Don’t Underestimate the Value of Local Support

Recently I have been doing some work for a couple of local clients who were almost at their wits end. They had sites up and running however there were major issues, whether it be security fixes that were not updated properly, site performance issues or outdated code. They had been sold on a solution, which initially looked very good and worked well. The initial pricing was reasonable and the launch went fairly smooth. For months they paid for their hosting and updates as required. But then something changed.

After a while they were not getting responses to their queries within a reasonable period of time, if ever. The responses when they did come were inadequate, and seemed “pre-packaged”. The support person did not understand their business or what they were trying to accomplish online. In some cases the clients were being charged for fixes and updates that should have been automatic as part of their expected levels of service. In short the company they were trusting with their online presence was more vested in their continued payments and less vested in their longer term success.

There’s little doubt that web hosting (and design for that matter) has become a commodity and as consumers we can shop that commodity from any trusted supplier on the globe. However, where things tend to break down is on support. Here at Red Fish we host on a global platform but we offer our clients a local level of support. We take the time to understand our clients business and what their expectations are in terms of service. We respond to emails and phone calls promptly and we don’t drop issues until the clients are satisfied they are resolved. We prioritize maintaining existing client relationships  over the pursuit of new business.

We are vested in our local community and are actively involved in making it better. We want to see local businesses succeed, not just locally but in whatever markets they wish to play in.

Now, I have nothing against outsourcing as a concept, but does a person overseas answering the phone eight time zones away really understand your concerns and what it is you are trying to accomplish? Are they truly vested in your success? Is it realistic to expect a high level of service when you are paying only a few dollars a month?

Using another example; when you buy a car, no matter the company that car is assembled from parts that are sourced around the globe. A Chevy might have parts from the same place as a Honda or Volvo for example. Today’s automobile is a product of competitive global sourcing. But, when the car needs service, do you call GM headquarters in Michigan or Honda headquarters in Japan? No, you deal with your local dealer for service. They are tied to the global brand but they also have a strong local presence and are vested in your satisfaction with the brand and their level of service, or at least they should be.