Build a Web Hosting Brand that Sells - Customer Satisfaction and Your Search Engine Image
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Perhaps the most revealing aspect of a company is how satisfied their customers are. Good support is worth more to customers than promises of unlimited bandwidth or webspace. After all web design and advertising is done, it is this that forms a strong brand and reputation.
Word of mouth has a heavy impact on buying decisions. Itís perhaps the strongest thing to convince a person to use or avoid a host when the person doesnít have experience with the company. It speak volumes that people can get cheap unlimited hosting for around $1 a month, but they often choose to use established companies with reputations of helpful support staffs. This is something to be taken very seriously.
In an interview with HostSearch.com, Brent Oxley (President of Hostgator) says:
ďOne unhappy customer is worth the weight of 1,000 satisfied customers in terms of how they can affect future business, so we strive to keep as many people happy as we can. We may receive 500 letters of praise in a month, but it is that one letter of dissatisfaction that keeps us up at night wondering how we can make things better. While it may never be possible to please 100% of our customers, we are going to run this business as if it is an attainable goal and will strive each month to inch closer to that mark.Ē
Most web hosts rely on email support. This is impersonal and only widens the gap between your intangible product and the clients. Make your companyís personality stand out by providing a variety of support options, including instant messaging and especially phone support. Give the support phone number to everyone so they can test the support before ordering. Obviously, make sure the phone is picked up quickly and preferably by a human being.
Finally, donít passively let word spread about your company; facilitate it. Obviously, people will use search engines to research your business. You need to use search engines to track how people are talking about your company. Hopefully your feedback will all be positive, but act to resolve outstanding complaints. Finding a very angry customer and publicly issuing a $100 refund will cost far less than losing all the potential customers who find his complaints (not to mention, it can work as a bit of advertising for your company). As a side note, I've seen companies address complaints on websites by arguing their position and saying the problem will be resolved for future customers; even this does not go over very well (often looks a little sleazy) without issuing a refund or formal apology to the person who had a problem.
Also, load the search engines with information that makes your business look good. Donít be afraid to have the CEO do an interview with a web hosting news site. You could also offer 6 months of service free to one of these sites for them to review your service. Having positive reviews across the internet will be great for Google and Yahoo! browsers to find when they type in your name. Itís especially important that these are found on third party sites so the potential customer feels more that the article is honest.
This information should help give your web hosting or reseller business a direction. No one aspect of this process is most important, so try to weight them all with extreme importance. Good luck finding your customers.
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