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  • #989822
    whitsey
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    I’m looking for some help and guidance on how to handle customer expectation in a small startup business. What I’m looking to understand is what is a reasonable expectation and how to handle the issues when they arise.

    I am hoping people who don’t understand my business can respond – I am looking for a well rounded view of how to handle customer expectation in general – not just when performing web hosting… I’m sure most of you have a website and would be interested to understand what your expectation would be.

    The scene – I provide web/email hosting for small businesses – 99/100 – I have built the website that they are hosting.

    The issue – websites continually get attacked or hacked which then creates issues with not only the hacked account but potentially other accounts, if the script does something that ends up blacklisting the server. They get hacked because there are people out there who are continually looking for loopholes to get inside websites and do damage.

    The problem – I generally get alerted to the problem and can’t let it lie because of the potential damage it may do to other customers, so I will either go and secure the website or just delete the file… This is becoming a regular weekly occurrence and is starting to eat into my productivity

    My thoughts – I provide a hosting service – most other hosts, from experience, will simply notify the account owner advising that a script has been found and to contact their web developer to fix it… problem is, I am also their web developer – so they come to me for everything – If I were to say – you’ve been hacked – contact your web developer, they’re just going to say – “that’s you” …

    My thoughts on how to proceed – looking for feedback and suggestions:

    – Identify the issue
    – Send an email alerting the customer advising
    — The file has been disabled
    — It needs to be fixed
    — If you would like it fixed, we offer a service … blah, blah, blah…

    #1174015
    MarcioWilges
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    I have to agree that web hosting is not an easy job to handle, especially on a large scale for commercial purposes. With technology so advanced today, anyone can be a hacker easily. There are many resources available online that teach just anybody to invade other people’s privacy and cause damages beyond imagination. Nevertheless, this is an inevitable process and there ought to be a support system like a protector for the web users. Important data could be lost and that could involve a huge amount of money.

    #1174016
    findtim
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    whitsey, i am in the SAME BOAT, this year i have spent 50% of my time on this issue as i have so many clients now, i generally take a break from 15/dec to 1/feb and use that time to just “think” and this will be one of the major items on my agenda.

    i’d love for you to PM me and we can toss ideas around.

    but as far as a reply to your post this is what i did recently.

    I sent all my clients a $60 invoice and stated ” unfortunately shit happens and it just happened ” i can email you the exact letter i sent, so anyway i spent a whole week fixing a bunch of sites that got hacked.

    last weekend 6 of my clients sites got hacked and it took me friday to fix it only to wake up saturday and a new HACK OCCURED they just keep changing, well that took all weekend until i found the fix.

    i have 3 other cllient sites that have hack attempts every 7 seconds, ! yes every 7 seconds, i have another site that gets a hack attack every day at 1pm, but you put in software so it automatically protects you.

    as for charging, like i said, it something i am working out right now.

    here’s my theory:

    if a shop has a BRICK thrown through its window ( note: the word brick ) and the person comes out to repair it they get paid, tomorrow someone throws a metal pole through the same window ( note: metal pole ) IS the person who replaced the window responsible ? no …. of course not…….. thus that is how we need to state that to our clients.

    would the shop owner EXPECT the glass person to come back and repair it for free ? NO, so why should we ?

    these website attacks are getting more and more especially on ecom site

    my intention is to lay it all out in my initial terms and conditions.

    the next thing yo are now thinking is ” but people will use someone else” and the answer to that is tell them ” these are the things other webdesigner won’t tell you “

    just my opinion, i’d love to chat and throw ideas around

    tim

    #1174017
    GavinSloan
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    Hi Whitsey,
    I don’t understand your business – So I am happy to respond :)
    I’d assume that you offer various pricing options depending on what hosting requirements your clients have? As a suggestion, maybe you could offer an upgrade or an add-on for protection/repairing the damage from hacking?
    This allows you to attach values to your responses. For example:
    $0 additional per month – If the site is hacked, we’ll email you to advise you and offer to fix it for a fee.
    $?? additional per month – If the site is hacked, we will fix the problem within ___ hours. (If this happens, you just need to send one standard email telling them that you’re aware it’s been hacked and your team is working on it. Then send a second email to let them know when it’s been repaired/completed)
    $??? additional per month – Premium Service, If the site is hacked we will fix the problem within 1 hour. (If this happens, chances are you will have repaired the problem before the client even knows about it – So you’ll just send them a courtesy email to let them know what’s happened and that you have already fixed it for them).
    I think the important thing to keep in mind is that when a website is hacked, those of us who aren’t technical tend to panic and just want the problem fixed ASAP – After the first time it happens I am sure people will happily pay an additional fee for peace of mind that you’ll just manage it for them.
    That’s my two cents… hope it helps!
    Good Luck :)

    #1174018
    findtim
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    gavin has some good ideas, just be careful what you promise.

    there is whitehacking, greyhacking and blackhacking so different levels of threat will require more and more time.

    whitehacking is probably a bored teenager and just replaced your index file, grey is someone wanting to be noticed to prove to their mates they can do it, these guys normally are looking for a corporate job in hacking prevention, then black is nasty to get credit cards etc these people do the most damage.

    i had one site completely deleted, so part of your services should involve automated backups and also automated notification of any file changes.

    a few years ago i had a site get hacked, it was backed up by my server but wasn’t discovered under 2 weeks later, the only backup they had was the backup of the hacked site !!! so i had to rebuild it, that was an expensive lesson.

    tim

    #1174019
    Jenny Spring
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    whitsey, post: 202263 wrote:
    I’m looking for some help and guidance on how to handle customer expectation in a small startup business. What I’m looking to understand is what is a reasonable expectation and how to handle the issues when they arise.

