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Customer Service

Why Customer Service Matters

Written by Brandi Bennett

Friday, July 25th, 2014

 

customer service

Sure, everyone says that customer service matters, and that customer service is important to the way that they do business… but how many times do you feel like the above situation is what’s actually happening when you’re dealing with a company? The most common perception is that no matter what the party line is, the fact of the matter is that companies today just don’t care. Most people get annoyed with it, but few people actually take the time to think about how those perceptions transfer to their business.

 

Does this Sound Familiar?

You have an issue with a product you’ve purchased from a company, something frustrating in and of itself, and, already irate, you attempt to contact the company regarding the issue you’ve experienced. You want the company to take responsibility for the faulty product and take the time to get the matter resolved. Instead you either get an automated response, or, worse, the company tells you that it’s your fault that the issue arose and you’re out of luck, placing the blame on you for the issue with the product, regardless of whether or not it’s your fault that the issue occurred. You rant, rave, maybe even cuss, and get blown off in return.

 

Why it matters

Your business won’t last if you don’t have any customers, and the introduction of social media to the business world makes this all the more important, as all the other customers of your company can see and talk about all of the issues that have occurred with your business in a medium that is directly tied to your business. The more negative that is said, the less likely that new customers will deign to use your products or services because they don’t want the same experience; business will continue to decrease until either you do something to correct the problem or until your company is down the drain.

 

What you should do

Don’t make it simply a party line. Make customer service actually matter. Take the time to treat each customer as though their issue is unique (even though most will not be), and take the time to get it resolved correctly the first time. If you sell second hand appliances and you swear you’ve tested them out, don’t blame a customer when a thermostat breaks less than a month after they’ve bought it from you. If a product got damaged in shipping, apologize; don’t blame it on the post office. Always apologize for the issue. If it’s an issue of damage or an issue with a defect, ask for the product to be sent back, or ask for a picture of the issue, depending on what the issue is and what the product is.

Have a system in place of working to handle issues. Resolve whatever the issue is promptly, and resolve it the first time. Treat each customer as though their business matters, and as though you value their opinion. Keep all negativity about the situation or about the customer to yourself. Treat each situation as though it could make or break your business, because it could. Once you’ve made customer service your priority, you have a solid foundation upon which to grow your business.

 

Image Source: Zetta. (2014). Customer Support Matters. Retrieved from http://www.zetta.net/images/Customer%20Support%20Matters%20at%20Zetta300x197.jpg

Dear HostGator Clients

Written by Adam Farrar

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

Today our Provo, Utah datacenter experienced outages that may have affected access to your website and account services.  At this time, all services have been restored.

I would like to extend my sincerest apologies for this occurrence, as well as the negative impact that it may have had on your websites and businesses.

The outages began during routine maintenance which traditionally has been completed without any disruption. Unfortunately, hardware failures including our core routers cascaded causing downtime and network instability.

Our datacenter technicians reacted immediately, working tirelessly alongside the hardware providers to re-establish connectivity as quickly as possible.

Our engineers are conducting a thorough review of the incident and implementing new processes and safeguards in order to prevent similar occurrences in the future.

Please know that customer satisfaction is of the utmost importance to us; we are committed to providing you with the high-quality, reliable service that you’ve come to expect and very-well deserve.  We apologize for failing to exceed that expectation during this incident.

If you are still experiencing any issues, please contact us via http://support.hostgator.com so that we may properly assist you.

In closing, we’d like to thank you for your understanding and patience throughout this situation. We truly value your business.

Sincerely,

Adam Farrar
CEO, HostGator.com

Customer Service, part II

Written by Sean Valant

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Welcome to part II of our Customer Service series, please see part I right here.

Literally the entire HostGator staff is at the service of our Customers and available to personally assist, from our Jr. Admins up to our CEO.  I have seen, with my own eyes, our CEO call a Customer to assist with an issue they were experiencing that required a lot of time and attention to resolve.  That is not a run-of-the-mill situation, but it is an example of the lengths to which we, as a Company, will go to ensure the satisfaction of our Customers.

That degree of engagement is something in which we very much take pride.  Virtually regardless of the issue at hand, any time that a Customer is not completely comfortable with the individual presently assisting them, they can request to speak to someone with whom they will feel more comfortable: a Level 2 Jr. Admin, a Supervisor, a member of the Customer Service Dept., or even myself.  We want any given Customer to communicate directly with whomever can best resolve the given issue in that moment.

Our Customer Service Department is the keystone upon which much of this rests.  They stay engaged on the front lines as well as instituting new policies related to these matters in a dynamic manner with the focus always being on the Customer experience.  We have already succeeded as a web host, we have nothing to lose by going that extra mile in order to ensure that your experience with us is extraordinary.

