I think that the most important thing to customer service is that you have it with some underlying principles about what's important. I'm trying to gather ideas of what these might be. Any suggestions?
Honesty is your big thing (if you can be honest - if you can't, your competition can). I see too many places say they own their own data center - they don't. Same with equipment.
I lost a sale today via phone after someone called to find out how we operated and I explained that we had servers at datacenters in which we rented the hardware and we provided all software & service etc. The person wanted to only deal with the datacenter directly - which is fine. They said their old host was the best, but they're going out of business. They gave me the name, and when I checked them out (these wonderful people stated that they owned everything - building, routers, explained supression systems for fire etc) - with a simple traceroute to the customers domain I showed him they were hosting at Liquid Web and their host was there too.
The customer ended up going direct to the datacenter for support and service, but thanked me anyway for being candor. We MAY see a future sale because we were up front - we may not - but at least the customer has the REAL facts now, and can make decisions as needed.
Too many people with small hosting companies say "we" when it should be "I" and pretend to be larger than they are. There's actually a benefit to being the small guy - personal service.
And this isn't just web hosting providers making themselves look larger than they are ... it's cross industry. The Internet has leveled the playing field to a point where sometimes it's difficult to differeniate between firms. I always look for contact information. Do they have a brick and mortar location? I even check Secretary of State business filings.
█ ProlimeHost- Dedicated Server Hosting & KVM SSD VPS
█ Three Datacenter Locations: Los Angeles, Denver & Singapore
█ SuperMicro Hardware | Multiple Bandwidth Providers | 24/7 On Site Engineers
And do not expect everything to be done in just one single day because even nowadays the companies having tens of thousands of customers from all over the world have been regularly working on building trust over the net during months and years actually since the hosting world is a delicate one and people need to have trust in the firms they would be visiting their sites and placing orders online.
There were times in the past when a customer would email me or even call with a problem and I would fix it real quick and act like nothing was ever wrong. I did this because I was embarrassed that something had gone wrong. I wanted to act like the problem must have been somewhere else.
It is a lot better to admit the mistake and thank them for calling it to your attention. They appreciate the honesty. Really in the end the only one you are fooling is yourself if you think the customer will not catch on to what you are doing.
Now I try to tell them in the simplest of terms what was wrong and thank them for calling me. When I really cannot find a problem later I want them to believe me and believe that I am doing everything I can to fix it. They will only believe this if you have already been up front about other problems.
Newwebsite.com, Inc. 13 Years in the Hosting Business.
Nobody gives you personal service like we do Low cost shared hosting
Located in the certified best data center in the country
Transparency is key. MediaTemple is very good about this, and I think it's a good model to follow....when something does go wrong, don't hide it, explain what happened, and more importantly, what's being done to prevent it from happening again. You'll find that customers appreciate this, and will be far more tolerant than they would be if you tried to hide it.