To be good or to be great…

It never ceases to amaze me how companies can run the race 95% of the way and then stop running completely. Let me explain what I mean. To get a company off the ground, any company, takes a lot of work and determination. Anyone who has a successful company knows that the first 12-24 months is by far the hardest (And the most fun :) ). What I don’t understand is that when they finally have it going they seem to stop. Maybe my mindset is just different than others. It is glaringly obvious to anyone who knows me well that I think differently than most people around me. I just don’t see things the same as others I guess. Lets take the hosting industry as an example.

Web hosting company A starts up. They spend a ton of time working on the technical backend, customer relationship center, great marketing, and good support. This is great! The company is well on its way and then – nothing. Thats it. It stays the same. I don’t understand it!??! There are SO MANY companies like this.

Sometimes customers don’t really get to see what we are working on in the dim corners of the offices here at bluehost, and so I want to shed a little light on what we see as our future. Our future is dynamic. We see it changing all the time (Hopefully for the better). We are working diligently on our pagewizard product (Our site builder – Actually its mine and not really part of Bluehost). It needs work, but we are determined to make it the best “real” builder out there on the web. We are now actively working on VPS (Virtual private servers). We are Icann accredited, which means we are going to be in the domain business soon in a very real way
VERY soon (As in just a few weeks). We are considering building our own highend data center (Still just considering). We are determined in the next month or so to get our average hold time to less than 20 seconds (Yes really!). We are also implementing a plan that will happen sooner than later that will have all level 1 and level 2 tickets answered in less than 10 minutes.

If your average hold time is 3 minutes, and your average ticket response time is less than 1 hour you have run 90% of the race right? Why do so many companies stop there. You have a real chance to shine and show your customers that you really do care. Don’t stop at 90%. Invest that extra 10% that doesn’t cost that much and makes you head and shoulders above the competition. In business the race never ends so never stop running. The moment you do your company goes down the path to irrelevance.

Thanks,

Matt Heaton / President Bluehost.com

13 Responses to “To be good or to be great…”

  1. dR|J says:

    Sounds great Matt!

    Sounds like Bluehost has a great future ahead of it.

    One thing im still concerned about is downtime. Let it be bad power issues or servers doing down for any reason. According to siteuptime.com my site was down 4 times this month.

    But never less it’s still the best around and I will stick with you all the way.

  2. vaXzine says:

    You got that right Matt, the path to irrelevance is paved with a billion good intentions. Building a high-end data center will be an investment that Bluehost may eventually want to make. I’d wait a while…

    With a captain like yourself at the oar, Bluehost will surely persevere above and beyond all of the current day hosting industry’s peril.

    Regards,
    J.PARKS

  3. Missy says:

    Hey Matt,

    I’ve opened two accounts with Bluehost in the last couple of months. I have been so impressed with the customer service that I moved another client over tonight — or so I thought. In the last week or two I called support a couple times to verify information about dedicated IP’s — was not told that you have not had any available for a month so I happily signed up, changed my nameservers, purchases my security certificate and called Bluehost to get my dedicated IP — and I was told “sorry we are out of them, we haven’t had any available for about a month and I cant tell you when we will have them again, it could be a few days or a few weeks but I cant guarantee anything’ — So here I am all signed up and cant do any business because no one bothered to tell me what was happening and you didnt take a time to make a notation on your website during sign up that dedicated IP’s arent available and you dont know when they will be. Excuse me now while I go change back my nameservers to my old host — oh yeah, and the rep didnt even try to save me – just said oh yeah sure I can cancel you out — I feel unloved by Bluehost, Matt, really really unloved :( Please dont turn to the darkside as you grow.

  4. Lisa says:

    Honestly, to be perfectly blunt, I will stay on hold for 20 minutes as long as your call center speaks English as a first language. But, with BH I know I have neither to worry about, so I can spend more time on my sites.

  5. Rogier says:

    Bluehost would be REALLY great with some servers in the EU! The speed and ping to this side of the ocean could be a lot better… :)

  6. Will says:

    Oh really. I have to wait until the next day for a response. I guess nobody there likes to work nights.