Clearly the Golden Rule sets the foundation, we certainly treat our Customers how we would want to be treated, but then we kick it up that proverbial notch to treating Customers in a way that would exceed our own expectations were the roles reversed.

A recent issue comes to mind whereby there was a very short (approximately 25 minutes) outage related to one of our services.  As we monitored and responded to Customers in realtime via Twitter, most of the tweets we received were along the lines of “when will this be resolved?”  There was one Customer who stood out during that short outage, they simply said “these things happen, thank you for being the best hosting company.”  Once all services were restored and everything returned to normal, we contacted that Customer and gave them a free month of hosting.

I don’t use the above example to encourage people to say nice things about us during less than ideal situations, nor to pat ourselves on the back for having done something nice, but I did want to illustrate one example whereby we exceeded one person’s expectations.  Every single time you contact us is an opportunity for us to attempt to exceed your expectations.  That, to us, is Customer Service.

I mentioned Twitter previously, you can follow us @HostGator.  You can also find us on FaceBook, Instagram, Tumblr & Pinterest.  Speaking of Pinterest, we have a specific pinboard that highlights our various awards over the years.  Think of it as an online trophy case, many of these awards are a direct result of our Customer Service.

Social media is becoming more and more vital in providing thorough Customer Service.  We are active on virtually all major social networks.  Full a full list of HostGator’s social media presence, see this link from our KnowledgeBase.  Please follow or like us on your preferred social media platforms.

I could wax philosophic about Customer Service all day, but really what matters is the input from you, our loyal Customers.  How do you think we’re doing?  Would you like to contribute to this blog by sharing a story of when we were able to go above and beyond for you?  Please email feedback@hostgator.com ATTN: Blog with your thoughts, suggestions and stories about how HostGator has served you over the years.  We want to hear from you!

Customer Service, part I

Written by Sean Valant

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

What unquestionably sets HostGator apart from other web hosts is, and will always be, our Customer Service. Customer Service is a dynamic term, and arguably a dying art form; I thought it might be interesting to discuss what it means in it’s various forms.  Being a fundamentally abstract concept, it’s defined and interpreted in multiple (and sometimes even conflicting) ways, even redefined at a moments notice. In other words, Customer Service can mean different things to different people… at different times.  What does Customer Service mean to you?

 

I suppose the most well worn phrase pertaining to this topic would simply be: “The Customer Is Always Right.”

For this blog post, I’m going theorize that HostGator has the level of Customer Service that we do simply because the Customer isn’t necessarily always right; that fact being key to what keeps us so closely engaged with our Customers.  If our Customers knew everything all of the time, then what use would they have for us?  In a way, our jobs depend on the Customer being wrong, at least some of the time.  Fortunately, we Gators are a helpful kind and truly enjoy working with you.

I feel like I should quantify the statement “the Customer isn’t necessarily always right” with at least one quick, specific example: WordPress plugins.  Plugins are fun and easy to install, but they come with a price.  It’s not an uncommon occurrence for an overly-plugin’d WordPress install on our Shared environment to be consuming an inordinate amount of system resources, particularly when coupled with a large surge in traffic.  Many plugins are doing significantly more behind the scenes that one may realize, with regard to system resources.  This circumstance can, in extreme cases, even result in an account becoming automatically suspended on the server for exceeding the maximum allowed resources for the given cPanel, completely due to excessive plugins.  When this happens, the Customer can become understandably upset regarding the suspension, though once we explain the cause and assist with scaling back the installed plugins, then all is well.  It’s more or less a case of us fundamentally correcting an improper course of action taken by our Customer.  While we’re on this subject, remember: the less plugins, the better.

I cannot stress enough the fact that we enjoy assisting our Customers.  The vast majority of our staff eagerly awaits troublesome issues, because those issues are an opportunity for us to learn, ourselves.  We don’t always immediately know everything, all the time; no one does.  But our ingrained Customer Service values will result in us never letting you see us sweat, even if we’re pouring through Google and querying any gurus throughout the office on a quest to answer your question, or fix your problem as quickly as humanly possible.

We pride ourselves on this aspect of our business and it truly sets the tone for our daily operations.  For us, Customer Service isn’t necessarily the Customer always being “right,” but it is an ever-expanding process of serving our Customers in such a way as to always exceed their expectations, in every way possible.

Our Customer Service Department sets the proverbial bar in this industry, constantly going above and beyond to better serve you.  When we next speak on this topic, I’ll discuss some of the things those folks do and some more points on exactly how our entire company is built upon a foundation of Customer Service.

In the meantime, we’d like to hear from you.  Leave us a comment letting us know what Customer Service means to you.

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