Customers want 'everything' yesterday. And they want it for nothing (or very damn close to nothing). They want replies for "Oh, my web site does work!" within 15 minutes, and they 'think' they're always right, when they're usually far from it.
Web hosting has turned into the sick joke of the Internet, it's become a sad commodity.
80% of web hosting customers are impatient, unobtrusively rude, cheap, and are the TRUE scam artists of the industry. Every web host I've been in contact with experiences chargebacks with 30-60% of their sign-ups, even after they've provided the service for months! Why should they waste the effort and hard drive space with a idiot for a customer that is only in it for a free ride?
There's no loyalty, decent services are getting slandered in message boards just like this one everyday, and there's no real money to be made for anyone.
I am sick of it, and I am sure many people who work at a Web Hosting company (or run one) feel the same.
The problem as I have seen it so far isn't hosting customers expecting too much. It's hosting customers expecting what they were promised with the sales talk on the hosts site.
You get what you pay for is a ridiculous saying. Clients should be getting what they were told they would be getting or it is false advertising. I have heard more excuses from various hosting companies than I have heard from any other type of business in my life. If you can't deliver then don't promise to. If you promise to deliver then quit the excuses and do what it takes to be the top hosting company and make every single client happy. Quit your pissin and moaning and go write a helpful response to one of your existing clients or go fix the mail server problem or go make a faq page on how to get and use ftp or include on your homepage what you will do for the money and what you won't do for the money you are taking from your clients. I am so tired of trying to find a host that people aren't complaining about that I'm almost ready to buy my own servers and start hosting. If what I have seen so far would be my competition all I have to do is deliver on my promises and I'd be the most popular host around. All businesses have problems. The smart business owners research ahead of time and avoid problem situations instead of wasting time and resources putting out fires while losing clients and getting a bad rep.
I couldn't disagree more. We host about 5500 sites and I have to say that the majority of our customers are knowledgeable, courteous and incredible to work with. However, there are also the rude, obnoxious people but that is what it is like in the real world as well - it's not as though people automatically change their personalities when they get on the web.
The frustrating thing for web hosts is when customers who may be wrong from our point of view vent on public forums (please note I stress OUR point of view). There really is no protection for us. We have two complaints against our company on this site and we are a prefered host. One of the customers did indeed get the money back and wanted a host who could walk her through absolutely everything including how to download her FTP client. We deal with advanced developers and don't have the support mechanisms in place to help someone who is starting from scratch. We suggested that and she took total offense. She complains that the president treated her rudely and I can tell her she never talked to the president because I am the president and I am definitely not a woman http://184.108.40.206/forum/ubb/wink.gif. Another complaint is from someone that actually has their fact wrong - our support people are here 24x7 answering email and provding telephone support through 7pm EST. I can feel the initial posters pain in cases like this. However, we as web hosts have to realize that even if we disagree with the customers point of view, we have still alienated that person for whatever reason and that is a shame. Do I disagree with the posts? Of course? Were the people unhappy? Obviously, because we could not meet their needs and when you can't meet a customer's needs and they leave that is one less opportunity to really see a possible great business idea blossom into a reality.
Are we perfect as a web host? Hell no! This industry is growing too quickly to keep up at the pace I would like to. I don't know any web host who is perfect. Do we try to be as good as possible? Of course. Can we satisfy everyone? No way. Do things slip through the cracks. Of course, although we attempt to minimize the slipages as much as possible.
Now flip that. Is every customer perfect? Hell no! Are most customers good people and enjoyable to work with? Damn right!
I think the good far outwieghs the bad and I am sorry the person who started this is getting out. This is a great industry and I really feel that working with good customers who are growing pretty incredible businesses is incredibly exciting and I can't image anything else I would rather be doing. Are there the frustrating days where we screw something up or a customer is a complete ass? You can bet there are but luckily those days are few and far between (at least I like to lead myself to believe they are http://220.127.116.11/forum/ubb/wink.gif. Anyway, take this for what its worth.
Sounds like a frustrated reseller who thought he'd make a quick buck.
Probably lied to his clients about being a reseller, too. And now he's going to leave both of them in the lurch! http://18.104.22.168/forum/ubb/biggrin.gif
As for the figure on the %30-60 of chargebacks, thats based on 7 different non-reseller web hosts experiences (who will remain nameless).
Oh, and just so you know, Safeway is a reseller. This is exactly my point, as soon as the word 'reseller' gets into the mix people run for the hills. Where is the loyalty in that? It doesn't matter if the reseller provides a valueable service, they're still a reseller!
I encourage anonymous comments from people who aren't looking to increase sales.
I just want to comment on the supply and demand issue that the Web Hosting industry is experiencing as well.
If you check the other discussions on this message board, many of them are looking for 'Unlimited Web Space, Bandwidth, E-mail Accounts, Hours on the phone with a tech support, and house/home to boot'.
The consumer demand is for UNLIMITED everything and supply has unsucessfully tried to compensate, then has gotten burned in the process.
The real problem here is the uneducated consumer, who has no realization of limits to hard drives, bandwidth, server load and hours in the day!
