Offering basic, 5 day support to clients on your WordPress maintenance plans is no longer sufficient. In this article, I’ll explain how to provide 24/7 support so that your clients receive the best possible service.
24/7 support is no longer something that only the biggest companies with the largest resources can do.
We can connect with and begin building relationships with pretty much anyone around the world in just a few clicks now.
And when it comes to website support, it might be the difference between you winning and not winning a client.
Clients care a lot about their website.
It’s often the driver of the majority of their new business and it represents them day in day out.
Therefore, when it comes to support, they really don’t want to wait days for your reply.
If they raise an issue on Friday at 9pm, it can’t wait until Monday at 9am.
That isn’t good enough.
And in this article, I’m going to show you how to provide 24/7 support.
It’s perfectly possible and it doesn’t mean you’re going to be handling support requests on a Saturday afternoon!
Benefits of offering 24/7 support
First, let’s take a quick look at some of the benefits of offering 24/7 support to website maintenance clients.
#1 Clients know they can always reach you
This is such a powerful feeling for clients to have.
They know, whenever there’s an issue on their website or something needs doing urgently, they can contact you.
They’ve got the confidence that no matter what time of the day it is, your team is on hand to help them.
Providing quick, round the clock support like this will blow your competition away.
#2 You can attract and service overseas clients
It’s never been easier to attract clients from other countries.
With the right marketing and advertising strategy, you can specifically target businesses wherever they are.
New York? Los Angeles? Sydney? London?
Attracting them is only part of the puzzle of course.
Servicing them is the next part.
If you’re not able to offer 24/7 support, then you’ll get support requests in the middle of the night that go unattended for hours.
If you do offer 24/7 support however, it doesn’t matter where in the world your clients are, you’ll always have someone available to help them.
#3 You can charge more
24/7 support is a serious benefit to your clients.
It’s quite likely that your competitors don’t currently offer this.
Therefore, it’s a great USP.
Low or cheap prices are not!
And for great USPs, you can charge more.
Get those profit margins higher, increase lifetime value (better servicing offering, higher revenue and margins) and experience significant business growth.
So, there’s a few benefits for offering it.
Now let’s take a look at how to provide 24/7 support:
This possibly goes without saying but it is crucial.
Hiring from overseas is the only realistic way to truly offer 24/7 support.
The good news is, it’s easier than ever to find new team members from overseas.
The trick is to make sure your team covers enough major timezones to make it possible.
Let’s say you’re in London and you have clients in California and Singapore.
As California is 8 hours behind London and Singapore 8 hours ahead, you’d want to make sure that those clients are getting the support they need when London is asleep.
So, where’s 8 hours ahead of London?
The Far East.
It’s also the same (pretty much) timezone as Singapore.
There are loads of great resources for hiring talent from The Far East.
Use the tools available on those websites for helping you source the right team members and you’ll have covered off supporting California and SIngapore.
Hiring from The Far East also means cheaper labour costs.
It does not mean lower quality work.
I’ve worked with loads of web developers over the years and some of the best have been from The Far East.
The technical WordPress skills are of course a given for the job, they have to be there and there are ways of testing potential employees on their knowledge.
Aside from that, the key is communication.
Again, test this thoroughly before you offer the job.
Have lots of back and forth emails with candidates, asking lots of questions.
The right ones will continue to respond promptly and in detail.
The wrong ones will either:
- Give clearly copy/paste answers
- Give very short answers
- Not reply
Stick with the process and once they’re hired, have regular catch up meetings and use tools like Slack for efficient internal communication.
Use a support ticket system
Handling support requests from clients is a huge part of the job when it comes to website maintenance.
In my opinion, email just doesn’t cut it anymore.
There are too many ways for email to create a frustrating, disjointed and all round bad experience for your clients.
You have to use a support ticket system.
Here’s 5 reasons:
- Everything will be easier to track
- Your client will get the service they deserve
- It’s better for team collaboration
- Clients can set priority levels
- You’ll find it easier sticking to your SLA
And it’s that 3rd reason above that’s so crucial for 24/7 support.
Let’s say you have 100 websites under management.
That’s a fair amount of support tickets you’ll be getting from clients.
An email inbox would be a nightmare to manage in a team.
Trust me, I’ve been there!
With a support ticket system however, everyone is in the picture, all the time.
Each action will be recorded against a team member’s name and account managers can assign tickets to certain developers, depending on skill set required for the issue and the clients being looked after.
It’s also much easier to onboard new team members.
Everything will be documented in terms of how to use the support ticket system and a full historical record of interactions will be available for every client at the click of a button.
Good luck finding all that in an email inbox – no thanks.
Create solid processes
Processes are vital for teams to work together efficiently.
Without them, time will be needlessly wasted, eating into your profit margins and mistakes will be made that could have been avoided.
And when you have team members in different parts of the world, some working while others are asleep, processes become even more important.
They’ll reduce the need for one team member to ask another how something is done.
That person will simply access the company’s wiki, find the relevant process and follow the steps required to complete the task.
If you haven’t created processes yet for your website maintenance service, here’s a few ideas.
You can also get into the habit of creating a new process each time a particular problem is solved.
That way, the next time it arises, and you know it will, your team can just bring up the process instead of spending another 30 minutes Googling for the answer.
I’d highly recommend getting some kind of regular social event in the calendar for your global team (sounds pretty cool doesn’t it).
When you’re spread out across the world, you obviously can’t just nip to the pub together on a Thursday evening.
So you need to get more creative.
Clearly, video calls are the way to go.
Whether they’re regular Friday afternoon things or monthly instead, make sure they’re part of the setup.
Your team can learn about each other’s cultures and share experiences to inspire one another.
Document it all and share photos, videos and write ups on your social media channels to engage your audience.
The positive outcomes from this are endless!
In addition to video calls, if you have the budget, consider some kind of in-person meet up once or twice a year in a cool location.
Your team will LOVE this and it’ll make for an awesome culture that more people will want to be part of.
The right software
I touched on software when I mentioned using a support ticket system earlier in this article.
Using the right software cannot be understated.
It’ll save time, make the experience slicker for your clients and keep your team nice and efficient.
Clearly, if you’re offering WordPress website maintenance, you need a modern WordPress management app to help you look after all your clients’ websites.
Don’t settle for those that only focus on technical features while completely overlooking the client experience.
In the end, the only experience that matters, is that of your client.
So bear that in mind you’re choosing your WordPress management app.
You’ll also need software to aid internal communication.
I talked about Slack earlier and you can also use apps like Zoom for video calls with colleagues and clients.
Paying team members in other parts of the world is another feature of a 24/7 service offering.
At Glow, we use Wise.
It’s dead easy to use and the charges seem reasonable.
We also use XE for calculating exchange rates before making payments.
Screen recording software might come in handy too.
If you want to keep an extra close eye on team members in the early days of them being onboard, you can use apps like Time Doctor to take screenshots and give you confidence that they’re doing what they tell you they’re doing.
Hint – with an app like Glow, screen recording isn’t really necessary. Glow records every action for you.
So if the information isn’t in there, you know your team member hasn’t done the work and can address it with them appropriately.
So there you have it, an overview of how to provide 24/7 support for your WordPress maintenance services.
Offering 24/7 support to clients shouldn’t be daunting and is easier than ever to do.
I actually think it should be the opposite of daunting.
It should be exciting.
So many possibilities open up for your business when you offer 24/7 support, that you previously thought couldn’t be done.
In addition, it will drive your business forward and crucially, give you your time back to focus on building your business.
Do you offer 24/7 support in your WordPress website maintenance business? If not, why? I’d love to hear your thoughts.