opinion

Adult Customer Service: In-House or Outsourced?

Stephen Yagielowicz

Part of selling to the public is dealing with the public; a process that brings with it the ability to communicate directly with your customers, learning what they like and do not like about your product or service — a valuable benefit when building for the long term.

Today, customers expect you to be available 24/7, online, on the phone, on Facebook — whenever they need you and however they want to contact you — porn fans included.

Routine questions such as password reminders and resets, site map questions, renewal information and pre-sales questions can take hours every day to answer.

But this level of customer intimacy carries a hefty price in terms of time alone.

According to adult website membership support services provider Red Apple Media (www.redapplemedia.com), one of the most time consuming activities for adult website operators is to promptly answer support questions received from members and prospects.

“Routine questions such as password reminders and resets, site map questions, renewal information and pre-sales questions can take hours every day to answer,” states a Red Apple Media rep. “That is a few hours less those site owners and webmasters have to edit, post, and market their websites, let alone take any time off to relax and recharge.”

Many pay site operators historically farmed these tasks out to their billing companies, relying on them to handle everything from password management and membership issues — natural roles for a billing company — to technical and website support; something that the biller’s reps may be unfamiliar with especially within the context of your specific site.

Operators that want more connection with their client base or tighter control over the dialog do it themselves; while other website owners seek to outsource this task to generic customer support firms whose appeal is largely one of price — a competitive advantage they gained by employing inexperienced, overseas support staff that may not be familiar with the special needs of adult pay site customers, or of how to deal with suspected cases of friendly fraud, among other issues.

“Working with a company that really does not understand how websites function, and all of the components such as streaming media, billing, and software such as ProxyPass, is a large risk that can be avoided by working with a company that has the experience to support membership based sites,” the Red Apple Media rep added. “We do not outsource and we do not hire anyone that hasn’t worked with membership sites in the past.”

While it won’t provide the most consistent results, a hybrid approach that allows for in-house customer service during regular business hours and off-site support for off-hours support requests, may allow you to stay in touch “enough” to make a difference in a site’s ongoing development and improvement, while leveraging specialists so you have a life.

The goal is immediate, satisfactory support from competent, native language speaking personnel that understand your business. The closer your website can come to this ideal, the more money it will make. How you do (or don’t do) it, is up to you.

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