Before you engage with an Internet company to register you domain or buy hosting it would be nice to know what it would be like to deal with them. Are they going to be warm and fuzzy or give you the cold shoulder once you have a question?
A few years ago “Are we human?” was the refrain in a pop song (The Killers, 2008). The last few weeks I’ve been dealing with developers and hosting providers. Some do business like real people using the high-tech, high-touch approach. Others are distant, unresponsive and a universe away from being human. I’ve had plenty of time while on hold to poke around their websites and discover if there are tell-tale signs of humanity or not.
1. ET says, “Phone Home”. Even a little space alien know every once in awhile you’ve got to be able to pick up the phone and make a call. How would you like to get a great deal on a domain name (a website address) only to find out you’ll be paying double if you ever need to call the company? Watch out for companies who don’t put their phone number on their website or advertise a support package that will cost you extra.
2. It shouldn’t take ESP to find your IP, DSN, or your .COM. If you suspect you’ll ever need to handle your own website issues then be sure you don’t have to be a clairvoyant to login and handle them online or with a phone call. Google the name of the company followed by the word “sucks” and see what people are saying about them.
3. Hanging on the Telephone Line (Blondie, 1978). Why do song lyrics strike a chord with dealing with hosting companies? It’s because artists know how to connect with our emotions. Hanging on hold is really frustrating. There’s nothing worse than calling a hosting company, no matter what time of day or night, and getting put on hold and hearing that they are having a spike in calls or that you’re calling in peak hours. If they have that much business they need to hire more support staff! The best approach I’ve encountered is allowing the caller to leave their name and number and receive a call back. That has a human touch to it.
I recommend that before doing business with a company — make a phone call. Have a basic question to ask like “Will I have to pay extra to move my website.” You’ll get a sense of how fast they pick up the phone, is their phone system a maze of clicks and numbers, is the person on the other end of the call knowledgeable and best of all HELPFUL.