It’s not enough to find a web host that offers a quality package that works for you at an affordable price. They’re called a web “host” for a reason, and it shouldn’t be just because they’re the ones allowing your web presence to exist. Hosting requires people skills, hospitality and customer service in a business setting. If your web host is doing the equivalent of offering you cold coffee and stale chips when you need to connect, you could do better (and you deserve better). The reality is that, after your initial setup, you probably won’t be communicating with your web host unless you need something. When you need something isn’t when you want to find out their hosting skills are subpar.
Premium customer service should be a given for any company. However, how can you test this when you’re shopping for a new web host? If you sense hard sells, upselling or that the customer service rep doesn’t know what he’s talking about (he’s more salesman than techie), those are big red flags. Do you find yourself stuck on the phone like you got trapped by a telemarketer? Just imagine how frustrating that will be should the server ever be down and you’re scrambling for a solution.
What to expect from customer service
Customer service in any industry has some commonalities. It should be easy to get in touch with the web host in your preferred way (phone, chat, etc.) and at any time of day or night. Web hosts shouldn’t have the luxury of keeping regular office hours. Servers and websites are up (or should be) non-stop which means no nights, weekends or holidays. This might be tough to find, but keep looking because just imagine how anxious you’ll be if you discover at 2am on Thanksgiving weekend that your site is down and Black Friday is your big traffic day.
Customer service should be empathetic, compassionate and knowledgeable. Lacking one of these things is going to be maddening. It’s great if a rep “gets you” and sees where you’re coming from, but lacks the knowledge to actually fix the issue. You shouldn’t hear, “I don’t know” from a customer service rep and if that does happen they should immediately connect you with someone more knowledgeable. You’re the customer, and they should respect you, your time and your business.
When web hosts get lazy
Slacking on those hosting duties? Know that there are plenty of other web hosts who will be happy to do business with you. Unfortunately, a lot of people stick with their current web host just because they don’t know any different and it seems like a lot of work to research a new one. It’s kind of like being in a mediocre relationship; you don’t know what you’re missing out on because you haven’t experienced great. However, you’re not benefitting if you don’t move along.
Don’t wait until disaster strikes (like the server being down for a week) to start researching a new web host. There’s nothing wrong with seeing what other fish are in the sea. Plus, you might just find a better host with more professional and skilled reps without even having to pay more. Web hosting isn’t just about the technology, it’s also about the people, and any web host that forgets that isn’t doing you any favors.