Raising the Support Bar

BWF Hosting
Raising the Support Bar

From our MD – Stephen Kinkaid

When I started Big Wet Fish Hosting our slogan was always ‘We’re Different, We Don’t do things by the Hosting Handbook’ and that is at the forefront of everything we do.  In our Carrickfergus based Office we have a dedicated team of support technicians who have been working hard during normal business hours to support our team.

As the member of the management team who deals with complaints and feedback from clients it’s rare I receive negative feedback when a member of our Carrickfergus team has handled a support issue.  Although I have confidence that our remote contracted technical team have excellent technical skills having this team as our ‘Shop Window’ to clients who just happen to contact us outside of 9-5 is a problem.

Most negative feedback has come over the years from our remote support team handling tickets including:

  • Poor ticket replies.  This mostly is where a remote technician fixes an issue and does not explain how it was fixed or what they did to fix it (clients want to know that) but instead simply saying ‘It’s fixed please have a check’.  In the eyes of many remote staff fixing is the priority (and it rightly should be) but I know as a client I would like to always be given more information.  This is rarely forthcoming from a remote team.
  • Technicians not understanding the problem correctly or using common sense to give the client a solution.  eg Remote technicians waiting for BWF Management to approve something that may seem common sense to a Carrickfergus based staff member where there is no culture of ‘I may get in trouble if I do that’.
  • Delays to support during evenings where issues need escalated.

So what are we doing about this at Big Wet Fish Hosting?  Although we will be keeping our remote help for background tasks (that are not directly client facing) we will be making some changes to our support effective immediately having been planning this move for a while and training our staff appropriately.

24/5 Carrickfergus Based Support
Starting today (1 May 2018) we are moving to 24/5 local support for our clients both on live chat and on support tickets.  We had a dry run last night and the many clients who came on live chat will have had a native English Speaker helping them and looking at the chats we resolved many issues more quickly than would be normal.

More Staff for 24/7 Carrickfergus Based Support?
As a management team we have in our planning the need to recruit more local support staff to train them with our current team and to quickly bring them online to support clients.  We’re therefore planning to move to 24/7 as soon as we can.  Having more staff will also allow us to offer more flexible working (optional for staff).  A number of staff have specifically asked to volunteer for 12 hour shifts to give them more days off for family time (3 on and 4 off plus a half day each month to make it full time). When we move to 24/7 with more staff on board  we’ll likely be able to look to accommodate that flexible working request for those staff.  Everyone wins – clients and our staff who want more flexible shifts!

9am Backlog is no more
No longer will our team at 9am be clearing escalated tickets from the night before.  This will ensure that tickets received at 9am will get a faster average response time than has been happening until now as there is always a backlog at 9am.

Better Handling of Sales Tickets
Although we have a dedicated sales department who work office hours we plan to have our team handle sales tickets round the clock for better response times.  It must be frustrating for new clients asking sales questions and having to wait.  Average response times on sales tickets received after office hours will dramatically increase.

Better Support for our Global Clients
We have clients in 55 countries around the world. Clients in Australia and the USA will no longer always get remote support technicians.  This will be great for them to experience better support from a native English speaking team.

Giving smaller Hosts a true alternative to Remote Technicians
We’ve always sold remote server management and have many clients who rent self managed servers from providers such as Digital Ocean, OVH and others and ask us to manage their servers for them.  In the past we’ve managed support for smaller web hosts where the owner has gone on holiday.  Moving forward we will be able to offer a true alternative to using remote support for smaller web hosts or individuals who need a server managed and prefer totally native English speaking team who work every day doing a similar role at BWF.

Finally I’d invite any client with any support feedback to reach out to me personally and I’d love to hear your views.  Simply open a support ticket and mark it for my personal attention and I’ll be happy to have a chat.

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