company to send 20,000 customers and you’ve already lost it on support. It’s very, very, very difficult to because it’s very hard to scale support support. Scaling support is one of the biggest challenges that many support oriented companies will face especially if they have technical support. Because getting
technical support we’re trying to provide right which is more than the support that most aid most hosting providers All right.
So it’s very hard to scale that. And if you are like in a battle of time there, where you where you’re getting hammered every day, and your support is not good, it’s not then what will happen, you will start getting anyone you can to fill in the gaps, then people get frustrated even more, because then the person that they get into doesn’t understand what they’re doing. So like, it’s like, that kind of just creates a problem because I don’t I don’t know about even like when I look at support a hosting company I need like, you also have your very big share with me. And so I think you can let me know if I’m right. But the thing is that there are two types of problems that come into support right, especially with hosting companies. Either you get to get support, and you don’t have like you’re not able to read support, you want to get some help you either there’s no live chat or there’s tickets so then the tickets take hours and hours to get responded to. Either you have that problem. Or you have a problem and you get in touch with someone on support and they don’t understand what you want. Like they they are like their skill level is so down that they not an ordinary language skills, technical skills are so down that they’re not understanding what you’re trying to tell them. But I think that these are two types of problems that you face when you reach out to hosting companies. What do you think?

Michael:

Yeah, I mean, I think the biggest problems I feel like with small like you find a hosting provider, that’s good. They’re usually pretty small. That’s what I’ve, that’s what I’ve noticed. And then you identify with somebody, right? Or any product for the people we’ve used even Bobby right. Then all of a sudden, that person is not reachable anymore and that’s who you only want to talk to because and that’s what we’re gonna run into right I’m already having issues or anxiety in my mind around why is to talk to Michael and Abdul right, like that’s

Abdul:

what’s gonna happen is happening because I have died noticing that in support emails that come in people directly, I think I have to, right so I am already noticing that and this is something that we will have to kind of tackle But definitely like, this is a problem, right that this happens, and you’re also having this problem with some of our providers. Yeah,

Michael:

yeah. And that’s, and I think, like, I remember when I was with liquid web, which I think at that time was a big company, but they did a great job number, the her raw support that they have, which was a great term because it was you would write in, and you would get answers within 15 minutes. And they were right. Right. Like, that’s why I was with them for so long. And then they don’t know if they got purchased by godaddy or somebody. Something different happen there. Were now support is not the same anymore, right? And there was only one person I would talk to over there and I’d wait till he came in. Right like Joseph, what’s his name? Waiting for Joseph Joseph? Nope. Okay. I’ll call back once this next shift. Okay, I’ll call back. Right? And I just wait to deal with those issues with him because you don’t trust anybody else because the level of support and knowledge just isn’t there. Right. So I think it’s interesting to me that like Another another place I went was cloud ways, right? I went to cloud ways. And at first, the support was really good. And then they I don’t know if they got too big or whatever. And obviously, I don’t need you to talk about it, because you had some inside knowledge on that. But that was my experience from the outside. Right. I, at first, I was like, Oh, this is pretty good. I mean, they’re not US based, right? support which, okay, people in the US have issues with that at some some levels, right. But then they, they’re answering my questions. I’m fine with that. Okay, so cool. And then that changed, where they weren’t answering my questions. And queue times were very long, right. I couldn’t talk to somebody for 20 minutes on chat. And then I think there was a time there wasn’t even chat. He had to like, wait in a different queue unless you were at a certain level or something like that. I don’t even know. But then I was like, Okay, I’m done. Then we move to a company called Iowa zoom. That had one guy that I found knew what he was talking about. His name was Prince, right. And I knew that talked to him every time to get things done. And that was tough because it just it’s not You got to have a scalable system. Even if the people don’t understand it, they have to be able to know how to use the tools to get things done. And that’s the problem. Yep, I think we see. And it’s surprising to me that and maybe it’s just because it’s an impossible thing to scale. And I think we’ll run into it. And will, you’ve had experience with it before. So you’ll see before I do so, and I don’t know, what do you think about that?

