Are Web Hosts Following The Trend of Doctors?

I was reading a recent article over at Amex’s Open Forum about the Death of Private Practice. In the article, it discusses how the private practice doctor that knows his or her patients is becoming a thing of the past. In its place is a huge corporate machine that is replacing “personal” with the business of health care.

It got me thinking about how web hosting is closely tied to this change for doctors…

The power of the machine

Instead of your friendly local doctor, you now often have a large corporation running a group of doctors. Add to this a large patient list, and the objective has now become get the patients in and out as quickly as possible.

It often feels like departing an airplane – The doctors have a nice smile and say nice things, but they are clearly more interested in getting you out the door then listening to your story and getting to know you.

Web hosting is leaning heavily in this direction as well. The days of the smaller hosts that offered great personal service are dwindling. Instead, large corporations and investment groups run these behemoth hosts. Sure, many may offer rock bottom prices, but support is either missing or severely lacking in expertise, and you are referred to by a customer number instead of your name.

It’s a shame, because web hosting done right is all about understanding the client and offering personal service that solves problems quickly.

Personal often means better service

I visited my doctor recently. He’s a great physician, and knows who I am when he walks in the door. I had a pain in my side, and wanted to make sure it was nothing serious (turned out to be inflamed cartilage). The doctor said it was nothing to worry about.

However, he knew I liked to play golf, and asked if it bothered me during my swing. I said it did, but it was something I could live with. He suggested a cortisone shot to numb the pain so I could play without it bothering me.

The moral of the story? If he did not have a personal relationship with me, the visit would have ended with him saying it’s nothing to worry about, and I would have had a painful golf season.

Hosting is no different when it comes to personal service

If your web host knows you and understands your business, it can lead to help and suggestions that you otherwise would have missed out on. It’s these little benefits that can really make a difference for your website and your bottom line.

Some specific examples here at LexiConn include:

Zip code question leads to better usability
A client emailed asking what caused the zip code to appear on their shopping cart page. We gave him the answer and reasons, but we also noticed the text was just “zip code”. Knowing that this is often a point of confusion for some shoppers (as this is actually the shipping / ship-to zip code), we suggested renaming the text to be more clear. We heard back from the client that this simple change cut down on support emails and calls from their customers.

Google checkout question improves checkout flow
A client calls and ask how to add Google Checkout to their shopping cart. We explain the simple steps to enable this payment option in their ShopSite ® store. We also notice they are not running the latest version, which makes Google Checkout more customer friendly (by removing a pre-Google screen). We get the client upgraded and explain how to disable the extra screen. Bottom line: Avoided confusion for their customers.

Dedicated server client asks if server supports software – faster page loads as a result
A managed dedicated server client asks if the server they have will support a specific software application. The simple answer was “yes”. However, we knew they had a busy site that was already using a lot of resources on the server. So we suggested implementing caching and off-loading some intensive dynamic portions to be static. The end result: Loading on the server dropped, and their pages loaded faster and they had more room to grow.

Choose a host that understands you and your business

Who you host with matters. If you want your site and online business to be the best it can be, saving a few dollars a month or choosing a big name host may prove to be quite costly down the road. Instead, find a web host that caters to your line of business, and can offer truly exceptional personal service. This “synergy” will pay for itself in no time.

What do you think? Have you experienced either great personal service or have you been let down by cold, impersonal support?

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