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Why the Lack of Live Chat Support Shouldn’t Be a Deal Breaker

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People shopping for web hosting have different requirements, but I noticed a trend amongst customers who are new to web hosting — they all want live chat support!

I can’t blame them though. The idea of being able to get a hold of your host whenever you need assistance seems great, especially when you know very little about how things work. But is live chat support something that could spell the difference between having a good or bad experience with a host? Not really.

There are many reasons why the lack of live chat support shouldn’t be a deal breaker and I’ve listed a few interesting ones below.

Live chat may not always feel like it’s “live.”

Just a few hours ago I was on live chat with one of Namecheap‘s support reps. I was having issues with my domain registration and I needed their help. At least 30 minutes had passed before I got a response. About 50 minutes in, I ran out of patience and decided to leave the chat because I felt like the rep disappeared on me!

Granted, I wasn’t on live chat because of a hosting issue. But my point here is it’s possible to have a long wait time even when you’re on live chat.

What’s even more worth noting is, sometimes you could get a faster and more detailed response by submitting a support ticket. There are some hosts who respond to tickets within a minute or two — literally — and this makes them better than most hosts who have live chat support but take ages to get back to you.

A support ticket system is more efficient than live chat.

Ticket reference IDs and archived conversations. These are two things a support ticket system has that live chat doesn’t. Although some live chat software have a “save transcript” feature, it isn’t as reliable as support ticket archives that can be viewed by you and your host at any given time.

Support ticket archives are accessible both by you and your host, so if you ever need to follow up on an issue, you can just bump your old ticket without having to explain everything all over again. It wouldn’t even matter if you’ve been assigned to a different support rep. Since all the previous conversations are saved, they can just back-read and they’d know what issues you’re having.

Most intermediate to advanced issues can’t be resolved by live chat operators anyway.

Live chat operators are usually level 1 support technicians. These level 1 techs have been trained to handle their clients’ most common hosting problems, but when it comes to more complicated issues they may not be able to help you. If they can’t help you with something, what they usually do is — you guessed that right — they open a support ticket for you.

My advice? Focus on things that matter more!

No doubt, live chat support can be handy at times, but it isn’t an absolute must. There are many other things that you should look for in a host — a few of them being good service, an untarnished reputation, and excellent customer relations.

Just because a host doesn’t offer live chat support doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider them anymore. Who knows, maybe the host you just dropped off your list could’ve been the perfect one for you… if only you weren’t so obsessed (for lack of better word) with live chat!

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3 responses to “Why the Lack of Live Chat Support Shouldn’t Be a Deal Breaker”

  1. Lucien says:

    That is weird: I’ve always only used Namecheap live chat for domains and hosting support – and I’m talking of about 15-20 times between simple and difficult questions – and a rep was up in the chat with me always in a couple of minutes; I’ve never had to open a single ticket, because all issues were solved during my chats.
    My last chat session was yesterday, during Cyber Monday, when site and support were “assaulted” by visitors trying to get the deals and those pi**ed because they missed them; even then, a support rep was up in the chat with me in about 1m40s.
    I understand the frustration of when you wait like 30-40 minutes and no rep comes up to chat, though, as it was normal occurrence in the (newbie) year I was with Fatcow; I also recall another time, when I tried the chat of an host I found via WebHostingTalk offers, and waited 35-40 minutes on the chat before closing the window.

    • Brent says:

      I agree it was a bit odd because my experience with Namecheap has been good in general.

      That said, I used my recent experience as an example to prove a point, not to bash Namecheap specifically.

  2. David says:

    As someone operating a web hosting provider (fused.com) for well over a decade — I’ve never seen the advantage from a user’s perspective to be waiting around in a queue, whether that’s for phone or live support. It doesn’t take much for live chat to go belly up in an emergency, when there might be hundreds (or thousands) of clients suddenly wanting the host’s attention. In scenarios like that, when clients *most* need livechat (and fully expect it to be there), it’s made worthless.

    It’s better to select a few mediums & *always* be available, rather than have some that could be inundated when needed most.

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