White Glove Service will always win out at the end of the day. While updating the site will bring the customer to you, it's the service that will keep them there.
It seems nobody really offers a "test our network speed" setup any more - where users can download a 1MB, 10MB and 100MB file and compare the speed with their location. Those were critical items (and still are) when we looked for hosting.
Certainly some knowledge of basic HTML, PHP and WordPress are going to be good tools under the belt (if your target is WordPress). We were well known for a shopping cart, and nearly everyone on staff knew the basis of the software, with a few that knew more advanced settings and permissions. This was a big reason we were the top host in the US for that platform.
Perception of value is very important, as long as it's not over the top. I still see hosts offering 50% and 75% off for the first year, and then wonder why people dont' sign up for the second year of hosting. The discount was too great! Sure it gets bodies in the door, but it kills the overall growth.
Things change - live by the ABTs (Always Be Testing)