The demand outweights the supply, and when the supply offers what it's able, it looses business.
Well I agree with alot of what getting_out has said. Being a Reseller Host myself, I can attest to the fact that it's a maddening business. I only have 57 clients but I take care of 99.9% of their support needs myself. AND I do it in a prompt manner. I very rarely contact my provider unless it is something on the server end that is beyond my realm. Thankfully my provider is a great one and the times I've needed assistance they have been there. Considering they host over 80,000 domains that is saying a lot.
What people don't understand is that many new customers expect their hosts to be their webmasters. They think that just by having an account the host is then responsible for every minor detail in the development of their site. I have a client that will just NOT read the manual or the FAQ's or even at least try to get a form to work. Instead she "expects" me to personally do it for her for FREE. She's nice in the requesting phase but when the work is done I start getting snotty emails because she doesn't like the font I used. Stupid crap like that. I'm sorry but customers or not these people can be really lazy and unappreciative. Am I ever rude? No. Do I ever ignore or refuse? No. I'm just not that way. I'm sure all hosts have a good majority of whiners they have to pacify daily. And while we're playing nursemaid to one, our support email keeps rolling in regardless. Sometimes when a problematic customer is causing a strain on my MENTAL BANDWIDTH, constantly challenging his monthly bill, calling my 800 line and keeping me on the line for HOURS knowing he's racking up a nice bill for me to eat and so forth and so on, there comes a time when you just have to nicely cut him loose and say "It does not appear that we are providing the services you require. It may be best for you to seek another provider who is able to serve your needs more effieciently."
You CAN'T please everyone. You can give 100% and more, deliver on 100% of advertised services, bend over backwards and lose money trying to be everything the customer needs but there are still those who want more.
I don't make a habit commenting in these forums. I basically just read and go on. But as I have said before in one forum or another....do you expect the guy at the dealership where you bought your car to teach you how to drive it? Change the oil in it? Tune it up? Then why on earth expect your host to teach you how to run your website?
Just my thoughts...I am shutting up now. Thanks for bringing up the subject getting_out...I think I needed to get that off my chest :-)
Oh and BTW...People have a real nerve putting down resellers....I would venture a guess that most of us work around the clock sitting in front of our monitors. We miss our kids ballgames when a support call comes through, If we get 8 hours sleep in a week we are doing good and many of us just plainly bust our asses to provide excellent services to our customers. So before any of you holier than thou reseller haters bash one of us "despicable" resellers simply because we ARE resellers maybe you should think twice about it before you brand us all with one fell swoop.
Getting out - Someone asked for the chargeback level so I gave it. Not trying to advertise. Frankly, I know four other companies that have a third what ours are and one host that has 10,000+ customers with a chargeback level of .5% (I'd love to have that). We are in a special circumstance in that we do not cater to beginner level customers. Most of our chargebacks come from the entry-level customers who don't get the attention they are looking for from us since we are focused on the part of the market that is experienced database developers. I can't imagine surviving on a 30-60% chargeback rate and I can understand your frustration if that is where you are. For those who don't know, you not only get hit with the chargeback but you often get hit with a $25 charge on top of it. In my opinion, it is extremely difficult to survive in any small business if your chargeback rate is over 10%. Larger businesses can get away with more. Something for customers to think about who bounce from web host to web host - if you are just doing it for the free ride (not that everyone is), you often cost the web host more than just the money you paid. As for advertising - I have been on these forums for a long time, with many opportunities to advertise and I have not. I was giving my unadulterated view - someone asked a legitimate question and I gave a legitimate answer. I apologize if you thought I was in it for the advertising. One of my main concerns with the hosting industry is that there really are no places for hosts to really discuss their concerns and trade business practices. Of course, we are all competitors, but it is interesting what you can learn from others who are in the same boat.
I also agree with you about the uneducated consumer. Some people expect things to be absolutely automatic and have no concept of what actually is going on behind the scenes. I can't tell you the number of arguments we've had from customers who balk when their site is getting 20GB of traffic per month and we explain our excess bandwidth fees (we limit it to 3GB per month) and they threaten to go elsewhere so they can get the "unlimited" options. Have you ever considered qualifying your sales leads? You don't have to take every customer who comes through the door.
As for the reseller question, anyone who disparages ALL resellers is not understanding the WHOLE picture. There are shoddy resellers just as there are shoddy hosts who have their own NOCs. Frankly, the reseller is the lifeblood of the hosting industry for larger hosts. There is no way a mid to large sized host (my definition is 5000+ accounts) can pay attention to a customer the way that a reseller with fewer accounts can. Very often the reseller is 1-5 people who can provide the hands on attention a larger host can not do. The hosting business is an extremely touchy-feely type of business at the entry-mid level. A customer wants someone on the telephone who can sit there and spend 30 minutes helping them figure out how to configure Eudora. If a larger host was spending 30 minutes with even 15% of their customers they would have troubles surviving. On the other hand, the smaller host will have trouble surviving if they DO NOT spend that time with the customer. I can tell you that although we do our best to provide quality support, there is no way our support is as good as it was when we were 5 people sitting in a room together answering all calls that came through. Once you get into the 15-20 customer support rep range everything changes in terms of support. It is a whole new ballgame with a whole new set of challenges. So, if you are looking for close ties with your web host and need a lot of hand holding, there is nobody better equiped to do it than a reseller. Again though, it is up to the customer to do their research. There are some incredibly wonderful resellers out there and there are those to steer clear of. Also, what do you want? Do you feel more comfortable with a small host that is reselling services and can give you personalized attention? If yes, then a good reseller is the way to go.
