Outsourcing support… (NEVER!!!)

The trend with many hosting companies now is to outsource support, and in some cases to outsource server administration. I could not disagree more with this attitude. Still other hosting companies will employ people in other countries because of time zone issues to offer 24/7 support. Again, I totally disagree with this type of support.

How can you offer realtime support for something as critical and as complex web hosting if you are not right there to deal with the problem? You HAVE TO be there to know all the little issues that are going on. Direct communication between our developers, administrators, and our support engineers is what facilitates quality support. Most hosting companies can’t/won’t allow their customers to get direct access to administrators to resolve issues. We allow (through our support engineers) to have issues looked at right away when some problems occurs with our customers accounts. This is invaluable, and customers should be able to get this type of support.

Companies that choose to oursource something as critical as technical support and sales clearly falls into one of two categories. A – They are financially strapped and have to do this to remain profitable and operate their business or B – They simply don’t care about their customers, and will sacrifice the customer experience for a few bucks. We are neither!

Thanks,

Matt Heaton / President Bluehost.com

30 Responses to “Outsourcing support… (NEVER!!!)”

  1. Mike says:

    I feel compelled to thrown in my two cents. Apart from agreeing with Matt that oursourcing produces unhappy customers I have to say that Matt has never given me a reason to look for another job. He understands how to treat his customers and his employees and I believe that to be one of the biggest factors for bluehost’s success. Hope to be here a long time.

  2. Fonzo says:

    Glad to see you disagree with the outsourcing trend. Not because I dislike foreign tech support, as I have had good experiences with them, but because I disagree with companies choosing short-term profits over long-term customer satisfaction.

    In addition, playing the “cut-costs to increase profits” game is a dangerous one that most companies don’t win. Glad to see you are not playing.

  3. Caleb says:

    This is great to hear. Even though outsourcing is good for somethings, it is not good for something as complex as webhosting. Booking a flight? Ok I don’t mind speaking with someone 3000 Miles away. I want more info on the Fast MySQL!

  4. Todd says:

    I am totally for outsourcing except when it comes to web hosting. I am glad to hear that Bluehost will not be sourcing that out anytime soon. Cannot wait for Ruby on Rails to show-up in my control panel.

  5. REN JIN LEE says:

    I agree… No money should overpower a Vision or be sold. I’m glad you’re on our side Matt!!! – ren jin lee

  6. sitereviews says:

    outsourcing is a great way to save cost. I know many companies that does that. in fact it is the trend nowsadays. the problem is customer satisfaction… I definitely do not want to speak with someone who do not really know what is going on… good job bluehost.

  7. Joshua Cox says:

    I believe that any sort of outsourcing makes you look incompetent if your customers find out. Look its like this; Outsourcing, especially support, makes a statement that says “I’m willing to sell you this product (or service), but (and we all know what comes after but right?) We really don’t know enough about it to help you with your questions. Therefore we’d like you to talk with (pick a name and one that probably can’t speak your language too good) who will be able to resolve your problem in a timely fashion (Yeah 30 minutes on hold and an hour online trying to translate)”. What a joke. Nope Bluehost you’re doing the right thing. Keep up the good work. I refer all my clients to Bluehost because you’re who I enjoy as a host.

  8. DA says:

    I appreciate Matt’s committment.
    I have to ask about one of the comments left here though.
    Todd, when you say “I am totally for outsourcing” what do you mean precisely?
    “Totally”? Sooo like, the entire American workforce should be in the web-hosting business, and everything else is outsourced? Hmmm, I MUST be misinterpreting your comment, aye? Maybe I’m taking it too literally. Or, maybe you’re posting from one of the 3rd world stink holes where 10 year-olds get paid pennies to make your tennie-runners, perhaps? Sheez, where do they come from.

    DA

  9. edward says:

    .. eeeEEEk!

    I agree that Technical Support & Sales are critical service components. However, I must say that I disagree with Matt on this post. I feel that “Outsourcing” is a critical tactical tool that when implemented properly and timed accordingly, can reap great benefits for both the organization and the customer.

    “Outsourcing” domestically or overseas has helped many great business get through some tough transitional periods. And, Its not necessarily cheaper.

    I have seen many companies “outsource” and still maintain; Quality of support, Speed to a resolution and attain great Response time. Those companies are still able to maintain customer satisfaction and ultimate a higher retention. I suppose that is what it is really all about!

    Now, outsourcing the whole department?.. thats a whole other story.

