Most people know lousy customer service when they encounter it. In the world of website ownership, where you are largely at the mercy of technologists such as web developers and web hosting providers, the question of good customer service becomes as important as the technology used. In fact, it should be the number one question you ask before getting your website built by anyone, no matter how simple the project is.

I could name names, but several popular web hosting platforms have the worst customer service. It shouldn’t take 30 minutes to confirm I’m authorized to receive tech support, yet I’ve consistently experienced that with two of the most popular web hosts (which I don’t use, but some of my clients do). The analyst assigned to my case should be fluent in English and have a solid grasp of the technology they support. It’s okay to be passed from Level-1 to Level-2 tech support as long as the transition is smooth and I don’t have to repeat myself all over again to the new analyst.

Anyone with a business is also in the business of customer service. Helping a client solve a problem is an excellent way of winning them over, even if the problem has something to do with your business. As long as people know they will get good technical support, many will forgive you for whatever situation they encountered. This is doubly true if your technology is unique and valuable because there isn’t anywhere else the client can go to get what you offer.

Good customer service often results in referrals. You may not offer anything unique, but if you provide stellar customer service, you’ve likely already differentiated yourself from competitors in the client’s mind. They will be your champions. Investing the time to set up whatever systems and people are needed to provide great customer service is always worth it.