05 Sep

Ways To Battle cPanel Price Increase

cPanel has surprised a lot of us (partners and customers) with their announcement of massive price increase lately. There was a lot of speculation that they will be reversing this sudden and exorbitant increase in costs. However, this hasn’t been the case and they have pretty much confirmed that the new pricing is to stay.

We, at Softsys, have been evaluating and speaking with cPanel to minimize the impact of price change on our customers. As of now, you (our customers) have below options:

  • Move to another control panel- DirectAdmin to keep your costs at same level as cPanel (DirectAdmin unlimited domains is $15/m). There is migration path available from cPanel to DirectAdmin and it has been tested to be working fine and smoothly.
  • Move to another control panel- Plesk – however, the only concern is that Plesk is owned by same company as cPanel – Oakley Capital. Hence, it is just matter of time that we’ll see similar price change in Plesk too.
  • Move to new discounted cPanel Pricing from Softsys – We have worked out below special pricing for cPanel based on # of accounts that you host along with a special “Plus Plan” if you are having up to 50 cPanel accounts. Please review the pricing table below – pricing is based on your server (cloud or dedicated) and your service level (self managed or fully managed):

 

  • If you are a Self Managed Softsys Customer, upgrade to Fully Managed Cloud VPS or Dedicated server for deeper pricing benefits. With our fully managed services, we bundle several services so that our customers can keep their hands (and minds) clean from server management tasks. Our bundled managed services include, free daily backups, free setup, ongoing pro-active server management, 24/7 monitoring, regular pro-active security audits, 24/7 priority support, hardening and securing the server, managed OS updates and patches, one-on-one scheduling or management tasks (at your preferred time slot), discounted software bundles (like cPanel price above) and much more.

If you have any queries or if you’d like to upgrade your self-managed services to fully managed or if you’d like to move from cPanel to DirectAdmin or from another provider to Softsys, get in touch and we’ll help you the best we can.

07 Aug

10 Digital Marketing Trends For The 2nd Half Of 2019

As we round the corner toward the home stretch of 2019, it’s important to evaluate where you are in regards to the goals you set out at the beginning of the year. If your marketing initiatives are feeling a little stale, here are the top 10 marketing trends to explore, in accordance with the Softsys Hosting research:

1) Split Testing

With the amount of data currently available, there is no longer any room for guesswork in your marketing strategy. Utilize customer and sales data to determine several options for each aspect of your campaign. Then, test each component one at a time and let your consumers tell you which is most effective. While this is certainly not a new practice in digital marketing, it is now being applied more broadly than ever. What previously was used exclusively in digital advertising is now effective in testing digital assets of all kinds – including websites, emails, landing pages, and apps.

2) Personalization

More than ever, consumers have options. That means that broad-based marketing campaigns no longer catch their eye. Even targeting specific segments of your audience is becoming less and less effective. Brands need to personalize the customer experience to each specific person.

3) Influencer Marketing

Influencer Marketing

Over the last couple of years, influencer marketing has grown from a fledgling industry to a full-blown powerhouse. As consumers gain a more discerning eye for marketing messages, influencers offer a way for brands to humanize themselves and promote their products in a more organic way.

4) Voice Search And Smart Speakers

According to comScore, 50% of all digital searches will be initiated by voice by next year. Let that sink in for a moment. If you are not preparing for this inevitability as a retail brand, you will be missing out on half of your potential sales by 2020.

5) Social Commerce

With the introduction of shoppable posts on Instagram for key brands, other social channels will not be far behind. Once this rolls out to the broader business community, use this to your advantage to reduce your “Abandoned Cart” percentage. Instead of driving people from social to your website, enable them to complete the purchase within their social accounts and thereby reduce friction and increase conversions.

6) Chatbots

You may have noticed an uptick in chat-enabled functionality on websites recently. This trend will continue over the second half of the year and in 2020. Customers are no longer patient enough to send in a support ticket nor inclined to call a customer service line. Instead, they prefer addressing questions, issues, and concerns through instant messaging and chatbots. In fact, 63% of respondents prefer messaging an online chatbot to communicate with a business or brand.