  10. Magtanggol says:

    yup.. i agree even im working for an outsourcing company.! Well good job matt. thats all i can say…

    your drive to have customer first will make this company more success than it already have… proud to host my site to you guys…

  11. Paul C. says:

    I’ll be honest, I recently had a problem with my two of my websites and emailed support. It has now been over 30 hours and I haven’t heard anything from them…not even an “ok, we’ll look into it” and that is discerning to me. Now I am on the phone waiting on hold for a support rep.
    Phone support may be great, but in a world of email, lets pick up the pace there, shall we?

  12. Allan says:

    One comment about the non-phone support– it seems to take quite a while to get a response, and no matter what the response is, the responder always closes the ticket (even if the content of the message is basically about needing more information). I’m happy to call in if that is the preferred method, but for non-urgent issues (and most of mine are definitely non-urgent), I am happy to use an asynchronous method like opening a ticket. I’d just like to understand what the approach to this channel is for you guys.

    Thanks,
    Allan

  13. Good to see Bluehost is not going to go down the outsourcing path, I see many users complaining on forums etc. about support from various hosts and a common complaint is support that is located in another country where english is not the native tongue, it can be hard enough to convey a problem to support when both parties speak english, let alone when support doesn’t understand you 100% due to language barriers.

  14. Michel Awad says:

    I totally agree that Bluehost.com support is special, positively special, but I also believe there is something very essential missing, Live Chat support, when I first registered to bluehost, from about a year ago, I was glad to see the Live Chat button, even that it was showing but I though that it would be available soon, I understand that the support over the toll free number is more “supporting” in communicating with Bluehost technicians, but when you are living outside USA it may cost me to call the toll free number as much as the whole hosting account costs, anyway I did find the solution lately, which is calling through Skype, you can call there toll free numbers without paying anything, but I think live chat is still essential.

  15. Jim Holley says:

    Matt,

    After my other posts and testimonial, I am glad to hear outsourcing is not in your future, as I have been more than pleased with the people at bluehost that I have had the opportunity to speak with, some have even given me their email addresses for future quick fix and update correspondence. This is unheard of in too many industries, not just in hosting or say airlines (he he) :-).

    As long as I speak to your people at bluehost, not some lacking good communication skills person from who knows where, I will, as will others, be very satisfied to have made the switch to you as my provider.

  16. Matt:

    You’re right on in all fronts. My wife would swear that I wrote the article and put your name on it.

    One item I’d like to add is a quality concept called Root Cause Analysis. This concept seems to elude executives and customer support groups in all industries. That’s why they have so many calls & problems.

    There’s a fair article in CIO magazine this month that states in their survey of top companies that over 40% of customer service problems do not received root cause analysis.

    As a result, they’re domed to keep repeating the same mistates over and over.

    Keep up the great work.

    Charles Burch

  17. You guys,,,,are the Best.Thank You for such a fine service.

  18. Jon Fisher says:

    Bluehost support is truly impeccable. It would seem every support tech I have talked to all shared a common goal as mine being the IT Manager for such an important Non-Profit company and that is “ Identify the problem and create a solution “
    It’s great to know I can talk to a support tech on the same page or level comparable to mine and sometimes even better. Its clear Bluehost support folks are not reading a screen with a database structure elimination process as most outsourced support companies do today. Bluehost support clearly demonstrated a, “I like my job attitude, and I would be ecstatic for you to challenge me with a new problem to solve” I would be honored to work with the Bluehost support Team. I have a little story to share with you and hope you pass it on to both your Support Department and your customers. I have been woking for the York County Food Bank, Inc for 21 years and have implemented a complete inventory and accounting package and the internal network design and installation. After testing the new apple xservers for 6 months we discovered that Linux over Motorola hardware was the most redundant possible server solution and in October of 2001 we decided to host our own web and mail servers with a SMB server to keep our windows clients happy. We upgraded our Verizon Dynamic DSL connection to a Verizon Static IP 1.5/764 DSL connection and life was good. I even started improving my golf game. On Monday March 20, 2006 the Director of the food bank came in my office and asked “ why do have to pay 79.00 a month on our phone bill and 101.00 to verizon internet solutions for our internet connection. My response was not sure, Ill check it out and get back to you. I called Verizon right and Verizon said “ opps we made a mistake and we will remove the dynamic billing from your phone bill and credit you for the last 12 months. AHHH ok so much for the other months being we have been paying the amount since October of 2001…but all is good and no problem. I left for a badly needed vaction and found myself relaxing in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina until the phone rang Friday evening about 5 PM with my boss concerned why he couldn’t get email. With 5 more phone calls before I could even get to my hotel and fire-up the laptop I knew something went down. Turned out Verizon killed both the dynamic account and the static account we had for more then four years. After 3 hours on the phone with several different Verizon support people is was clear Verizon could do NOTHING until Monday. I don’t go and lay down that easy, Website need to be online and accessible 24 hours a day, with none other people to call I thought, lets call bluehost support, maybe they will not be busy and be willing to offer some solution. It was the Best Call anyone could have ever made. Support guy say’s ok Jon your stressed out and you need to relax,have a beer, and lets just think about this. Bluehost tech concluded this my not be the right solution but the fastest way to get the url to resolve is to make a DNS entry to point to a add-on domain which I can add as one of my 5 add-ons at no cost. The Bluehost knew I was 580 miles from the server which had the website on and asked if I happen to have the site on my laptop, I chuckled and said, no my boss will be calling me in the next hour if he cant get his email and I will have to go back. So the Bluehost tech suggested why don’t I just build a simple index page say something like York Food Bank Server Down For Maintenance please stop back soon and then when I get back to York I can upload the website.WOW !! you will do that for me? Id be glad to he responded. I surprised to find the DNS entry, and temp web page was all up and propagated in less then 2 hours. All I had to do now was jet back to York, PA upload the site from our server to the Bluehost Server and establish the new email accounts, and by they way Bluehost did setup a email catch all so the email would at least resolve and I could sort and deliver it later. So here we are March 30, 2006 this big company Verizon still has not restored the food banks service, and Verizon never offered any kind of solution to the problem. Bluehost in my eyes is on the way and it would be my pleasure when I retire from the Food Bank to be a part of such an elite group, well as long as I can work from Myrtle Beach, SC. I know this is wordy, but freely use any of the contents and you can refer any customer to any of the 4 websites hosted by Bluehost.

