02-09-10 | Blog Post

How Social Media Has Helped Online Tech Improve Server Hosting Customer Service

Blog Posts

Sometimes it seems so obvious after the fact.  That’s the case when we started using social media tools to improve customer support in our managed data center business. Online Tech is fairly active in the social media world when it comes to marketing our managed servers and colocation products to make sure the world knows who we are, what we do, and to inject our opinions and viewpoints from time to time.

But the breakthrough came from a new tool that our support team added to OTPortal™, our secure online customer portal.  The portal includes a dashboard for monitoring, reporting, remote management, account and support ticket management.  Our operations team also uses OTPortal to monitor every device in our data center, communicate with clients on ticket management, track assets, and track orders, work orders and change orders.

Let me back up just a bit.  At Online Tech, we value transparency in everything we do.  We run with a fundamental philosophy that our data centers are really our clients’ data centers – as providing them transparency into our data center operations is key to the relationships we hold with our clients and retaining their trust.   We also operate in a very transparent environment in terms of sharing our successes and failures.  We hold ourselves accountable at every level in the organization and hiding information (good or bad) isn’t part of who we are.

One of the challenges we faced was communicating across the company all of the activities that our operations team delivered on a daily basis to assure high uptime availability of our client’s servers– from the mundane (but extremely important) daily walk-through inspection all our clients’ devices to infrastructure maintenance and responding to customer requests on managing their servers. It’s extremely important for members of our operations team to know what each other is doing.

At the same time, nothing is more embarrassing for a sales person than to be engaging one of our clients, and not know that they have a support ticket pending or that the operations team is working on an issue for them.  It’s just as important for the senior management team and sales team to see what’s going on in operations on a rolling basis.

So our team created a social media tool in OTPortal that we call OTTalk™.   It lets every employee post maintenance, repair, and customer ticket status in real-time to the portal. Client specific activities include the client’s name and the associated ticket number (if the work is on an open support ticket). OTTalk uses a Facebook or Twitter-like feed (without the character limitations) so that a scrolling history of all of the activities in operations can be seen by the entire team.

OTTalk has become an internal social media tool that has simplified and enhanced communication across the entire company.  We have it available internally on our smart phones, so when we’re walking the floor or interacting with a customer, we can pull up OTTalk in real time to check status or relay information.

Our next step? You’ll see OTTalk made available to our customers so they can see the real-time status of the data center, the daily maintenance activities we do on their behalf, and their client-related support items.  They’ll also be able to communicate directly with our team through this private, customer-focused social media tool.

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