7) User-Generated Content

Considering the overwhelming amount of content needed to personalize a customer experience, prudent brands will encourage and empower their audience to generate content and share how they are using and interacting with the products or services. In this way, companies can generate a widespread “sales force” comprised of happy customers.

8) Integrating Online And Offline Marketing

Don’t develop your digital strategies in a silo. Smart business owners are branching out and finding ways to connect with consumers online and in-person. A trend that started last year will continue to grow as online stores develop offline popups and brick and mortar stores expand their presence on the web. So, stop thinking on how to maximize clicks or foot traffic and start strengthen both.

9) Video And Social Media Stories

Not a new concept, but one that shows no sign of slowed growth, video is worth the investment in the second half of the year. Integrated into ads, used to tell the brand story, and sourced from users to share across social channels – the more video the better.

 10) Social Messaging Apps

Messaging Apps

The top three social messaging apps – WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat – have more combined users than Facebook or YouTube. So, if we’re following the old adage of “be where your customers are”, high chances are that your customers are on one of these apps. So, use it to your advantage and connect with them to deliver information, provide support and assistance, or even boost sales.

04 Aug

Plan To Scale Or Plan To Fail

Businesses must be prepared to scale – up or down – to adapt to changes both internal and external. Scale does not solely mean growth. There could be instances where you need to quickly scale down operations in response to a slow sales season or sudden market shift. Scaling in either direction requires planning and acquiring the right systems, staff, processes, technology and partners.

Scale your business

Here’s how to make sure you’re prepared:

Plan Ahead

Scaling up doesn’t happen overnight. It’s crucial to lay out a roadmap for growth and invest in the resources necessary to make them happen. First, meet with stakeholders to determine the goals for scaling and identify potential areas of opportunity. Then, map out measured steps towards your end goal.

While strategic growth is a common reason to plan for scaling up, it’s equally important to plan for unexpected changes that may affect your business.

Sudden market shifts, unpredictable sales seasons, or technical disruptions can be cause for scaling your business both up and down. Take part in some predictive planning with hypothetical situations so your business is prepared should action need to be taken.

Keep It Simple

Most often, scaling your business can largely be achieved by finding efficiencies within your existing processes. Find the ways to simplify. Complexity slows businesses down. Look for areas of opportunity to streamline and expedite.

As you’re evaluating processes, it’s important to look at both the initial and secondary consequences. Consider how any changes you make will impact other areas of the business as well as your customers.

Focus On Customers

Throughout the scaling process – whether up or down – the key is to remain 100% focused on your customers. An unintended consequence of scale can be disruptive for customer experience. Make sure that your growth or downsizing doesn’t impact your clients as they are the fuel for your business. When you delight your customers, your business will grow.

Monitor – Grow By The Data

Stay in tune with your business. Consistently analyze key data points so you can better anticipate the need for change. This will allow you to pivot and make adjustments on the fly so ensure your scaling initiative goes smoothly.

Consistent data monitoring will also clue you into when it’s appropriate to scale and grow and when a slow down is necessary. Movement in either direction is not linear, so it’s important to be diligent and monitor key data points for guidance.

Ask For Help

Ask for Help

Driving an internal scaling initiative can feel like rolling a boulder up a hill. It’s crucial to have the right team on your side. Internal and external partners should be identified and empowered to take action. Make sure your IT infrastructure is flexible and scalable with a cloud hosting partner like Softsys Hosting.

17 Jul

Using Business Intelligence To Take Your Organization To The Next Level

By now, the importance of data analysis is old news. Providing integrated insight across all business functions can have a massive impact on your bottom line. But with the abundance of data available, how do you collect, sort, and analyze it to make real business decisions?

Effective Business Intelligence (BI) tools not only collect relevant data from internal and external sources, but also present them in a way that stakeholders can understand. This actionable insight is what allows BI to push your organization forward.

Business Intelligence

Set Benchmarks And Clear Goals

A successful Business Intelligence strategy uses historical, current, and predictive data to inform process improvements and achieve business goals. In order to track true change, it’s important to take benchmark data from your current state. Understanding your starting point should then inform the goals you’re looking to achieve through enhanced data analysis.

