In an ongoing effort to improve our service levels, especially response times to support tickets, we have decreased our maximum response time from 6 hours to 3 hours, a drop by 50%. We continuously work hard at achieving our goals and always do our best to be within the maximum response time window. There were however instances during the past year where we have been overloaded with incoming tickets and as a result we might not have met our maximum response time to tickets.

We as a web host continuously grow throughout each year as our subscribers increase. The more customers we have the more it will have a direct impact on our ticket response times. In September this year we started to address this issue due to the outstanding subscriber growth we have experienced during 2010. We implemented a second office located in Durban which is now handling majority of support tickets. With this new office we employed additional staff to accommodate for the increase in subscriber growth.

We have now further increased our team during the past month and we are now confident that we are able to meet a 3 hour response time to support tickets.

There will be occasions in the future that we might not meet this deadline depending on the amount of incoming tickets and the amount of time each support tech has to spend on a ticket. With these various factors that could delay our response times we have created an escalation policy to ensure that your ticket is answered in the quickest manner possible. 

If we don't manage to get to your support ticket within our new 3 hour response time, your ticket will be automatically escalated by our systems, up the queue to an available tech. If for some reason it has still not been answered after a further 3 hours it will then be escalated to our Supervisor whom will personally handle the ticket. 

There are however also other factors that can slow down our response time to a ticket and we want to outline these to you.

1. Unfortunately the way support ticket systems are designed it places the ticket at the end of the queue based on the time it was opened. If for some reason you have forgotten to add a screen shot or additional error message to your original ticket and you reply to this ticket it will once again be placed at the end of the queue. We therefore ask of you not to respond to the original ticket unless necessary where you need to provide additional information that might help us resolve the issue. This will also help us to get to your ticket quicker. 

Some customers believe that replaying to the ticket constantly and in doing so it will speed up our response time, in fact this will not as each time you respond to the ticket you will be placed at the end of the queue. If for instance your support ticket was near the front of the queue and we were 15-30 minutes away from getting to it and you now post an update on the ticket it will mean the ticket will be placed at the back of the queue again. Therefore delaying our response time further as your ticket has to work itself up the queue again.

2. Further to this we often find that customers will open multiple tickets regarding the same problem. We then have multiple tech's working on the same issue and at times it can create quite a bit of confusion amongst the team when an issue has been resolved and a second ticket is still open regarding the same problem. We therefore ask customers not to open multiple tickets regarding the same issue as this also takes time away from other customers and it will therefore slow down the response time to their support tickets. 

3. We also find a handful of customers submitting a support ticket to a department that is not equipped to handle such a query. For instance technical related queries would be submitted to our Billing Department and since they only deal with billing related queries they are not able to assist you with your problem. The time it took for your ticket to be answered and for you to open another ticket with the correct department it will drastically slow down the response time to you. We therefore ask that you submit/email the ticket to the correct department so that we can deal with your problem right from the start.

Our Billing Department as mentioned only handles billing related matters such as payments, service suspensions due to late/non payment, invoice related queries and so forth.

Our Sales Team only handle sales related queries such as providing pricing for a particular service, helping you with ordering the service through our web site or adding an add-on service to your client area.

Our Support Team handles all technical related queries. If you experience any issue with your service such as not being able to send an email or experiencing any technical problem with your service. Our Support Team is equipped to handle such queries from the "I don't know how to setup an email account" to the very technical requiring us to investigate log files on the server etc. Our Support Team is however also equipped to handle basic sales and billing related queries. Often when either department is closed during the night our dedicated support team will handle such queries for you.

4. Lastly but not least, we still deal with a small number of customers that are not submitting their tickets from a registered email address on our systems (your client area email address).

Basically what this means is we have to spend additional time in verifying your details and at times we first need to email you and request your personal details in order for us to track your account on our systems. This drastically slows down our response to your queries and we urge customers to submit/email tickets from your client area email address instead.

If for some reason you don't have access to that email account then you can still submit the ticket directly through your client area and be sure to activate the SMS function in your client area. You will then be SMSed when a staff member has replied to your ticket. You will then be able to follow up on the ticket directly through your client area. If you submit the ticket from an unregistered email address the ticket will not be shown in your client area.

As always we urge customers to provide us with the necessary information when they submit a ticket. This includes but is not limited to service username, detailed report of the problem and any screen shots of error messages that you might receive. This information helps us a lot especially if we respond to the original ticket and don't have to request these details.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

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