TL; DR: When Hiren Shah and Ashish Shah launched QualiSpace 15 years ago, the Indian hosting market was small, and there was little competition — but there were also few customers. As ecommerce began to expand, Hiren and Ashish grew QualiSpace along with it. Soon, much larger hosting providers began serving India, but QualiSpace understood the market better and had evolved to compete with them. By offering a free one-year hosting plan to entrepreneurs and building a top-tier customer service team, QualiSpace has done more than survive in the new landscape — it has thrived.
Hiren Shah and Ashish Shah joined forces to launch QualiSpace, an Indian domain and hosting company, more than 15 years ago. While Hiren focused on the big picture and long-term goals, Ashish inspired a team of employees to work on the day-to-day details of building the business.
At the time, there wasn’t much competition as few companies offered domain or hosting services in India. The products were still too expensive for many of the country’s small businesses, and some couldn’t even afford to get online. For QualiSpace, this was both an opportunity and a problem. On the one hand, the company had few competitors, but, on the other hand, the existing market wasn’t very big. That meant the company needed to start small and adapt to the needs of its customers.
“QualiSpace was born in a little house,” said Yatin Shah, Strategic Manager at Trunkoz Group, QualiSpace’s parent company. “In the beginning, we only had one computer. Our goal was to provide web service to Indian companies, but few of those companies were interested in getting online.”
Being an ICANN-accredited registrar helped differentiate QualiSpace, giving the company the ability to offer domain registration services in addition to its hosting solutions.
“That helped us attract more customers and break into multiple markets in India,” Yatin said.
Soon, QualiSpace had more business than its dedicated team could handle, so it split into two companies. Its retail arm kept the name QualiSpace, while its wholesale arm was launched as ConnectReseller.
Today, the companies are reaping the rewards of being early adopters as the country experiences an explosion of digital traffic. By 2020, the Indian government predicts the country will have 730 million internet users — which is more than twice the population of the United States.
From 2011 to 2017, the number of Indians on the internet tripled, and as ecommerce gains even more steam in the country, QualiSpace aims to help companies tap into the nation’s expanding market.
Offering a Free Year of Hosting to Indian Small Businesses
Even for a company with such a long track record, the choppy waters of the Indian marketplace don’t make for smooth sailing. When big players like Google eventually entered the country’s hosting market, they began offering many free services.
“After that, small businesses wanted everything for free. They weren’t willing to make an initial investment in hosting. That was a huge challenge for us,” Yatin said.
QualiSpace responded to that challenge by introducing a year of free hosting services for entrepreneurs.
“We needed to reduce the cost of entry of the hosting plan. The goal was to give small businesses the confidence to get online by providing an attractive package featuring unlimited and unmetered hosting for an entire year,” Yatin said.
For 12 months, customers can use all of QualiSpace’s powerful features — and access its 24/7 technical support — with no strings attached. QualiSpace even guarantees that users can move everything to another server once the year is over. And the company has no restrictions against transferring domain names or hosting services.
“It’s not only about getting customers to use our services, but it’s also important that more Indian entrepreneurs get online. We want to help our economy expand and help small businesses grow,” said Yatin. “And after that year is up, most customers realize that free hosting isn’t worth anything if it has bad technical support. Because many bigger players are notorious for their lack of support, the vast majority of our customers choose to stay with us.”
QualiSpace’s premier plan costs an affordable $30 to $50 per year, so some users choose to upgrade even before their free year is up. The team also creates flexible products to suit the unique requirements of its customers, making it easy for entrepreneurs to migrate to bigger plans as their businesses scale up.
QualiSpace’s 24/7 Support Puts the Customer First
Major companies in many industries crowd out competition by offering cheap alternatives at scale. But they’re often so focused on cutting costs that they give smaller companies opportunities to gain market share by providing higher quality products and better service. When global hosting businesses entered the Indian market, QualiSpace was confident that its products were strong enough to compete.
“Many hosting services don’t provide ticket or telephone support,” said Yatin. “Even if they do, they limit the number of times the customer can use that support. But we operate differently.”
QualiSpace provides unrestricted 24/7 phone, chat, and ticket technical support to its clients.
The company makes it easy for customers to call directly and speak to a representative. Or, if they’re more comfortable with online chat, that service is also always available on the site.
“Our philosophy is that we’ve built all of these controls, so if there’s a problem, it’s on us, not the customer,” Yatin said. “Ultimately, we’re the ones who are responsible, which is why we have the industry’s best technical support team.”
QualiSpace listens to its users, which is why the company split its customer-facing employees into two teams: one focused on existing users, and the other on gaining new ones. But both teams still want to ensure that clients — new and old — stick with QualiSpace for the long haul.
If a user is dissatisfied with a plan, the QualiSpace support team speaks with the user about the issue. Then, the team brings that conversation to the sales and technical support associates. When they find that a contingent of users is demanding new features, products, or even a different price, they get to work on satisfying those needs.
Staying Flexible and Seizing Opportunities for Expansion
When Hiren and Ashish started QualiSpace, they understood that offering personalized service was the best way to grow alongside an emerging market. Today, because of that commitment to support, QualiSpace’s customer churn rate is very low.
“We don’t believe in slashing prices if that means slashing support. Our services are important and providing them isn’t free. Nevertheless, we manage to keep our product inexpensive,” Yatin said.
This attitude is the fuel that has sustained the company’s growth and, now, its expansion.
“We just started providing services for enterprise customers,” Yatin said. “It’s in its beta phase, but we’re experimenting with the market and providing affordable access to AWS and Azure services.”
“For years, our target base was exclusively Indian customers, but that is changing. Now, we’re not only expanding into the enterprise market — but we’re also expanding into new countries.” — Yatin Shah, Strategic Manager at Trunkoz Group, QualiSpace’s parent company
As more Indians get online to accomplish everything from buying clothes to starting businesses, QualiSpace will grow along with the country’s burgeoning ecommerce market. And its team wants to do more than just provide an excellent service — it wants to give Indian entrepreneurs opportunities to launch their businesses with fewer risks by offering a year of free hosting and support. QualiSpace wants to be a part of the ecommerce economy’s expansion, and it wants to push the boundaries even beyond the country’s internet landscape.
“For years, our target base was exclusively Indian customers, but that is changing. Now, we’re not only expanding into the enterprise market — but we’re also expanding into new countries,” Yatin said.
With a customer-first attitude and a reliable product, there’s no telling how far QualiSpace will go.