  7. Missy says:

    To give props when they are due, let it be known that by the time I woke up the next morning after ranting about my lack of dedicated IP there was an apology from Bluehost in my inbox, signed by Matt. Was it him? I dunno, but it doesn’t matter, at least someone at Bluehost took the time to say they were sorry about the confusion, and did it at lightning speed.

    So yeah… Bluehost is worth the wait. Especially when you know they are thinking three steps ahead of the future.

  8. ND says:

    I guess the quality of the ticket responses also matters, just hiring more ppl to have them answer tickets quick is not going to increase quality

  9. Wieland says:

    That’s what happened to a anti-spam company named http://www.bluesecurity.com , the spammers could do more than this company, they began excellent, now the are SHUT :-(

    Btw, I like your blog and how you relate experiences. Keep it going !

    Wieland Kublun
    http://www.kublun.com

  10. rfrederi2 says:

    Dear Matt:

    My experience indicates that you are yet to reach 90%. I would worry more about doing the first 90% correctly before reaching for the next 10%.

    An example is your support group’s refusal to respond to my requests for help with an spammer that sends a message a minute to my BlueHost email inbox. I received some fairly perfunctory responses from you Support, then nothing.

    Again, focus on the 90%, and the 10% will take care of itself.

    Rick (a non-so-satisfied customer)

  11. Philippe says:

    Dear Matt

    I have a number of client sites with BlueHost and have been adding to that number . . . until now. I would like to add my voice to the posts across various topics here in your blog, raising concern — because I’m on the verge of taking all of us somewhere else, UNLESS . . . You improve your own leadership emails to all your customers regarding the obvious increase in downtimes that have adversely affected our services to our clients.

    Even before the recent DOS attach, down times had become more frequent. I remember writing to you at that earlier stage — freely advising: invest in better backup :-). Then there was the major municipal power outage in Orem, Utah that brought BlueHost down, impacting many businesses; that was all over the net. Subsequent to that, there was another sudden significant interruption, which I was informed by a tech at BlueHost was part of a backend admin effort to ‘move servers to the other building’ to improve backup. Fine, but: no warning!

    Every one of these episodes brought discontented clients onto my phone lines and impaired my services to them because I rely on you.

    As I comb through my email I find nothing from you about any of it (except the DOS). No messages from you about the power outage (unless I have missed something). No postings on your blog about it either, as yet. That just confounds me . . .

    Here is an example of what you OUGHT to be doing:
    http://blog.dreamhost.com/2006/08/01/anatomy-of-an-ongoing-disaster/

    The link takes you to the post of the DreamHost CEO post about THEIR recent troubles and is a perfect example about how to deal with it as a matter of the client service you carry on about . . .

    There is a nice relevant discussion by Mike Davidson [Newsvine.com founder] on his blog at: http://www.mikeindustries.com/blog/ The topic is: ‘Thoughts on the Dreamhost Meltdown.’

    Please recognize what has become unfortunately all too obvious: BlueHost currently suffers from exactly the same decline in service that you justifiably criticize GoDaddy for . . . getting big has its hazards, even for you . . .

    It is not so much the interruptions, which are a fact of life up to a point: it is the lack of dealing rather more openly with them that hurts the relationship with small shops like me who are very reluctantly contemplating going somewhere else like Dreamhost . . .

    Kindest possible regards and with all regret . . .
    Philippe

  12. John Doe says:

    I agree with the previous comment. I see grumblings on the bluehostforum.com that since the D.O.S. attack, service level and customer communication levels have dropped, data has been lost, ‘daily’ backups don’t occur daily.

  13. Craig Wallin says:

    You mentioned that you were working on Pagewizard in this post, but it’s been almost three years and pagewizard still seems like a dog.

    The templates offered are so limited and dull as to be essentially useless, and I had to turn to WordPress to find something user-friendly. Suggest you take a look at CityMax.com to see how it could be.

    I would gladly pay a small monthly premium above the hosting fee for the ability to access a wide range of templates, user friendly site building and the ability to build a site that looked good without having to pay a designer/webmaster hundreds/thousands to build it.

    Thanks for listening!
    Craig

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