Web Hosting and the Airline Industry…

As I write this I am sitting on a plane on my way to Knotts Berry Farm and Six Flags(Magic Mountain) in Southern California with 2 of my children. It occurs to me that the airline industry could learn a lot from the web hosting industry. How you might ask? By LISTENING to the customer!

The web hosting industry in my opinion is completely driven by the market. We do what YOU the customer wants. Those that can provide what the customer needs for a low and fair price thrive. Those that can’t fade into the sunset…

Let me give you an example of what I mean. A couple of months ago my wife and I were flying back to Salt Lake City from a short trip to Manhatten. We flew on Delta airlines who’s hub happens to be Salt Lake City. We were tired and wanted a little extra room. I inquired about upgrading to first class since they made an announcement that there were 5 seats still available. The person at the counter said that because we had “internet” tickets we paid too little and so had a “T” ticket which wasn’t upgradeable for the $100 price they had announced. I asked how I might obtain a different ticket so that we could upgrade to first class. They said I could pay an additional $430 per ticket and then pay the $100 per ticket on top of that to upgrade to first class.

I looked them straight in the eye and explained that I knew EXACTLY why Delta airlines is in bankruptcy. They simply don’t give the customer what they want. Anyone who flies Delta regularly knows their service is extremely poor on all fronts. It isn’t the fault of their employees either. The management doesn’t create an environment where customer service comes first. The employees of Delta are just as disgusted with their own company as most customers are. Compare that with low cost competitor South West Airlines and you can see why South West does so well. It isn’t all about cost. Its about service at a FAIR price.

Being the type of person to get what I want I found a work around to Delta’s poor service. I simply informed the flight attendant when I boarded the plane that I would like to give her $200 to split between her and her coworker for my wife and I to sit in the still unsold first class seats. She quickly obliged. The flight attendants received a little extra spending $$$, I got what I wanted, and the only ones hurt were the dingbats at Delta who set their ridiculous rules to anger the customer.

Businesses succeed when they listen to their customers. They flop when they don’t. We will always listen to what our customers have to say. This includes the good and the bad. We can’t be all things to all people, but we can always do better than where we are today!

Matt Heaton / Bluehost.com

12 Responses to “Web Hosting and the Airline Industry…”

  1. A good read, you are right on the money about listening to customers, with that attitude Bluehost is sure to have many happy clients.

    P.S. Thanks for tip on getting upgraded to first class, I’ll have to store that one in the memory bank for future use.

  2. Michel Awad says:

    Dear Matt Heaton,
    You are very right, obviously I had a good experience about that with Bluehost, when I purchased my Bluehost account, the storage was 4G.B and bandwidth 100G.B after six months I was astonished for the great upgrade of Bluehost to give 10G.B storage and 250G.B, but I was afraid that I will not be considered with this, while I truly need it. But one call to the Bluehost support was enough to add these extras to my account; this was a good reason to trust Bluehost for their customer care.

  3. Jim Holley says:

    I replied to your previous message with a short testimonial, as I have been very pleased to have joined your team.

    Being a Customer service company myself, your opinions on the “airlines” was dead on, and not just Delta. Too many others suffer the same “could care less” attitude, unlike the people I have spoke with at bluehost. Your people seem to really be happy to have helped me when we speak.

    My account will be with you as long as your around, thanks for putting together a good product and a team of service oriented folks that make you feel like someone, and not something.

  4. Thomas Rowley says:

    Hi Matt!

    First off, I do not TOTALLY agree with the statement “Anyone who flies Delta regularly knows their service is extremely poor on all fronts”. I am a Platinum Elite member of the Sky Mile team as well as a United Premiere member and American AAdvantage Gold member. With all of my travels, I can honestly say that ALL airlines have their share of bad days. And personally, Delta has been one of the better airlines to me over the years!! Now, to my point…..

    I find it a bit odd that you are comfortable writing about ANY company representative who will break the rules for a little incentive on the side. At the same time, you you are assuming that you know “EXACTLY why the employee’s company is in bankruptcy”. If ANY business has employees who do not follow the rules and pricing guidelines as set forth by the management team, it would seem to me that THIS would be a bigger contributing factor as to why that business would be in bankruptcy than the fact that they do not listen to what their customers want. Also, are you suggesting that it would be OK for your customers to bribe an employee at Bluehost.com if we are not happy with a price quoted to us? I woud think not!

    I do appreciate the conceptual idea of your blog. Yes, businesses need to listen to their customers. And so far, Bluehost.com has done just that. I just wanted to share my thoughts after reading your blog. I hope you continue to keep up the good work!

  5. Larry Eisenstein says:

    Hi Matt,

    I really like you blog. You have keen insight to many areas and I find myself agreeing with you 95% of the time. Keep on bloggin’

    But, like the poster above, I think posting that the Delta employees took a bribe from you is a little dangerous(to them). A Delta manager could easily look up your flight, and find the employees that took the bribe(although unlikely, it could happen).

    I do agree with your analysis of why Delta is in bankruptcy. The previous poster is assuming that you meant, this was the only reason they are in bankruptcy. Although, I don’t think what the employees did was right, I also have suffered because of Delta’s poor customer service.

