A few days ago, GoDaddy quietly removed the ability to submit a trouble ticket or an email to receive support. This was verified through the GoDaddy Help twitter account.
— GoDaddy Help (@GoDaddyHelp) May 1, 2014
Both support methods were removed in favor of live chat and phone support. I reached out to GoDaddy’s media representatives and asked why the options were removed and why they weren’t more forthcoming about the changes. Nick Fuller, a GoDaddy representative explained that email consistently finished last as far as their customers’ preferred method of help.
After reviewing customer behavior and satisfaction scores we decided we could better serve people in ways they were telling us work better for them.
Customers love the ‘real time’ support experience. Email is not instantaneous and in fact many in the industry are putting an end to their email service as well because fewer than half of tech customers believe their problem can be solved by email – it’s sort of going the way of the cassette tape.
Former GoDaddy employee Brad Cook, was one of the first to report on the loss of email and ticket support. Cook documented his effort in a YouTube video showing the drawbacks of the live support option. He ended up having to wait 1.5 hours for help. Unfortunately, his wait was for nothing, “I had to rush into the other room as my son was getting sick right around the time my turn in line came up and I ended up missing my opportunity to chat after this long wait.”
Which Is A Quicker Means Of Support, Phone Or Live Chat?
On the afternoon of March 30th, I performed an experiment. I wanted to find out which method of support was quicker and whether or not the support representatives would try to upsell me on other services. I explained to both parties that I wanted to know when my domain was up for renewal.
Phone Support: The wait time on the phone was only nine minutes. Once on the line, the gentleman spoke English, was to the point, and politely asked how he could help. I asked when my domain was up for renewal. He told me the exact date while also explaining how I could find that information out myself via the GoDaddy control panel. He said they could renew it for me on the phone or I could do it myself. I chose to do it myself.
He asked how else he could help and I told him that was the only question I had. He thanked me and said have a good day. At no point during the phone call did he try to sell me services such as webhosting to go with my domain. In fact, the experience was better than I expected.
I started the Live Chat session at the same time I called GoDaddy. As you can see from the image below, I had to wait 35 minutes. While Cook experienced inaccurate waiting times, I found mine to be relatively accurate.
After waiting on the live chat for 10 minutes, I already had my problem solved via phone support. When I eventually got the chance to speak with a tech support representative, I was able to verify a couple of problems outlined by Cook.
- There is no audible or visual cue that indicates it’s my turn to talk
- If the chat window is minimized, it doesn’t blink in the taskbar when a message has been received
I asked the chat rep when my domain would need to be renewed. They responded in a few minutes with the correct answer and told me they could renew it for me, or I could do it manually. I told them I’d do it manually. I thanked the rep for helping me. After the usual you’re welcome message, my chat session was closed. At no point during the chat session did they try to sell me services such as webhosting to go with my domain.
GoDaddy Is Addressing Growing Pains With Live Chat
Phone support at GoDaddy was a superior experience compared to live chat. Because of the problems mentioned earlier, it’s too easy to miss your opportunity to chat with a representative. Once you’ve lost your chance, you have to go to the end of the line. I shared Cook’s post to GoDaddy and Fuller admits there is work to be done to improve the experience.
There’s work to be done and we’re just in the beginning phases of the transition. As of today, we’ve expanded our live chat support team by 20 representatives in order to better meet the demand in the general customer care chat. We’re also expanding the team for live chat support on the hosting side and we’re working with our live chat tool provider to provide an audio notification when a chat session is ready to go.
It’s a good thing GoDaddy has added more representatives to address demand because waiting for 30 minutes is unacceptable. I’ve used the live chat for HostGator and other service providers and the wait times have generally been under 10 minutes. Most of the time, I can reach someone without any wait at all.
I prefer live chat over speaking with someone on the phone because it’s a more natural means of communication for me. It’s also easier to send URL’s through chat than over the phone. However, I’m glad that each support method didn’t try to upsell me on additional products and services. Such a practice during a time of need is slimy at best.
Aligning With Customer Needs
I certainly don’t fault GoDaddy for doing away with email and ticket based support. Since their data supports the reasoning for getting rid of them, it makes sense. In mid 2013, GravityForms changed their standard support structure to remove forums. The move was inspired by the explosive growth of their product and the forum had become unmanageable.
I like support forums since they give me an opportunity to help myself but for successful companies, they can easily become unmanageable. But the move was made to better serve the needs of their customers.
As a company, it makes sense to do whatever is best for the customer. If you’d like advice on hiring support staff for your WordPress business, check out this post which contains advice from some of the most successful commercial WordPress theme companies.
When it comes to support, what is your preferred method? Tickets, FAQ’s, Forums, Email, or something else?