Tech Support For Your Website

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how anyone with a website that provides for interaction: logging in, downloading files, online purchasing, etc. – will find themselves having to provide tech support to some of their clients/marketplace that are trying to negotiate their website.  You can make your site as intuitive as you think is possible, with plenty of documentation, but somebody, somewhere, will still be technically challenged while there.  It is a constant.

Hammering the pointSo I’m hammering this point.

A lot of times these technical challenges actually exist with the user, not necessarily your site.  Old browsers, old operating systems, limited mobile access, and user impatience or plain old tech fear can be the biggest source of issues, and although they don’t reside on your site, you may find a need to troubleshoot.  Technology beyond your user can get in the way also – is their email provider blocking your emails (such as orders or receipts that are generated from the web site)?  Is Google not treating the web site well?
Are you going to have an expert on staff to resolve these issues?  Or will you need support from your web developer?  There are two areas to try to cover.  One is the technology, and the other is the environment.  Tech is simply hardware and software and how it all is supposed to work together.  The environment is the reality of what users do or don’t do, what Internet-based companies do or don’t do, what marketplace options are available – the how things work beyond code and hardware.  Do you have that person?
The more sophisticated your site is, the more you need that person.  There are still static html only web sites out there from 20 years ago on the web, and they likely don’t need that person.
That’s primarily because nobody is paying attention to it, including the owner.    It’s a brochure or a pamphlet, basically.  Most owners of sites like these don’t even know what kind of traffic they are getting, if any.  It is not a practice to emulate.
Each addition to the user experience adds a bit of need to resolve issues that occur.  Do you want to sell?  Do you want members-only information?  Do you want a web-based forum?  Even a customizable calendar can require support from time to time.  
Organizations have to be honest with themselves about their capabilities to provide technical support to their online audience from the start, and the ability to develop expertise going forward.  Ignoring problems isn’t the answer.  We get contacted several times a year from organizations that are trying to resolve a problem that has festered because it has been ignored.
The answer is, you have to staff for it, either internally or externally.  It will cost you more, in opportunity cost and in emergency care cost, to not have somebody invested in this.  Failure to invest in it with human resources will bite your organization eventually.