Hosting providers occupy a special niche in every customer’s business structure. Unlike the typical supplier, hosting providers are integrated into the customer’s public image. If your client’s website goes down because you failed to block a DDoS attack, for example, their customers are far more likely to blame your client than their hosting provider. Your clients will be the ones receiving a flood of angry messages and critical reviews; although your clients will surely express their anger and frustration to you, you are unlikely to need to respond to as many complaints as your customers. There is no shortage of hosting providers, so your customers would have little difficulty switching to a competitor if they feel that they cannot trust you to deliver the service that you promised them. If you want to establish and retain the trust of your customers, the following four tips can help you accomplish this goal.
1. Be Honest and Transparent
It should go without saying that your service and product disclosures should be transparent and honest. However, your marketing efforts should be clear and honest as well. The worst thing you could do is to sell a hosting package that does less than you intimated. If you state that a customer has sufficient bandwidth, for example, be prepared for the backlash if they exceed their bandwidth, shutting down their website. If the package they are considering is more than they need, tell them. By the same token, if you know that the package under consideration will not satisfy their needs, tell them. Be prepared to justify your recommendations in language that customers who are not highly technical will understand.
2. Know What Each Client Needs
No single web host is ideal for every enterprise. A major online retailer, for example, will have needs that are very different from the needs of a local restaurant that only wants a website to provide information on hours, menu choices, and reservations. Your basic marketing pages should contain brief, easily scanned information on what is in each package. However, you and your staff members must also be able to draw out information from each customer so that they can recommend the package that will suit the customer’s needs. When customers find that the recommended solution works well for them, they will be more likely to continue as your customer.
3. Provide Reliable Customer and Technical Support
Customers will have questions and issues. When they need help, they want a simple way to ask for assistance as well as a quick response from you. Online chat features and telephone access can give customers the ability to initiate a conversation immediately. The response time for email communications and help desk tickets should be as fast as possible, but you should strive to respond to all requests for technical assistance within 30 minutes or so. Furthermore, your customer service representatives and technical support staff should be well-trained, knowledgeable, and excellent communicators.
4. Communicate With Your Customers
Keep the lines of communication open, but make sure that you use them wisely. Signing up a customer does not give you an automatic pass to send him or her daily emails that are nothing more than sales pitches. In no time, your customers will stop opening your emails. This is precisely what you do not want. You want your customers to open emails that you send about scheduled downtime, changes in their package, or new features that the customer might want to add. You also want to communicate with customers who are experiencing a specific issue. Be sure to give them an honest estimate of how long it will take to resolve the issue; keep them updated if progress is slower than you initially anticipated. Furthermore, you should keep in mind that the needs of your customers can change over time. Encourage customers to update you when they expand into new areas, experience significant growth in sales, or alter their business models so that you can review their packages and recommend any necessary changes.