Archive for January, 2011

Customer Service – “Its about time!”
by Dan on January 27th, 2011

By the time you read through this, you will likely be asking yourself what my experience has to do with Bear with me, I promise it does.

Not only do I love electronics and technology, I am a closet motor-head too. I love horsepower. I love speed. The other night as I was on my way home from the office, I turned on my windshield wipers on my jeep to clear off a bit of snow. As the wiper reached their peak and started back down the windshield, I heard a terrible scratching noise and immediately realized that those wipers needed to be replaced. No, replacing wipers is not what I use to qualify myself as a motor-head ;-). Being the DIY’er I am, I headed to the local auto-parts store that just happened to be around the corner.

Normally, I dislike this store, the guys that have worked there have historically been little better than chimpanzees when it comes to truly understanding how a modern automobile actually works. They are never helpful when I need them to be. Most of the time my visits end up with me correcting advice they are trying to give to the poor sap standing in line in front of me. I was prepared this night however. I was like any other guy; Have a plan, get in, find what I need, pay for it, get out and keep my mouth shut.

I was quietly using their part identification tool to find the windshield wipers I needed, hoping I wouldn’t be noticed, when I heard the standard “can I help you find something”. I cringed and replied with “I’m just looking for wipers” while pointing at the tool.  This parts guy was persistent though and asked for the make and model of my vehicle. He then proceeded to find the wipers I needed and gave me the part numbers. They had quite a selection; many different brands and designs that all fit.

Still I wasn’t terribly impressed, to me he was only meeting the minimum requirements of his job at this point. What he did next was the impressive part. He walked out from behind his counter and pointed out a promotion the store was running on a specific brand and type of wiper blade that was exactly what I was looking for. I am always a believer in “you get what you pay for.” I honestly would have picked the most expensive wipers (I hadn’t even noticed the promotion) and gone with them and the store would have picked up the better profit margin. However, this guy pointed out (and I remember from my days as a parts slinger) that most of this type of stuff comes from the same factory regardless of brand and are generally of the same quality. I was impressed by his willingness to buck the lazy and disinterested trend. It wasn’t a huge gesture but I was impressed by the fact that he stepped up when he obviously didn’t need to.

Did he change my entire opinion of the store for which he worked? No. But he certainly improved it drastically and I am likely to visit their store again.

You might ask yourself how this customer service story has that bearing on I promised earlier. To me, the application of our upcoming platform and pricing model fit the same focus and I aim to have the same impact on the our Resellers that this “parts guy” had on me. I want to give our clients what they need and want at a price point that makes sense. I want to see a better partnership established and I am excited to see my front line employees engage our clients with an improved level of interest.

Taking a Stand
by Dan on January 21st, 2011

Its been a couple of weeks since I posted. The anxiety has been building and along with it, the stress, I have this nagging tension pain between my shoulder blades, but we are really close to launching our new platform. Talking about the progress we have made feels therapeutic to be honest.

So you may ask, “whats so different with your pricing model that it deserves its own post.” Here is the skinny: Buy what you need, when you need it and do it from your control panel instantly.

There were some risks associated with this model and they were intimidating to some degree. You know what they say though, if a change didn’t scare you, it probably wasn’t big enough. This is really where we start to take our stand. If one considers what type of position this puts us in with our clients, one would soon see that giving our resellers the ability to buy only what they need, instantly removes our ability to market our Classic Reseller Hosting by overselling it. Yes you read that correctly, this is the end of overselling and it fits our stability focus like a glove. We aren’t going to oversell and overpopulate our servers, we can’t. We did however determine what our pricing per resource unit has to be to remain profitable and we are going to stick to it.

Applying this same pricing model to our competition, you’ll realize that our price per resource unit is higher than our competition. The difference is that we expect you to use up every scrap of the resources you purchase rather than selling you a product we hope you never crack open. I think the price differences are minimal once you consider this perspective and once you factor in the increased stability introduced by our focus, our product becomes a no brainer.

Our Classic Reseller Hosting pricing model will allow our resellers to buy Disk Space, Bandwidth and IP Addresses independently of one another and in small increments. We won’t limit resellers to the number of accounts they create or host while still giving them the ability to administer their packages and marketing as they see fit.

Pricing will be broken into two tiers with better pricing provided to those resellers that buy more. We still made this simple however, and the threshold into the 2nd tier pricing will simply be the amount of disk space purchased for resell. Once our resellers have purchased more than 100 GB of disk space from us per month, they will automatically be moved into our 2nd tier of pricing.

All in all this is an exciting time, but I am glad that we are getting close to launch. The next several weeks will be very interesting!