View Full Version : Futurequest Support
08-22-2002, 10:24 AM
As any Futurequest client can attest, Futurequest has one of the best support services out there.
I am having a slight problem, and I wonder if anyone has any suggestions. I have created and run a number of websites for clients. On the very few occasions that something goes wrong with the server, since it is my email registered with Futurequest, I am the only one who can contact Futurequest support. If I am away on vacation or even just away from my desk for ten minutes and there's a problem, then this can be very irritating for my client.
What do you suggest I tell my client? Is there a way that my client can also contact Futurequest support directly if I am away?
All the best,
The reason that only the Primary Account holder may contact FutureQuest for direct support and specific information is for the privacy of the Account Holders as well as the security for both their accounts and that of the FutureQuest Network.
However there could be a number of ways you would be able to address this with them.
If the accounts are Not_Resold (you do not have a Resellers ID#) you would be able to split each Full Package into a separate account.
Then setting up an email stack in that package's CNC, and making that address the primary contact, would allow both you and the client to have access and would allow you and them to receive Invoices, Notices and ask for support, from that email address.
To request Account Modifications in this manner please send an email to Service@FutureQuest.net
Note: This would not be an option for Resellers as they would loose the resellers discounts on those packages that were split off, and one of the reasons FutureQuest is able to provide the Resellers Discount is reducing the Support that we must provide Directly to a number of packages.
Another would be to provide your Clients with information regarding the FutureQuest Community Forums and their location as the first notifications will always be posted here.
In the event, as was the case this morning, of an entire Network outage then while a Live phone solution would be a backup the actual Virtual Nature of FutureQuest all but makes it impossible to offer. Employees in California, Oregon, Canada, The Netherlands, Northeast Florida, Central West Coast Florida and the Servers and remainder of Staff in Central Florida.
And during an outage of this nature believe me the last thing anyone has time for would be to answer phone calls as there is constant back end work going on, is it up, is it down. Ping from here Ping from there. Ok start checking all services, wring it out before we are sure all is well.
But also note that a Network outage is a rare situation and as was alluded to in
Terra's Post (http://www.aota.net/forums/showthread.php?postid=72583#post72583) regarding today's problem
as we will be receiving a shiny new edge router today in an effort to bring forth much needed border redundancy... More details of this will be posted in the upcoming month as it truly is some exciting news that the entire FutureQuest Team has worked in overdrive to finally make it a vivid reality...
FutureQuest does have a Toll Free and Local Number (http://www.FutureQuest.net/Contact/) that you would be able to call and leave a message which we will return as soon as would be possible depending upon the circumstances. However please note that Email submitted support requests are always dealt with in a higher priority.
- Could you have been any longer winded Bob? :ididthat: -
08-23-2002, 02:48 AM
Thanks very much for your note and I fully appreciate why support is offered only to the primary account holder (and also why there is no phone number to call).
All of your suggestions sound very sensible. We are not a reseller, and there should be no problem splitting the account off and creating a new email address for the contact, split between me and the client. The only problem is what happens if email goes down? At the moment I deliberately use a third-party (non-futurequest) email address just in case there is a problem...
Of course, almost all of this is redundant. If something goes wrong, you guys will know 99% of the time and be fixing it well before anyone has a chance to email anyway! My problem is to persuade a frustrated client sitting there without email and unable to contact me that there's really nothing they need to do and to rely on Futurequest to fix the problem quickly.
I will certainly suggest the forums and perhaps see if I can find a 3rd party email solution that allows both my client and me to contact you. Alternatively, I could just tell them that if email is down, FQ know it's down and are fixing it, and there's no point contacting them...
All the best,
08-23-2002, 03:03 AM
Alternatively, I could just tell them that if email is down, FQ know it's down and are fixing it, and there's no point contacting them...
That is the most sensible thing to do, by taking a breather and allowing us to perform to the best of our abilities in resolving the matter at hand...
Problems happen, that is inevitable in the tech industry, however I believe our resolution record speaks for itself... We rarely, if ever, drop the ball in our realm of expertise...
The only time that you would not be able to get through to support is if there is a catastrophic network failure, similar to the router failure we had early this morning... In light of the event this morning, the wheels are already in motion to redesign our edge connectivity to ensure this doesn't happen again... The rest of the time, if your server is down, these forums will be here where you can communicate with us... If you must take the extra step, you can leave a voice heads up on our messaging system and we will return the call at best available opportunity...
I do understand the anxiousness that one goes through when something goes offline, it perturbs me when Road Runner dies on me when I'm in the middle of something important... The best I can do is call them and let them know of the outage, because in almost all cases if I hadn't called them - they wouldn't know due to our location... This is when I drag out my old trusty 56K modem and dialin to an old fashioned ISP... You do have a backup plan don't you for such events as nothing in life is risk free or certain?
