HostMetro Models Transparency and Expert Competency in a Market Filled with Introductory Offers, Sticker Shock, and Underwhelming Support

TL; DR: Much to the chagrin of website owners everywhere, the hosting industry is notorious for its robotic support and often confusing pricing schematics. But HostMetro is on a mission to change that reputation. The company is attracting customers in droves because of its transparent, service-oriented approach to hosting. At HostMetro, there are no fluctuating prices or complex packages with extensive feature sets that add no value — just affordable, powerful hosting solutions and an expert IT team committed to helping web entrepreneurs build online presence.

It’s an all too common occurrence in the hosting industry. An aspiring web entrepreneur has an idea for, say, a food blog with a plan to attract advertisers and affiliate partnerships. So she signs up for a hosting plan at an incredibly cheap rate and begins to build her brand online.

However, after successfully piecing together the foundations of a flourishing web business based on her passions, the introductory term ends with her host. Reading through the itemized renewal email, sticker shock sets in when she sees her domain, security features, WHOIS privacy, and hosting plan costs have tripled in price. And, suddenly, blogging about bacon cheeseburgers becomes a lot less lucrative.

HostMetro has made it a mission to make such a scenario a thing of the past. Hazel Dombrowski, the company’s Marketing Specialist, told us an increasing number of site owners have been turning to the host because their previous providers were slamming them with huge bills after promotional periods expired. Site owners told HostMetro they were left to guess the cost of their next invoice and the impact it would have on their bottom lines. HostMetro sought to take a different approach.

HostMetro differentiates itself from the competition by providing transparent pricing and top-tier support for site owners.

“We wanted to make the payment part simple so our customers could focus just on their website, business, or online portfolio instead of having to worry about a huge $200 bill right before Christmas,” Hazel said.

So HostMetro discarded the concept of introductory rates in its marketing strategy. Instead, the company employed a more transparent approach to its pricing structure, giving customers a fixed cost and peace of mind their charges will be consistent. And, when coupled with an expert staff dedicated to delivering hands-on support, Hazel said customers are finding HostMetro an effective partner to help them build their online visions.

No-Nonsense Hosting With a Price-Lock Guarantee

HostMetro offers its services and a pricing model unlike most others. The main idea is to keep offerings straightforward and budget-friendly. However, Hazel told us maintaining the balance between delivering simplicity and affordability while still providing quality solutions is challenging.

“It’s difficult to manage that balance because we do have such a low price point,” she said. “I think that our biggest success in being able to do so is that we have to closely monitor where our prices are set, and they haven’t changed in at least two years.”

This attention to financial detail has been a differentiating factor for the company — especially in regard to many hosts that offer an array of web solutions.

“A lot of hosts will offer unlimited everything,” Hazel said. “All these website builders (represent) tons of products, and I think we put a little bit more thought into what we offer because we are trying to keep it simple.”

Though HostMetro offers unlimited domain hosting, unlimited email accounts, and other hosting standards, it also has to weigh its options in regard to what else it can offer and still manage to maintain a low price point. Hazel told us this requires HostMetro to focus on delivering the features that provide the most value for site owners — for example, grouping together effective security protocols and backup functionalities but limiting choice when it comes to the number of website builders available.

“We pay a lot of attention to what is going on in the hosting world — with our pricing model we have to,” Hazel said. “We don’t want people to freak out when they get a bill. We want them to be aware of what they are paying for.”

Cross-Training Staff to Yield Better Customer Service Results

Most of us have experienced navigating endless phone trees trying to find a live customer service rep only to come away angry without our questions answered. And, as Hazel said, this has become all too common in the hosting industry.

“That’s universally frustrating,” she said. “We don’t want that. We want a person who picks up the phone and solves the problem.”

With that customer pain point at the forefront, HostMetro revamped its customer service style. Being a much smaller, independently owned team, the company has to make sure it puts its resources where it needs them.

“Everybody has a specialization,” Hazel said. “For instance, I was hired for marketing, but our people know at least the basics of everyone else’s different areas.”

As a result of this shift in thinking, the company noticed a significant increase in employee performance as members became more aware of the various aspects of the company.

“I think a lot of our success with our customer service has been from our cross-training,” she said. “Having our people have that overall brand knowledge spread out among everything means that we can address our clients quicker and more efficiently.”

Removing Analysis Paralysis by Providing Plans Based on Need

The hosting industry has experienced many shifts over the decades; however, one aspect that remains the same for many companies is offering too many services. HostMetro found that, when it initially started, many providers were offering a wide range of plans with numerous add-ons that many site owners weren’t employing and didn’t really need.

“And they were all at different price points,” Hazel said. “While that can work for some companies, we were at a disadvantage with our no-renewal-rate pricing that is designed to stay consistent with our price-lock guarantee.”

Hazel told us the lack of customer support, fluctuating pricing, and poor service has created an environment where many site owners are hopping from provider to provider. HostMetro also noticed many of the customers who were turning to the company from other hosts were suffering from analysis paralysis — being offered too many options, too many tiered packages, and too many different price points.

“That’s really a problem when there are so many different plans and so many services offered — clients get confused by it all,” Hazel said. “They ask, ‘Oh, is this going to work better for me?’ and that leads to a lot of uncertainty.”

HostMetro found that simplified plans, such as its Mega Max and Super Max packages, were what many site owners were looking for.

“It allows us and our customers to focus on one thing instead of being distracted by new services,” Hazel said.

The Future: Powerful Upgrades With Virtual and Dedicated Servers

HostMetro’s primary goal is to maximize efficiency. And Hazel said the host is accomplishing this through optimized hardware to deliver the best possible speed and security.

“The services that we currently offer are at the point of working almost flawlessly,” Hazel said, “but we want to make sure that we have everything working to the best of its ability before adding on more plans.”

The increased demand for more robust hosting packages has not gone unnoticed by HostMetro, which is why the company is looking to offer virtual server solutions to customers in the future.

“People need more space, more resources, and support services,” Hazel said. “We want to be able to provide VPS and dedicated services while still using our no-crazy-renewal-pricing model.”

In addition, HostMetro wants to have its current plans and services functioning to their highest capabilities so customers aren’t upgrading to VPS unnecessarily.

“There can be issues with such major upgrades — for example, spending the amount of time it takes to upgrade and then the VPS not immediately working properly,” she said. “We want to make sure we have all of our ducks in a row. After that, we definitely want to address the VPS issue.”

Hazel told us HostMetro is committed to evolving its product offerings alongside changing technologies and market demand. The goal is to stay competitive in the crowded hosting market by ensuring customers have the support and reliability necessary in today’s online landscape.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
April Fitzgerald

April FitzGerald has taught digital media technology at the college level for more than 10 years. Her courses focus on graphic design, multimedia production, and web design and development with a dash of programming thrown in. April's goal is to combine her artistic and technical skills to share entertaining tales of up-and-coming technologies and trends in the ever-changing digital world so that readers — from beginners to seasoned vets — can learn from and share in the experience.