Some of the best lessons (or reminders) I get are from everyday things that happen to me. This week I had a great example of why we should remember to focus on what we do best rather than try to serve everyone.
I have a website (kevinstirtz.com) that I use to promote my training business. Rather than have a static "brochure" website I decided to use a content-management system to create and manage the website. This gave me the ability to add content on a regular basis which is a good way to draw traffic. And it provides value for people who use the website.
The first hosting company I used completely dropped the ball. They never even got the initial site set up so I could use it. The only thing they did right was take my money. Everything else they messed up.
The second hosting company showed me what WOW! service is about when it comes to website hosting. They found the problem caused by the first hosting company and they fixed it. They set up my account and moved everything to their company with little input from me. And they did it quickly. They communicated by e-mail and phone throughout (even on the weekend) to make sure everything was working properly for me.
Every time I’ve had a support request or question, this hosting company responded quickly and thoroughly. Every support issue was wrapped up with a phone call to make certain everything was okay.
These guys knew how to deliver service. Clearly they place a high priority on making sure their customers are happy and that everything is working the way the customer wants.
As a result, I have referred this company to a lot of people. And they have never let me down. They’ve been first class all the way.
However, even with their intense focus on delivering great service, we still had problems. It turns out they were not very familiar with hosting the content management software I was using. As a result, my website had a lot of problems they were unable to resolve. They tried. They went the extra mile in effort. They wanted my site to work well as much as I did.
In the end, it just did not work.
Sure, they could have done extensive research on the software I used. They could have ramped up their knowledge and become more expert in hosting websites with this software. I have no doubt they could do so.
But, that’s not their strength. Hosting websites like mine is not their niche.
Their strength is designing and hosting websites for locally oriented businesses that are not content intensive. Their strength is helping business owners who do not know much about websites and really do not want to. They already have the specific design and hosting tools they use, that fit the needs of their target market.
My need is for a content-driven website that I can manage and that required software they are not knowledgeable about. My level of web knowledge is far beyond their typical customer. I do not need design services.
So, even though I hated leaving a company that provided such honest-to-goodness, top quality service, I had to look elsewhere for my hosting. I needed a web hosting vendor who was expert in hosting with the software I wanted to use.
It would have been wrong for them to try become experts in the software I wanted just to keep my business. That would have pulled them away from their strength. It would have diverted their resources (time, energy, attention, money) away from their core customer base just to serve one oddball customer. That would be foolish.
Up to this point they have built their business around their niche market. So, they have created a marketing system to attract these types of customers. Their marketing system would NOT necessarily attract more customers who need the type of hosting I need. My needs do not fit their strengths. So, even if they adapted their skills to meet my needs, their marketing would be off-target. They would not necessarily find more customers like me for whom they could use their new skills.
Their time and energy are better spent continuing to hone their current skills by serving their core customers. Rather than add a new dimension to their business (which requires resources) they are better off focusing on what they now do because it’s what they do best.
By focusing on what they do best and serving customers whose needs match their skills, this hosting company can continue to provide a high level of service. This helps them grow through effective word of mouth marketing because their service is good enough for their customers to talk about.
They have found their niche and it works. So, if they stay the course they will see much better results than if they get off-course by trying to serve every need of customer.