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Contacting Customer Service: How to Get the Help that You Deserve

What Do You Do When Your Website Goes Down?You may be completely satisfied with your web host. You might be confident that your website will continue earning revenue and your ratings will stay high. But eventually, something will go wrong – maybe your website will go down for a few hours, or you’ll have a billing or contract issue. Whatever the reason, you’ll need to contact your web host’s customer service. I know that can be a huge headache, so here are a few tips on how to get the help you need, and deserve, from your web host.

Don’t Panic!

I know it’s super-stressful when your site crashes during business hours or when you get a monthly statement filled with mysterious charges. Trust me, I know. But if you call your host’s customer service line just to vent, you’re wasting everyone’s time. So first, take a deep breath. Count to ten. Close your eyes and go to your happy place. Whatever you need to do to calm down, do it.

When you’re ready to handle things calmly, start gathering information: If you’re having computer issues, take screenshots of any error messages. Then, make sure the problem isn’t your Internet connection. Try rebooting your computer. If the problem is a billing or hosting plan issue, go back and re-read your statement. Grab your calculator and double check the math. Review your contract. Once you’ve calmed down and once you’re reasonably sure that the problem is on their end, then – and ONLY then – you should contact customer support.

But wait! Should you call the 1-800 number? Is it better to send an email? Should you try the live chat? What happens now?

Let’s take a look at some of the ins and outs of tech support.

Got a Minor Problem? Open a Ticket

A service ticket is a good option for non-emergencies or issues that can wait for a couple hours. All you have to do is go to your web host’s website and fill out a short service ticket form. It only takes a couple seconds, and you don’t have to stay on hold for 45 minutes.

The drawback? A service ticket is basically just an email, so you don’t know when it will be answered. Also, if your web host doesn’t have 24/7 support for tickets and they’re in another time zone, it could be an entire day before your problem is fixed!

Bottom line: If you’ve got a non-emergency (and you don’t mind waiting), a service ticket might be a good option for you.

Is Phoning the Fastest?

Time is money, as the saying goes. And that’s definitely true if your business’ website is down during peak hours. What if you don’t have the time to just sit and wait for someone to reply to a service ticket? Get on the phone! And don’t forget to grab a piece of paper and a pen — you’ll need to write down information such as the technician’s name, instructions, and any confirmation numbers you receive.

Calling customer service is usually faster than opening a service ticket – but keep in mind there are exceptions. In some cases – for example, if your web host’s server is down and many websites are affected — you might end up on hold indefinitely while tech support deals with hundreds of other frantic customers.

So what do you do if you can’t get through by phone? Stay on hold, but open a service ticket at the same time. If the phone lines are flooded, you might actually get through by email first!

My Favorite: The Live Chat

Live chat is, hands down, my favorite way to contact tech support. Unfortunately, not all web hosts have this great feature (this is something to look for if you’re thinking about switching hosts!). But if your web host does have live chat, I highly recommend it.

What’s so great about live chat? First of all, if something goes wrong with the server, most customers will reach for the phone before going to the host’s website to log on to live chat. That means long hold times for the phone, so contacting customer service will be faster online. Second, when the chat is over, you’ll have the entire conversation there in written form. No pen and paper required for notes!

Make Your Web Host Accountable

You should expect customer service to fix your problem right away. Of course, this isn’t always possible if there’s something wrong with the server, and customer service might have to “look into” your problem and contact you at a later date. But don’t get off the phone just yet – if tech support tells you that they can’t fix the problem right away, make sure you get a confirmation number. That way you’ll have proof that you called in case they don’t fix your problem within a day. And if you’re inconvenienced for that long, you might be able to get a discount on future service, or even a refund. And this is when reading the Term of Service is necessary!

Remember, your web host is required to provide you with the service in your contract. So they must fix your problem! But you can help speed the process along by providing them with important information and contacting them in the most efficient way possible.

Here’s a quick reference table for when you need help in a hurry!

If Then
Your problem can wait a few hours Open a service ticket
You have an emergency Try live chat
Your web host doesn’t have chat Call their support number
You’re on hold for over 20 minutes Open a ticket while you stay on hold
Customer service can’t fix your problem Get a confirmation number and try again later

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