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How to make hosting sexy

2005-05-09 by Tina Lerche

From a historical perspective, the hosting industry is an infant of approximately 10-15 years of age. The industry arose from the widespread availability of the Internet, graphical browsers, and a bunch of enthusiastic entrepreneurs with great visions. These entrepreneurs were hardworking, innovative, (crazy) nerds with a skies-the-limit mindset. Where are they now? Are they white-collar workers employed by Venture Capital, or have they just gotten old? I don't know, but I sure miss them, as the hosting industry has become just as slow and sexy as a turtle.

Let me explain. Basically, the hosting industry offers exactly the same services today as they did a decade ago. A CPU, rack-space, power, and connectivity. Over time services like customer support and control panels have improved, but we have not seen any true pioneering done whatsoever in this century.

Think about this; this exciting, roaring, incredible, heart-racing industry that literally changed the world is now fast asleep. Competition is unimaginative and is powered by two main factors; end-user prices and the size of advertising budgets. No wonder that most customers are totally disloyal towards their provider if the shop across the street offers slightly lower prices. Providers offer identical services and are as undifferentiated as the companies selling toilet paper.

What the industry needs is to re-think the concept to make it appealing to the customers of today. Yes, the customers of today! You didn't notice that the customers' profiles have changed significantly? Well, they have. And they want something sexy from you in return for their loyalty!

Let's face it. Most hosting customers are males. What makes a man feel good, and on top of the situation? The answer is simple. Control. The utmost control he can get. Wars are all about control. So is marriage. So, you'd better provide your customer with CONTROL, and you will make him feel like a king.

Imagine selling services where your customer is forced to ask you for help all the time. "Please reboot my server, asap", "I locked myself out of my firewall, can you help me?", "Help me please, I crashed my system, and management is all over me." Does that make him feel in control? No. That makes him feel vulnerable.

Here we go. The scenario is set. Your customer, with stripes on his shoulders, is forced into a situation of no-control. He is limited with your response time, and in the meantime he is haunted by his bosses, and losing face. He will put the blame on you, and management will tell him to come up with an alternate provider. Consequently, this is what the industry refers to as the "mobility in the market". Why don't you wake up? It is common knowledge that no outsider can break up a happy marriage. And here we have a whole industry constantly asking its customers to break up their business marriages.

Take away that feeling of vulnerability from your customer, and give him control, and lots of it. This is the key to making your hosting services extremely sexy to your customers. He will reward you generously by not taking his business elsewhere.

There is something that I don't understand, and I need to ask the million dollar question: Why is it that even major players with lots of capital are not investing money in providing valued added control related features or tools, enabling customers to do anything themselves remotely, and directly from their keyboard, apart from changing faulty hardware? Why is it that they don't see, that customers want control? Did they decide that this is out of reach? Or did they just go lazy?

Well, I will share my knowledge with you. It is not out of reach, and it is not difficult to implement no matter what you are told. These software tools exist. All you have to do is to find them out there. End of story.

Now you also know why I truly miss the old days of yesterday with crazy entrepreneurship, high-flying visions turned into golden services, a tight focus on customer needs, and the way of thinking in opportunities, not in limitations.

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Author

Tina Lerche

Tina Lerche is a business woman with a track-record of more than 10 Years experience in the hosting industry covering both the shared, virtual and dedicated server environment. Lerche lives in Denmark. View Tina Lerche`s profile for more
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