    I am hoping people who don’t understand my business can respond – I am looking for a well rounded view of how to handle customer expectation in general – not just when performing web hosting… I’m sure most of you have a website and would be interested to understand what your expectation would be.

    The scene – I provide web/email hosting for small businesses – 99/100 – I have built the website that they are hosting.

    The issue – websites continually get attacked or hacked which then creates issues with not only the hacked account but potentially other accounts, if the script does something that ends up blacklisting the server. They get hacked because there are people out there who are continually looking for loopholes to get inside websites and do damage.

    The problem – I generally get alerted to the problem and can’t let it lie because of the potential damage it may do to other customers, so I will either go and secure the website or just delete the file… This is becoming a regular weekly occurrence and is starting to eat into my productivity

    My thoughts – I provide a hosting service – most other hosts, from experience, will simply notify the account owner advising that a script has been found and to contact their web developer to fix it… problem is, I am also their web developer – so they come to me for everything – If I were to say – you’ve been hacked – contact your web developer, they’re just going to say – “that’s you” …

    My thoughts on how to proceed – looking for feedback and suggestions:

    – Identify the issue
    – Send an email alerting the customer advising
    — The file has been disabled
    — It needs to be fixed
    — If you would like it fixed, we offer a service … blah, blah, blah…

    Moving forward, I’d first suggest that after you have completed handover of the website, you make it clear about your role and future expectations. I think the biggest problem is that most people don’t know who holds the responsibility. If their site gets hacked, they want it fixed, but they don’t know why or who hacked it, and whether there was an underlying problem that maybe have been caused by the web developer or the host.

    This is simply a lack of knowledge of their part.

    I’d suggest you:

    1. are clear about your hand-over terms and completion
    2. are clear about taking on hosted clients and what happens on a regular basis (i.e. hacking).
    3. send them regular emails to let them know of major hacking alerts and that they might hire you to boost their site security (this way they realise there is a cost involved).

    Hope this helps.

    Jenny

    #1174020
    whitsey
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    Jenny Spring, post: 205775, member: 36703 wrote:
    Moving forward, I’d first suggest that after you have completed handover of the website, you make it clear about your role and future expectations.

    [USER=36703]@Jenny Spring[/USER] I like that theory. Telling them at handover instead of having a clause at the bottom of the 100 line T&C’s that no-one reads anyway is going to be far more productive

    Also, [USER=47045]@GavinSloan[/USER] Suggested adding a premium service for management – I have done this as well. BUT I haven’t sold a single one…

    I like the combination of both options to highlight – you are on the $0 plan which is reactionary and will cost $xxx. Or you can get a premium plan for $X/month AND making sure I highlight it at handover… Then they know the risks

    I’ve now mastered this (I believe) and don’t really have any problems with it any more. My biggest stress was the affect it had on other customers because I couldn’t isolate it… But now I can!

    1. I’ve fixed enough sites, I’m now an expert and can do it in under an hour. So I’m no longer “overwhelmed” when it happens

    2. I know how to detect a problem (that affects other clients) and lock it down without actually fixing it – therefore, most of my “stress” of affecting other customers is alleviated and I can tell the customer (without requiring an immediate decision)
    a) I’ve caught it and blocked it
    b) You need to get it fixed and here are my rates if you need help.

    Thanks for all your help and sorry for the late response… I haven’t been back here for a very long time…

    #1174021
    ScarlettR
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    This is something you need to inform clients about when they sign up with you. What sort of contact do you make when they go with one of your plans? Do you send them any documentation?

    If you have some sort of ‘welcome’ email I would put all of that in to there, maybe like a very brief FAQ/What if portion. “Our 5 most frequently asked questions, so we’ll answer them for you now”. #1 could be “How frequent are website attacks and how can I prevent them?” You can also cover four other topics that are important to keep them informed of so that they can get a greater understanding of your process.

    That way if a customer comes back to you ranting and raving you can tell them that you provided all the information up front in anticipation of any issues, so that they could be fully prepared.

    #1174022
    jimmyrose
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    • Total posts: 22
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    When we send a handover email there are two options:

    1. Self managed, and let them know the risks
    2. We manage, here is what it costs and here is why it’s cost effective
    #1174023
    NathanDavidson
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    I would actually think that you need to set the expectations right from the beginning. Telling them that this is what you’re experiencing now and that as their business grows, they might need to get someone on their team permanently to help them out.

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