Abdul:

And I think that’s why that is what we said that we have like, we have started talking about support right now, even when we take on a very early stage of developing the product, I am like kind of having this discussion with you on support because support is a problem that we always have to get ahead of like, if if, if you have to spend some like extra money on benching people, bench them because if you know the demand is coming if you know that, okay, right now we have, let’s say, five support people. And we are adding 200 sites a month 100 sites a month we had 100 sites a month we have five people that we know they will be out of capacity in two months. So we need to make sure that we hire the person that needed two months now, because with support, the problem is that there is a big learning curve because support, you don’t find it. Normally you don’t find good developers who are willing to do customer support, you find people who are very fresh work, who don’t have a lot of experience. So you have to train them. You have to train them in customer service, and you have to create them in the technical skills that they need. And then another focus that I think a lot of companies don’t do on is tools like that. That is one thing that we are focusing on in our platform, this from the start, like I’m talking to the platform guys, I’m talking to the DevOps guys, that I would need tools, which help or custom like our support agents kind of get into problems faster like so they can get into problems. If someone comes on chat, and he has he needs help. They’re number one, we shouldn’t be our we will be investing a lot in the knowledge base. We’ll be working with a technical team making sure that our knowledge base is really good. And most of the products as the features get developed. knowledgebase articles get developed for that. So people And know how they can actually use that feature. And then after that, when it comes to chat, there are tools that we can build that can like kind of give people quick tech support quick access to their server to the configuration. Because normally what I’ve seen happens as people come to you, when they have SSL issues, they come to you, when the website is slow. They come to you when their website is not loading, stuff like that. So kind of thinking how, how can we develop tools that can be used quickly by the support agents or the support people to kind of pinpoint the issue, right, that they can get the issue pinpointed so that it can get fixed quickly. So kind of that’s where a term bionic comes from. So bionic deputy, like I think we’ve discussed that. The idea is to giving, augmenting or normal human capabilities, right, enhancing a normal human capabilities. So we are trying to do that for our clients with performance based hosting. And we are also trying to do that internally for support people or team as well, giving them the tools, the things that they need to kind of give good service. So I think for hosting company, it’s a matter of both like, they don’t keep scaling the support team as the client. Because if you are growing, if your clients are coming, you have to kind of preempt where you will be six months down the line, and you have to plan support from now for six months down the line, right? You’re not like, oh, once we once we these that customers, then we’ll hire more support people, you will, yeah, that’s like a strategy that will fail, because you won’t have enough support people, you will have a lot of load. So that’s what will happen that your people, your customers will wait in chat for 20 minutes, because already your customer support is overloaded with the numbers that they have. And then the problem will come because when you try to shrink that the whole chat time is 20 minutes, let’s get five more people. The Five, four people that you don’t work with, they’re not trained, they haven’t gone through the process, they don’t understand your platform. So now that even more frustrating thing will happen, that a person will wait for 10 minutes instead of 20. They’ll wait for 10 minutes to get in touch with someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about. So they That kind of just aggravates the problem further, right. So I think support is a very difficult thing to scale into. And so it’s something that you have to start thinking of now, rather than when you hit that problem.

Michael:

Yeah. And you mentioned knowledge base. And you and I have had conversations around this, right? How I’m not a huge fan of knowledge bases, because I don’t use them, right. I want to talk to somebody and I want to answer and that’s the, like, what we got to figure out how to balance right is, I think our knowledge base is going to end up being used by our internal team more than it will be by external people. But we’ll see the type of usability and like you said, intercom, puts it right in there. So that sort of right in your face, so maybe they have to use it. But I want my issue solved, not go read about something. But sometimes you have to do that. Right. And I think that’s to your point. I think it’ll be interesting to see how we try to solve this problem. Once it starts happening. We’re trying to prepare for it. But kind of like this whole thing. We don’t you don’t know until you’re in the moment of what you need. To do and we’re trying to already hire people for support, additional support people, because we don’t need them yet necessarily, but we will need them based on where we’re going.

Abdul:

So I think of any knowledge base if the thing is that, when it’s a problem, when you have a problem, and you want that problem fix, definitely you need support, and you read the chat people or the ticket, whatever method you’re using to contact support to get that problem solved. But then there are so many features that our platform has for that the idea is to have knowledge bases. Okay, how can I set up? How can I set up caching? How can I set up special rules on caching, so now for that you can come to support but as you want to set up the rules, support can’t do that for you. So that’s where the knowledge base comes in. Okay? This is how you set up new rules, okay, you want to do this, this is how you do this. If it’s a critical problem, it’s a problem with the site if you need if there’s a problem that needs to be solved. That’s where the support comes in. But if it’s a feature that you want to use, right, if it’s a feature of the platform that you want to kind of How to set up a staging site. Right now. Okay, that’s, that’s a feature that is in itself, how to push staging site live, like if you have you have made changes on a staging site, how can you push that line? Now, this is not a problem, right? It’s not a problem that you can come into chat and ask them to do it. That’s where you need to understand how the feature works. That’s where we will push knowledge bases. But definitely like, for us support is something that would be like, we want to try to say no as minimum as possible in the company, like, if it’s really something that really is really, really out of scope, that’s when we will say, Okay, this is something your developer need to look at, or something but then even in that, which, okay, this is what you need to look at is not just that, Oh, we don’t know this problem. Go figure it out. We have to tell them that this is the problem. This is where things are getting stuck this particular customized plugin, this line of code, this piece of code, this function file, this team file, this is where things are getting stuck, things are getting slow. Please ask your developer to look at that because it’s not the You don’t want to solve those issues. The problem is that when you have customized code, we all know the code, or team doesn’t know the code, how its coded how things are there. So even if you want to help you, we can’t help you in that, because that is where your developer has to come in, by instead of just saying, not a problem, go figure it out, we’ll try to see, okay, that’s where the tools come in. That’s where we want to develop tools where they can even like Eventually, the idea is that you don’t even need to come to support to identify those issues, or a bot, which we will call the bionic bot or whatever you want to call it. That would be the one that will be giving you all that information that you have this WordPress site, ecommerce site, these five queries are getting slow, please look at them. So giving you that information before they become a problem. So you can get them exactly the idea right? That’s where we want to involve some AI so machine learning, which constantly monitoring your website. every visitor that’s coming in is kind of your system is being monitored. Any choke points that are coming in you’re, you’re being told beforehand that this is something if you get more traffic that’s gonna become a choke point for you please get this fixed.