I started out in web hosting after seeing so many hosts that just did not help customers at all (never replied to support questions, etc). It is true that the industry is still very, very bad in terms of its reputation. There are SO many scams or just plain bad hosts now that signing up with a company is a big gamble. Even some of the larger hosts such as ***** and webhosting.com do not have what you might consider to be "great" customer service.
I now host over 1600 domains, and this is growing by 10 a day (this is with zero advertising effort or budget). The profit being made from it is phenomenal, and I've recently invested in upgrading servers, moving to Alabanza's network. They are VERY good, and have greatly improved all my customers` experiences. I'm not what you might call a "large" host, by far, but at this rate it I will be before long http://22.214.171.124/forum/ubb/smile.gif
I don't want to boast, but if one single guy can build up that customer base in around 8 months, with no advertising budget, in his spare time, then it shows that a lot of companies must be doing something very wrong.
No host can please anyone; there are always a few that will grumble. But if you look at what ***** mess up with, surely anyone can do better than that.
The web hosting business can be highly profitable and in my opinion is one of the most exciting and fun industries to be working in.
Those hosts who grumble really don't have a clue. Just provide good servers (hint: Alabanza!) and take the time to answer customers emails, and you cannot lose.
I think I've read more complaints about your company than any other. Sure every hosting company has problems, but the excessive amounts of complaints about TH takes the p*ss in my opinion. http://www.technogirl.net/99tales/weaselboy.htm
unfortunately in this case you may be trying to point the finger at ONE person, but any avid surfer that keeps up with any sort of hosting news can certainly say theyve seen the share of truehosting.com horror stories! And though you seem to point to one person for all this, I think the reality IS THIS...all those people would not just make stories up about ANY host FOR NO REASON! Why? what is to gain by doing it? Nothing, is the answer! You are on the alabanza network? they have tos YOU have to follow in order to have your servers there? I am really beginning to ? the way alabanza is doing business!
They are and have been well known in the host biz for some time now but i also know they have terms that you have to follow?? Do they no longer care as long as you pay your server bill. For what its worth....Ive written Truhosting, on more than one occasion, and never got a response back at all.
If a host cannot answer ONE email in a timely fashion...well forget it!
I've read this thread with interest, because I too once felt the way Getting_Out feels. I felt that many customers were greedy, unappreciative deadbeats. Not that I'd ever let it show, or treat my customers with anything but the biggest fake smile on my face, but inside I was screaming to get out of this business just as Getting_Out is doing now.
It took a major revelation to realize that I was dead wrong. Dead Wrong. I admit, while you'll always find people out for a free ride, the *vast* majority of customers are simply ordinary people, just like you and me, who have expectations for what they should be receiving for the money they are paying.
I had the wonderful good fortune to stumble across a wonderful book called "A Complaint is a Gift". It's available from Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1881052818/. This book really single-handedly turned my beliefs about customers upside down, and made me realize that not all customers are out for a free ride, not all customers are greedy and unappreciative.
And it helped me to realize that you don't need to work any harder to keep your customers happy - you just need to work a little bit smarter.
Back when I felt the way Getting_Out does, if a customer sent me a complaint I'd basically ignore it - after all, I knew we never made mistakes and therefore the customer must have had unrealistic expectations, so it wasn't worth even responding to the letter.
Boy... hard to imagine just how wrong I was about that. Rule number one for any business needs to be:
- The customer is always right, even when they're mindbogglingly wrong.
And of course, Rule number two should always be:
- If ever a situation presents itself where the customer *isn't* right, re-read Rule #1.
It's basic good business. Just because we're in an industry where you probably will never see your customer, and very well might never even speak with them on the phone, doesn't mean that you can throw basic business basics out the window. In fact, you need to be even more aware of business basics in this type of industry, because it's all too easy to ignore your customer's feelings and concerns.
Oh - one other important thing to remember. On average, only 1 out of every 27 pissed off customers will actually complain to you. But you can guarantee that all 27 will complain to their friends, collegues, people at the bus stop, the guy behind them in line at the bank, etc. For every complaint you receive, you are probably losing 200 potential customers when you factor in the number of upset people who don't complain.
Go ahead and read that book. Hell - I bought a copy for every single person on my staff and made it mandatory reading. That way, next time you and your staff will know what to do when they get presented with the most wonderful of gifts: a complaint.
For obvious reasons I won't sign this e-mail (wouldn't want my long-term customers knowing what I used to feel about them, now would I?)