Why support is the great differentiator when picking a hosting provider 

Features, capabilities, cost, accessibility and versatility may be tacked onto every solution in the market, but what about support?

In 2019, LinkedIn released a report entitled The Enlightened Tech Buyer. The report asked companies what they looked for when investing in a technology solution and how they finally came down to making a choice in a sea of variables and features. One of the most common answers was “Support”. Buyers want more than just the ultimate solution; they also want flexible support that puts them at the front of the queue when they need help. Whether a large enterprise, a small to medium business or a lone consumer, support is the last great differentiator among a multitude of solutions.

Support really is a competitive differentiator. There’s more than one tale told by a company that has spent a fortune on a cloud solution only to watch the service provider, and the vague promises of support on offer, walk out the proverbial door once the bill is paid and the system implemented. Then the systems fail, there are teething problems, unexpected issues crop up and the company is left on hold – literally. This is why most companies are prioritising support when they consider a service provider and the solutions it has on offer.

In South Africa, customer service can be something of a minefield. Will the phones be answered? Will someone call back? How long will business recovery take? These are not questions that any business should be asking when faced with downtime and, in all likelihood, its own set of irate customers.

With this in mind, what should companies do to ensure they meet their customers’ support expectations?

The first and probably most important step is to invest into omnichannel solutions that are efficient and accessible. From social media to instant messaging to email and phone support – provide customers with channels to your business that they are comfortable with. You can create a blend of platforms that include WhatsApp, Skype, Slack, live chat, email or phone calls, each one clearly highlighted on your website and in all your service level agreements. Ensure that customers know exactly what channels are available and how to access them – if they don’t know that the Slack channel exists, then they won’t use it.

What’s equally important to note here is that if you are going to provide customers with a variety of different support channels, you will need to make sure that they are connected and that the information is shared. For example, if a customer uses email to log a support ticket and then later contacts you via your Slack support channel, ensure that the information from the email support ticket is available to the crew that manage the Slack channel. This goes a long way to minimising customer frustration because they don’t need to explain themselves over and over again. The information is there, the status is updated across all channels and the customer is given reliable and relevant support. Create multiple channels and provide customers with a variety of touchpoints, but don’t treat them as isolated entities.

The next step is to invest into time. Having multiple channels is a great start, but if customers are kept waiting for hours or days, then they won’t be happy.  Make a commitment to waiting times and stick to it – your customers and your reputation will appreciate it.

HOSTAFRICA, one of South Africa’s most trusted cloud service providers, has built a reputation thanks to its fierce commitment to customer service. The company has created a rich omnichannel that includes a ticketing system, Skype, Slack, live chat, email and phone support and that comes with a one-hour response time guarantee – if a customer submits a ticket, they are promised a reply within 60 minutes. HOSTAFRICA’s phone lines are open during traditional working hours, but the company runs a 24/7 monitoring service that allows for customers to get in touch if the emergency takes place after hours. The result is that the company has been consistently voted number one by customers on Hello Peter and has sourced significant organic traffic thanks to brand trust.

HOSTAFRICA has also been instrumental in developing cloud solutions that are priced perfectly for the local market and that offer international cloud server locations. The Host Africa Windows Cloud Servers solution is both cost effective and customisable, so companies can structure their spend based on their need. This is another differentiator in a crowded market, and one that really does offer the smaller company with a flexible and scalable alternative. The company has also created a Covid-19 special offer that gives users 90% off their server every month for the first six months using this code, SAwindowscloud90.

Ranked as South Africa’s most trusted hosting provider, HOSTAFRICA is named after its vision to uplift Africa through cloud technology and outstanding service. The hosting company offers a wide range of affordable VPS and cloud solutions, with servers hosted locally and globally, and website hosting services. Since its inception in 2015, Host Africa has grown to include seven Hosting brands.


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