Michael:

Yeah, and I think you’re I mean, I think the coolest thing out of doing this video today is it helped clarify me. For me, hey, if you need a feature, use the US to support us the knowledge base because that is already laid out perfectly instead of asking us how to do it. But if you actually have a problem, yeah, that’s what you need to talk to somebody here. And I think that will help reduce our load of chat requests. And I will feel comfortable. I think that’s fair. Because what I’m thinking is if I came to somebody and said, Hey, I want the launch a new site cool. Go here. Here’s a step by step. Yeah. Boom, now they’re off going to do it. So it’d be like, hey, okay, now click on this. Did you click on it? Yep. Okay, now do the right where, hey, SSL is not issuing for the site. Why? Yeah,

Abdul:

that’s, that’s a problem. Okay, later next, address the next stage in Lake okay. If you are how to create a staging website, you have a knowledge base. You can follow the All step by step instructions. Let’s say you fixed you take some changes in the not in the staging site. And now you go to the knowledge base, it’s okay to push them lines, click here, you push it, it doesn’t work. It’s not pushing things like, that’s when that’s where support has to come in. And that’s where support has to come in and fix the problem. So I think that’s the kind of distinction that is there.

Michael:

Exactly. I agree. Cool. Well, I think we talked, you know, we could probably talk about this at length for both of us because it is something we’re both very passionate about. And what we’re kind of basing this on. Obviously, we want to have a great product. But if you actually look at any of our testimonials, I’d say 90% of them, talk very little about the site speed, and talk mostly about the customer support that they get from hosting.

Abdul:

That’s what that’s why I kind of named this topic retention of customers because that’s how we look at it like speed performance. If you’re if you’re a hosting provider, if you’re any provider, any fast anything. The features that you provide are how you get the foot in the door, how you get the customer for us that features, our performance, our focus on performance, like we are much more focused on performance than other hosting companies. So that’s what gets us into the door. That’s what gets the customer in. And that’s where every fact whenever you get in because of the features, but you stay because of the service, right? That if he if we were getting really good performance scores, but we were getting really bad sub support, right?

Michael:

I doubt that everyone frustrated for sure.

Abdul:

Yeah. They say, Okay, you guys are good. You do what you do good, but you guys don’t support it. So I doubt that we will have the retention rate that we have right now. Even with the same number of performance optimizations scores that you get, if we weren’t giving good support for customers, I think come from your service come for your kind of features, but this pay for your service and it’s true a lot for hosting companies as well. Because like many things, right, like anything kind of that you use, you need To get into scratch with hosting support when things go wrong, right? So that’s where customers and like I said at the start already frustrated and if they don’t get the right level of support, it’s it’s a win win, like you said at the start, like there’s not much of a difference when you compare two hosting companies. So if there’s another competitor of yours, giving better service, better customer service at a very similar or even if at a slightly higher price point, people do leave for service because they’re going to get frustrated.

Michael:

Yep, I think that’s true. And and I’ve talked to people that love their hosting provider and don’t want to leave Well, okay, like so there are some people that feel like they found a good solution that need to stay there and, and do that I would challenge them to say, hey, try us out and see if they think they have better support than what we’re providing but to each their own right. So that’s why we that’s why we think support should be the top priority, why we’re planning for it or trying to right we’re trying to hire some additional people. So that we’re prepared for the growth that we’re currently seeing or what we think we could see. So, yeah, I think that wraps it up on the customer support. He’s Abdul, I’m Michael. bionic WP, have a great day.

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