It is very important to test a web hosting provider before signing up for their services. Since most service providers have offered customer support email addresses in their websites, it is easy to test the swiftness and quality of their support. This can be done by simply asking a few questions via email.
The first step towards testing a service provider is finding the email address. It is usually located in the ‘about us’ or ‘contact us’ section. Make sure you identify the correct email address. When asking a question about support, send it to the support team and not to the sales team.
You need to keep in mind that web hosting companies differ. Some respond to their sales-related emails much faster then they respond to support emails, while others are just the opposite. It all depends on the primary focus of the company. Usually, good companies place more emphasis on customer support and handle inquiries with utmost importance and urgency.
Though there is no harm in testing the sales department, your main focus should be on the support department since they are the ones you will be dealing with after signing up for the web hosting service.
Sending a test email will enable you to verify a few things.
1. How long it takes to get an answer
For best results, you should test several companies without any bias. You need to ensure that the emails are sent to these companies at about the same hour (their time). This means that if you send an email at 8am to one company, you need to send emails at roughly the same hour to other companies. This way, you will be able to make an accurate evaluation. In addition, you should choose an appropriate day of the week to send the email. Usually, it takes longer to get a response over a weekend.
If you get a response in less than six hours, then the customer support can be considered relatively efficient.
2. Quality of response
When evaluating a response, you need to consider the quality and quantity of the information. Has your question been answered correctly and precisely? Is the answer complete or incomplete? Can the answer be understood easily or is it full of technical jargon? Is the answer well structured, with clear step-by-step instructions?
3. Level of courtesy
Different companies express courtesy in different ways. Some companies will address you respectfully by calling you ‘Sir’ or ‘Madam’, while some will use a more personal and friendly approach. It is all a matter of taste and preference. The most important thing is that you get treated with courtesy, whether in a formal manner or in a friendly way.