  19. Ramiro says:

    Sometimes tech support can be given by a third part who also uses the product or service of which he gives support., I think that outsourcing can be applied to web hosting specially for helping to novice users who doesn’t have a lot of experience. In my country i have severals friends who gives excellent support at low cost for EEUU companies :=)

    For this reason I don’t agree totally with Math, except for critical tasks.

    With or without outsourcing is very important to give a quality support, something that is very difficult to find in large corporations for example Google. I’am unable to start an Adwords campain, there is no answer in several days.

  20. michel says:

    You’re right on in all fronts. My wife would swear that I wrote the article and put your name on it.

    One item I’d like to add is a quality concept called Root Cause Analysis. This concept seems to elude executives and customer support groups in all industries. That’s why they have so many calls & problems.

    There’s a fair article in CIO magazine this month that states in their survey of top companies that over 40% of customer service problems do not received root cause analysis.

    As a result, they’re domed to keep repeating the same mistates over and over.

    Keep up the great work.

    Charles Burch

  21. Somewhat Disagree says:

    Technically alot of you really are complaining about “foreigners as support” but what if some-one moves to the U.S.. If he is qualified you wouldn’t hire him becuase he has an accent? Technically you would be discriminating. Nothing is wrong with outsourcing support if they are qualified to handle it. Alot of people love Host Gator and Siteground but they use The Planet servers of which people are complaining on. I didn’t read the every-ones comments because I expected to see Blue Host is the greatest and I so agree. Of course you can’t go by a 12 year old for Hosting Support but I have no problem getting a knowledgeable technician from anywhere in the World to work with me for my site to be fixed. QUALITY Support is needed regardless of where it is from. BobCares is rather expensive to many but alot of people go their, when I think about it OutSourcing is just a less painful process of getting a job filled…price doesn’t matter. One of your staff getting a full course meal isn’t going to make my hosting experience better. I need quality support nothing more.

  22. I agree… No money should overpower a Vision or be sold.

  23. Alric says:

    Well I think not all services can be outsourced, but outsourcing is a good thing for start up and small businesses.

  24. Outsourcing is the best way to save money and time. You can try to outsource many things but not web hosting.

  25. Jack Smith says:

    There is a rapid growth of Outsorcing these days as manufactures try to cut cost and maximize profit.,–

  26. outsourcing is really necessary specially if you want to cut the cost of production.,-”

  27. Tyrone Shum says:

    Great reflection but I totally disagree with you saying that you shouldn’t outsource support. It’s just all about finding the right people to do the job, basically those specialized and trained for it to do the customer support and all technical stuff. Maybe some companies aren’t that suspicious with choosing the right candidates but not all of them failed actually, there are still ones that have successfully “outsourced” providing solutions to clients like you for instance.

    Good luck.

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  29. ADM2 says:

    You guys,,,,are the Best.Thank You for such a fine service.

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