For the past month I’ve been updating Chris Kirsch’s website. She needed a few tweeks (more on that later) and because she was having problems with her host provider, she wanted to switch companies.
Switch companies? No problem.
How wrong I was.
I won’t bore you with the technical minutiae of how a job that normally takes days dragged on to become weeks. But I will say it involved three different companies and each of them proved you can either grow customer satisfaction or you can kill it.
Personally, I’d like to grow it, because that’s the best way to grow a business. Duh.
1. Make it easy to be your customer
Chris found getting tech support from her former host provider was next to impossible. You know the routine— long wait times on the phone, then outsourcing to a foreign country. When she decided to change companies, they would only receive her request via FAX. (Who uses FAX machines nowadays?)
Both Chris and I found getting tech support from her new company was better because it was prompt. Yet, they only offer service via their own support page or an online chat. Sometimes, you just need the immediate back and forth of talking on the telephone. Plus—and this is important—people like to be treated like a person, not a piece of technology.
In the transferring process, I needed to involve my internet provider (strange, I know…don’t ask). They are Netwurx Internet and their customer service came through the best. I could email them. I could call them. I could even ask for service reps by name because I know who they are — I’ve actually been in their office and met them. They’re a local company based out of Hartford, WI, and no, I’m not affiliated with them.
So, what can I do to make it easier for you, my Adunate customers?
2. Take responsibility (even when it’s not yours)
When problems arose in the transfer of Chris’ website, the first thing all three companies did is blame us, the users. Then they blamed each other. This is a common complaint against most technology companies.
Recognizably so, problems often do lie with the customer. I can see that in the tech industry. I see it in my own. You probably see it in yours. However, when customers call with a problem, they feel frustrated and they’re looking for help. The last thing they want is to be interrupted with an automatic “It’s not us, it’s you.”
It would be so much more reassuring if customers could hear: “Hmmm, looks like together we’ve got a problem that needs to be addressed. Let’s see what we can do together to fix it.”
I’ve resolved to listen more, talk less. I’d like to be a problem solver for my clients, even if the problem is not my own, or of my doing.
3. Care about your customer. Show it.
When Chris told her former host provider she was canceling her account, not only was the service rep rude and made the process difficult, he also didn’t seem to care. As Chris wondered, wouldn’t a company at least want to know why its customer was dissatisfied? (By the way, Chris is the epitome of grace and civility. That service rep had no reason to speak to her in a rude manner.)
Contrast this with my internet provider:
Chris is not a Netwurx customer. Nor did she transfer her hosting to them. Yet when I, as Chris’ webmaster, was having problems connecting to her new site from my internet, Netwurx cared enough to stick with the problem and find a solution. They went out of their way. Not only am I impressed, Chris is too.
A good company shows that they care about its customers. And a smart company shows they care about potential customers as well.
I want Adunate to do both.
As a web designer, I’m often asked about web host companies. Online, I hesitate to recommend one over another. However, here is Web Hosting Geeks’ top ten list, or you can google “rate web hosting” for additional helpful information.