FutureQuest, Inc. on the other hand employs a very sophisticated monitoring system (much of it custom) and when something blips - we know about it...
--Press keys - answer phone "No, it's not up yet", press keys - answer phone "No, it's not up yet", press keys - answer phone 'No, it's not up yet" :: how can one focus/concentrate with that dark cloud looming overhead?--
The majority of problems are fixed quickly and part of that is because we are able to allow the technicians to concentrate on fixing the problem rather than adding the extra stress of understandably irate clients to slow them down.
Having a 24/7 support voice line is an expensive feature that we would love to add, but it is something that will require more growth for us to be able to do so Phone systems plus a minimum of 4 humans (8 if we don't want to leave them there alone) working full time in the main office to cover a 24/7 shift is an expensive order.
It's much faster for our technicians to answer questions via email and usually far more beneficial to the Site Owner since links and tutorials and detailed information can be relayed better via text. Phone support would require less knowledgable technicians (the highly qualified ones usually don't pick phone support as their desired profession lol) to be hired covering a 24/7 work week. I do not personally feel the true technical support would be improved though I do believe it would help in the area of client satisfaction since the ability to vocally express concerns or ask simple questions would only be a toll free phone call away. In our current state however we have to spend the available funds as wisely as possible and that means putting the revenue back into improving the network and preventing outages over and above placing the funds into a phone system that would serve to explain why the outage happened (because we had to pay for the phone system rather than the redundancy lol)
For now however, the QuestLine is available - toll free - for messages to be left and it is responded to quickly, though email always takes priority and is the best route for most issues. My problem is to persuade a frustrated client sitting there without email and unable to contact me that there's really nothing they need to do and to rely on Futurequest to fix the problem quickly. That's the key to selecting a host you can trust and is in fact what we are paid to do. If we are not doing our job we shouldn't be paid for it. Thus, for each month a payment is sent in, you should (as should they) expect that we are working on any known problems 100% of the time...not just 99% of the time. The absolute soonest we can get something fixed is when it will be fixed. We wont wait for business hours to begin or holidays to end. We are here, and if something isn't working right the correct people are on top of it. Everyone that is employed by FutureQuest is on call at all times. It's one of the penalties of working here ;)
- Thank you for calling, please hold.
Honestly, with the combination of the upgrades and freak router issue last night it seems FutureQuest has had more downtime yesterday/today than during the whole last year or the whole next year probably.
With the router issue where FutureQuest disappeared completely for a second I can see why your client would be nervous, but it was probably a once in a lifetime thing and I wouldn't worry about it again. Downtime at FutureQuest is pretty rare. And almost every other time if they looked at the Server News forum they would see a post in advance with exactly what was being done and the service window. Not only can they email or view the Server News forum, but if their email was down for some reason, they could (with their account setup separately) login to the service desk if they needed.
In my experience, it seems the hosts/companies which have 24/7 phone support are usually staffed with phone answers rather than sysadmins who have nothing at all to do with the servers and therefore have no answers and simply occupy your time. I much prefer FutureQuest where Terra and the FutureQuest staff are always aware of the problem within minutes and are working on fixing it and where you have a direct connection with the people who are actually working on the servers (either directly through Terra's announcements/posts/email or through Bob, etc. who know exactly what is going on.)
My problem is to persuade a frustrated client sitting there without email and unable to contact me that there's really nothing they need to do and to rely on Futurequest to fix the problem quickly.
Time will do that. You can tell your client, but the only true measure will be that in the course of the next year he will find that any problems are fixed within seconds and there is very very little downtime at FutureQuest compared with elsewhere so he doesn't need to be concerned.
08-23-2002, 03:35 AM
08-23-2002, 07:53 PM
Just to make things absolutely clear, I understand fully how Futurequest works, how it provides the best service and support I've seen anywhere, how creating a full time, telephone support would double the cost with zero real benefit to the client and how I continue always to recommend (actually, insist) that all my clients sign up with you (and there are many more clients to come, believe me :)).
So, my question was purely one of PR - how to persuade an impotent-feeling client that they are getting the best possible service from any service provider, when their email is down and they can't talk with a real person.
Anyway, I shall point them towards the support forums and let them know that the phone number exists, even though it's much better to use email.
Thanks to all,
All the best,
08-24-2002, 01:36 PM
If you're reselling, then I'd say get a cell phone. If they report the site or other service is down, you should have at least two ways onto the internet -- or at least a shell somewhere else to telnet into -- from which you can verify what's going on, using ping, traceroute and lynx or a web browser.
08-29-2002, 08:32 AM
Message removed %)
08-29-2002, 12:20 PM
I don't know what you posted, but I was re-thinking what I wrote. A reseller can just decide how much support to provide. Most accounts are simple enough to keep running.
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