Its been a while…

It has been a while since my last post, and I am going to make a renewed effort to keep on top of this blog. The last post beat me up a little with me coming across as if I didn’t care about support which is the exact opposite of how I am. I care about support because I can’t stand when I am treated poorly with companies that I deal with.

Bluehost’s support the last 45 days has been sub par. There is no other way to put it. Our growth has been substantial to say the least. Our signup rate has literally doubled for our hosting products in the last 60 days. This has put a terrible strain on our company. We will add nearly 20,000 domains in the last 30 days alone!

While we love the growth and are pleased that consumers would like to use our product, we only want to provide the product if we can provide superb support right along with the product. It has taken me until today to make the tough decision to scale back our advertising in a substantial way to limit our support requests so we can service each customer as I myself would like to be treated.

We have hired 16 people in the last month which takes us to almost 70 people on our team here. Many are still in training, but we will get hold times back to an average of 1 minute or less and less than 30 minutes for level 1 or level 2 ticket responses.

Success can kill a business if not managed properly. I work hard to get new customers, but I won’t do that until we can handle the load again. Starting on Oct 10 (3 days from now) many of our ad campaigns won’t renew to curtail the growth for 30 days while we clean up our act. This is a promise I make to you, to give you the service you deserve, and the service that we know we must provide to keep your trust.

Thanks,

Matt Heaton / President Bluehost.com

17 Responses to “Its been a while…”

  1. Avi Goldstein says:

    Good to see that your coming out and admitting the issue, and aiming at fixing it, and have detailed the fix. I have had a support ticket open for nearly 48 hours now, which is simply attrocious!

  2. Hercules says:

    Hi Matt,
    I warned several times on the BH forum about this issue, I`ve also seen many stock exchange funds growing themselves to death so I´m very happy to see BH getting its priorities right.
    Basicly, if everything runs perfect on your server, you don´t need to spend money on advertising, webmasters are smart enough to listen to other webmasters and visit open forums which tells them what hosting provider to look for.
    And Bluehost is undoubtly the number 1 on the web, no one else offers such a package for only 6,95.
    As long as BH keeps running their servers smoothly, thats all the advertisement they´ll ever need.
    A great product will always sell itself.
    Keep up the good work!

  3. Alan Seiden says:

    Matt, I would like to say I received excellent support from BlueHost with my new account. I called several times and got a quick response each time. Last week, I upgraded to PHP5 without a hitch (except for my MX records being deleted). I love the fact that I can make a phone call and speak to someone knowledgeable. Keep up the good work.

  4. Christian says:

    Hi Matt,
    I have to say that I am glad to hear you are focusing on your support. I feel that I chose BlueHost due to false advertising…reading reviews all over the place saying how good you are. But once I signed up support was not helpful at all. One of your reps even hung up on me. Thank you so much for realizing the issues and not forcing me to cancel. I plan to stay a customer as long as you support my site and myself…..I will even refer my friends which is better than any web advertisement. You will probably grow your company without spending so much on advertising. Thank you Matt

  5. retokmeier says:

    Congratulations Matt! It is obvious that there is a price and feature war out there that is not sustainable. The Dreamhosts of the world cannot keep offering what they do without financial loss and/or customer loss. As we have seen in many other businesses, building the #1 brand isn’t necessarily about having the lowest price and the most features, but increasingly about the best customer service. Just look at what is happening to Dell – as recent as 5 years ago their customer service was still ranked #1 and they were competitive on price but not selling below cost. Today Dell is losing money on ther PC business, losing market share, and their customer service is terrible. They are today where Compaq was when HP bought them. Let’s hope that BH cleans up its act, improves reliability (uptime) and customer service, and you and your customers will be winners!!! Thanks.

  6. Alex Reid says:

    This is still what makes bluehost the best out there, by far!

  7. Mark says:

    It’s refreshing to get the honesty we get from your blog, Matt, so I hope you keep that up! I guess I may be one of the lucky ones, but I have received only top-notch support from Bluehost every time I’ve called, including this past month. I have noticed some strain on the servers, as you mentioned in a previous post, but it’s great to know that everything seems to be on the right track. Thank you for providing such a great product, and striving to do even better all the time!

  8. Steve says:

    good to know! i’ve been worried about BH for the past month or so as the service has been going down hill, SLOW internet access and the our site has been bouncing up and down for days now! even today, 10/11/06 our site has been down almost ALL DAY with no real ETA when it will be back up again. sad.

  9. Paul Solecki says:

    Hi Matt,

    It’d be excellent if you can sort support issues. I firmly believe (as suggested on the forums) that a status page is the way forward, that way you can inform people what’s happening without them having to submit needless tickets and clog up the support system :)

    I’ve been really impressed with the features but a little more investment in the hardware would be great, had various site slowdowns when you guys in the US wake up.