    The thing that really bothers me about this whole story is to know that the government gave Delta that HUGE bailout and in the end, they will still end up declaring bankruptcy. My taxes are higher because these idiots at Delta(and in Washington) don’t know how to manage a business. All the government did was short-circuit the free market.

  6. Man we think a lot alike. Are we related?

  7. A.Gabston-Howell says:

    Delta made an announcement (an offer, if you will), but discriminated between customers based upon ticket origins. A compromise proposal was made, and a ridiculous counter-proposal was tabled by an unempowered front-liner.

    Delta’s corporate culture is clear and you do, indeed, know why they are in bankruptcy.

    They fail to grasp your own words: “It isn’t all about cost. Its about service at a FAIR price.”

    Some of float the family budget a bit to utilize BlueHost services, and you folks give us good value for our money. Don’t forget that.

  8. Pamela says:

    I work on a MAC. Is Bluehost compatible with MAC OS X 10.3 and higher? I need to know ASAP-I build sites and after extensive research I found BlueHost on TRAFFICSWARM.com and would like to join Bluehost to build sites for businesses, including mine.

    Thanks : )

  9. Dieter says:

    LOL… I like your style. When gentle persuasion doesn’t work resort to bribery. I guess now I know the reason why you guys are so good at what you do. Great tech support btw. Keep that corporate Ideal you have. while everyone else has forgotten that ” the customer comes first ” you re-e ( I ) nforce it.


  10. LaLa says:

    LOL. I only fly Southwest. Wanna know why? They’re mostly on time and their employees seem real. They joke, sing, and pretty much have an awesome time or at least act like they are. I always come off a Southwest flight smiling like when the flight attendant made clip-clop noises (as in a horse galloping) and said, “Whoa, Nellie!” as our plane came in for a landing and it seemed like it would never stop. 😉 Other airlines employees’ personalities seem as starched as their prim and proper uniforms and, geez Louise, could they at least crack a smile?

    Personally, I love that you upgraded on the side. And, no, I don’t think it’s why Delta is in bankruptcy. How hard is it to figure out that you give a customer what they want, at a reasonable price, and remember that they are paying so treat them that way?

    Here’s a concept. Offer tons of low-cost flights with superior service. Fire any employee whose eyes don’t twinkle and can’t tell a funny joke with 5 minutes notice. Watch the customers pour in for those low-cost flights and nice employees. Keep offering those low-cost prices and add planes to your fleet. It’s similar to the concept of the discount rack, which always makes me mad. If they can sell it for 50 cents on the dollar, why didn’t they do that in the first place? *sigh* I know…profits for the big dudes in corporate.

    Anyway, just my .02 cents. :)

  11. […] mattheaton.com » Blog Archive » Web Hosting and the Airline Industry… “I would like to give her $200 to split between her and her coworker for my wife and I to sit in the still unsold first class seats. She quickly obliged.” – Is this for real ? Is this not bribe ? Ok ? (tags: web hosting bluehost) […]

  12. Yeesha says:

    I was actually surfing the web to find a tax consultant in my area for my job. I ended up here and was reading what you wrote. I am an employee for a small airline business that operates for Delta as a connection carrier. I have worked our smaller regional jets to our larger reginal jets, which some people still find very small. The ERJ 170’s.
    I didn’t know how the ticket process worked when I first started. I made friends at work that were agents and I learned allot, most of which I find disturbing. The ticket agents do not have control over allot. They usually have to find a supervisor to let them get away with what the customer “wants” over what they are allowed to do. If you buy a ticket on price line or another discount web sight and the flight is oversold and no one volunteers to give up their seat, they bump the folks that bought their tickets from there. I find that unfair. I believe it should be who checked in last, at ANY destination. Therefore that is why you got the ridiculous round about on how to upgrade your ticket. You didn’t spend the grand price for the ticket through delta so they will do what they can to get their money’s worth out of the customer.
    I have 6 seats of first class on the jets that I work on. Most of the time they are not full. A 2 hour flight is hardly worth the price for those seats compared to the seats in the back, which are bigger than a seat in the MD80’s. We occasionally get a report before we leave and it lists all of our Elite or club member passengers. We will upgrade them to first class if there is room. I am such a talker, that I tend to make friends on most flights and I find out that I get allot of customers coming back the next day on my flight that I get all excited because I am going to upgrade them if there is room :) I however would not have taken money if asked from a passenger to upgrade, I would have taken the gesture as a complement and done it if there was room and if my other coworker didn’t mind. You’re right, not all employees are happy with the way things are run, but we cannot really do much about it. We never see our management and it’s just as hard for us to get a hold of them as it is for a customer to. The only time you hear from them is if we get into trouble. lol.
    I like to see people happy and wish all of our employees were the same way. I commute back and forth to work by flying on United and Delta. I see some rude and unhappy people out there, and only hope it’s a bad day. I know that not everyone can hide it well, I am one of those people. Many times it’s been a 12 hour day and there’s yet another delay due to weather and it’s my fault and I have been yelled at by a few hundred people by the time that last flight rolls around and there are more mad people looking at me. But I can say from my end, that I try, I might not smile the entire time, but I sure to bite my though, and sometimes I think life would be easier if it could start from the beginning at Check in to the time a customer walks on the plane happy.
    Thanks for the read and know that not all of us flight attendants or gate agents are not always mean :)

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