A recent discussion on Web Hosting Talk featured a topic that was quite interesting. A smaller or newer web host asked if cutting the cost to offer support would be a good way to make the business more stable. While initially cutting cost might look good on the balance sheet, the impact to the quality of service and the reputation of a business is a different story. Why?
Well, the answer is fairly easy. If your support response time and quality start suffering, you might lose existing customers and might not gain many new ones if this spreads via word of mouth. Cutting cost and eventually reducing the quality of your support offerings can put you out of business really fast.
Instead it might be more beneficial to change how you offer support and to actually increase your support quality with faster and better responses. Support is a great sales tool. The better and more heroic your support is, the more your reputation among customers will increase. Combine this with great uptime and super features at a low price and you will eventually be able to withstand the tough economy. See it as a way to separate yourself from your competition.
If you pay support technicians on a hourly base you might want to switch to a performance based payment structure. Offer pay based on number of tickets each technician works. Offer a low base salary and combine the 2. Now add a twist and offer a 2-tier structure. If tickets are responded to in a very fast manner and solved within minutes after being opened you could offer a higher pay per ticket. You get the idea. Other ways to reduce support cost is to remove the live chat feature and maybe add a support forum instead. Be creative and always think about the impact a major change could have – short-term and long-term.