    But overall a good package!!

  10. Hi Matt.

    I just want to say that I am and have been always happy with your services! I called on many occasions trying to install modules to make scripts work and so on. And I tell you that if the person I was on the phone with did not know the answer, he would ask everyone in the office until someone gave me an answer. We are getting heavy involved with major web design work and one of our requirements we tell our clients is that they have to use our hosting company (Bluehost naturally) because I know the CPanel inside out and you have made it a breeze to add databases, email accounts, check statistics and more.

    Long story short (I guess) even when you have a hard time keeping everyone happy, just remember there are folks like us that understand how stressful a company can be and we respect you for it.

    Your friend
    Alex

  11. Hi Matt,

    I have been with you longer than any other web company I have had and you are still one of the best I have ever been with. I also know html and how to repair my own pages most of the time and only once has the problem been with your side of things. I imagine if someone neutral examined all of the Support tickets, they would find about 86% of them not really needed if the customers knew what they were doing in the first place. I have worked on the support end and I can tell you that I would have liked to tell many to use their brain and too quit bothering me when I have people with real problems. Besides that, you support is still one of the best I have been around no matter what a few people who have nothing to do but grumble because their lives are not perfect. I give you a big pat on the back for making it affordable for me to have my own website without a lot of downtime. Keep up the good work and don’t worry so much about the few chronic complainers. You and your team are doing an excellent job and I know it even though many don’t seem to realize that. Oh yes, at least when someone calls you they can understand what your people are saying!!!!!

  12. Rhonda says:

    Thank you for your total honesty Matt and I am glad I stumbled across this today! I was just heading over to another host to sign up and give them a test trial, but now I will sit back and wait to see how things settle as I really do like BlueHost and would prefer to stay here. I like to be loyal and over the past 7 years that I have been hosting my own domain you are the third host I have had (the 1st had lousy service and I think I was too green, the second I have just outgrown – 100mb space/2000mb traffic x 4 sites).

    Good luck and I hope the growth spurt settles into a fantastic service. PS Being from Aussie I am so very grateful for the LiveChat facility ‘well done’.

  13. Tony says:

    On the part regarding support being subpar, I’d have to agree there. It took nearly two weeks to get a SSL certificate installed (purchased directly from you folks). The worst part about it was getting the repeat broken story every time (getting escalated to 3rd level and then being told yeah it’s installed and working when in fact it wasn’t)

    Not to make this post along the lines of just posting for the sake of ranting, I really do like to the platform that BH is ran on and enjoy all the features that are provided. That’s why I’m still here and hopefully will stay here for a long time. The customer service/tech support issue can definately be worked on but I’m just glad the “head honcho” can at least own up and take responsibility for it.

  14. Joshua says:

    Good for you. I think you made the right choice. I have do doubt that I am not alone in appreciating a business person who has concern for doing a good job.

  15. Ryan says:

    Good call. There’s nothing wrong with growth, indeed, but it has to happen in due time.
    I work at a company that did a similar thing and despite all good intentions and talent, we out-did ourselves. It could all be circumvented had we had the foresight.
    It’s ok. 24″x24″ cubicles will have to suit me now. Haha.

    Anyway, as for your service, I ended up here because of a ticket that I was waiting on, and by the time I had a chance to post this, it was fixed. You all are aces in my book.

  16. Gene says:

    There is an old expression — the truth shall set you free — and it usually does. I very much appreciate your directions, your aspiration, your competitive zeal!

    Interestingly, I wandered across your blog as I was investigating the possibility of transferring my domains from 1PlanHost which was recently bought out and has disappeared into a morass of: disappearing phone support, unanswered tech support queries, disappearing links to their support page and suddenly closed out support questions.

    Its one thing to run into trouble, setup a plan to address the issue and followup with a problem. Its quite another to try to hide the evidence while accepting people’s money to provide a service you’re unable to provide.

    I wish you the best of luck. I appreciate your honesty and I’m probably gong to signup with you because I get the feeling that you wouldn’t tolerate that behavior at Blue Host.

  17. Doug says:

    Just wanted you to know that I requested a database table be restored from backup.

    I logged off of chat, selected a transcript of the chat be sent to my e-mail address, took a sip of my coffee and turned to a fellow co-worker to tell him that one of my tables got hosed up overnight. I finished telling my tale of woe and checked to see if the transcript of the chat had made it to my mailbox yet.

    To my amazement, the transcript of the chat and the confirmation that the backup had already been restored was in my inbox. Simply amazing.

    Just wanted you to know that my support experience has been stellar! It’s one of the few things that defines a superior company.

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