A lot of companies are offering very similar products and services, and that’s especially true in the web hosting industry. Simply do a search for ‘shared web hosting’ and up comes a seemingly endless list of companies whose offerings could meet your needs. There really is nothing in it – many companies offer an unlimited number of websites, unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth and 24/7 support, thinking that somehow this differentiates them from the next “unlimited” company in the list. So. what's important:
1. They answer the phone
When people answer the phone quickly, it really does make a lasting impression!
2. They answer emails
From what people say, they call a web hosting company when they haven’t been able to get what they want from an email enquiry. Almost invariably people get an immediate autoresponse which explains someone will be in contact shortly. Obviously, people are happy when responses are given in a timely fashion.
3. They read emails
Ranking up there with phone and email delays is the fact that when people get email replies their queries haven’t been read properly and the only relationship replies have to the questions originally asked is that they both involve web hosting. It seems in the age of the Call Center, people are too busy (too stressed?) to even consider an appropriate answer to a query. Support staff seem to only read keywords in an email, and dump a link to a video or to a page of information in a reply that has virtually nothing to do with what you are enquiring about. When people get the answers they need they find it easier to give praise to a provider.
4. There’s continuity
Once an inappropriate email reply has been received, people write back to their web hosting companies and whereas they were originally dealing with “Mike”, they are now dealing with “Omar” who would like to know “How can I help you?” As a result, the same issue has to be explained again, and if it is not resolved, the chances are that even more people have to get involved to address an issue, raising blood pressure and making tempers boil over. Companies with the top marks appear to have allocated customers to certain staff, meaning there is at least a chance support staff can remember the original issue as it was initially raised.
5. They speak my language
This is not a problem because their Call Center is in India – as we know, the bulk of Indians have impeccable English. The problem is that India (and the rest of the subcontinent) has the highest proportion of people with Master’s degrees and PhD’s in the world. The result is they get only the best people as technical support and a basic query might end up with an imponderable reply such as “the problem is the native client has a mongrel backend” ... Or, at least I think that’s what he said. The bulk of people I know who utilize web hosting services are NOT technical people. They need proper advice, and often would benefit from being talked through a process rather than being given a link to a tutorial they don’t understand. Top marks to people who solve problems using the common touch.
7. They appreciate my custom
The problem for web hosting customers is that when their websites are up and running, and there are no issues, that’s it - they become invisible. Some people I have known have been web hosting customers for multiple years, and except for the occasional email offering a seasonal discount on domain names, that’s all they ever hear from their web host (except when payment is due of course). The people I have known that have been happiest with their web providers have regular contact with their companies. Often they receive deals that have nothing to do with web hosting – a free cup of coffee at Starbucks for having been a customer for two years. That sort of thing. It matters. People talk about it.
8. They offer a good customer experience
Some studies show that customers with the best customer experience of a company will pay around 150% more than a customer who has received the worst customer experience with the same company. That’s a lot, and of course, bad news travels faster than good news. A good customer experience means that signup forms work, that pages load quickly, and information is easily accessible. Good customer experience means that a customer receives requests for payment in a timely fashion and the email they receive offers a one-click experience that leads directly to the page they need to pay for a service again. In short, everything is made as easy as possible for a customer, so they can do what they need to do when they need to do it and execution is effortless.