Most organizations break down their goals and Business Intelligence efforts into two categories – customer focused and process oriented.

Customer-Based Insights

Business Intelligence that is consumer-focused involves everything from purchase habits to marketing and sales efficiency. Imagine the impact that understanding your customer’s spending history and lifetime value would have on your bottom line.

Work with your internal marketing team to identify key indicators of success for each marketing campaign. Then, use analysis of market share, brand awareness, and sales to improve effectiveness. Organizations with several categories of products or inconsistent sales seasons can also benefit from category performance analysis and sales seasonality reports.

Ultimately, understanding conversion rates, cart abandonment, and online engagement will help your marketing and sales teams optimize their performance and drive business growth.

Process-Based Insights:

While Business Intelligence can have a tremendous impact on the revenue-generating functions of your business, it can also impact your bottom line through increased efficiency and process improvements.

For example, what is the benefit of setting targets if you’re unable to effectively monitor the progress towards them? Business Intelligence allows you to analyze department and employee performance and measure the KPI status versus targets.

In specific industrial organizations, BI can offer production forecasts, cost efficiency insights, and manage quality assurance more effectively. For HR teams, the ability to analyze payroll and compensation means you’re able to maximize your resources.

Determine Data Sources

Data Sources

Once you’ve identified the types of data that will most benefit your organization, work with stakeholders across your company to determine how best to collect data. Successful BI solutions analyze data from multiple sources to get a full picture of the company.

The good news is that you may already have several data sources integrated into your business. Website logs (for example, those at Softsys Hosting), Google Analytics, CRM systems, and even social media accounts can inform your Business Intelligence strategy. In addition, warehouse management systems, ecommerce reports, and call center records would be useful to implement. You can even integrate customer survey information and market research into your data sources.  

Implement

Your journey to a comprehensive Business Intelligence system is not a one-time initiative. A phased approach will allow you to take actionable steps and iterate as you go. Choose a few KPIs, develop a few sample dashboards, and determine what works best for your organization. Gather feedback from key stakeholders throughout the process to continually refine and improve.

15 Jul

5 Steps To Ensure A Successful Organization Wide Digital Transformation

While Digital Transformation is increasingly becoming a focus in organizations around the globe, studies conducted by McKinsey show that less than 30% of these initiatives succeed. As the result of limited buy-in from stakeholders, fragmented implementation strategies, and a lack of specific expertise, only 16% of respondents said that their Digital Transformations have improved performance. This is true even within digitally-savvy industries.

So, if Digital Transformation is important but difficult, how do you improve your chances of success?

Digital Transformation

Interview Stakeholders To Define Goals

Successful Digital Transformation requires full buy-in from all major stakeholders in your organization. As a result, it’s important to involve them in the early planning stages. Interview key team members in both leadership and implementation roles to understand their pain points and define their goals.

Working with stakeholders to visualize what success would look like will help you find the “why” behind your organization’s Digital Transformation. Common goals include enhancing the customer experience, improving organizational efficiency, increasing speed of delivery, or developing a competitive advantage.

Once your goals are defined, work to identify measures of success that are aligned to your “why.” This will enable you to streamline your efforts and resources into one strategic mission.

Review Case Studies

Now when the strategic goals are clear, the next step toward successful Digital Transformation is to analyze case studies and further outline your course of action. Many organizations overlook this analysis and immediately begin investing in technology. However, jumping straight to technology change before a clear strategy is developed will result in a piecemeal solution rather than an optimized system.

So, put strategy before technology by compiling case studies from organizations with similar business goals and learn from their experiences. Clearly document the key aspects of their transformation, with particular attention to any pain points to avoid. Beginning with the end in mind will help you complete your transformation on time and on budget.

Training

Digital Transformation is a misleading term because it implies that technology is the bulk of the focus. However, culture is consistently named the leading challenge to Digital Transformation and innovation according to Altimeter’s State of Digital Transformation Report. Investing in training your team and prioritizing the culture of innovation will help ensure that the upgraded technology is supported by those using and benefiting from it.

“We’re shifting from a ‘digital’-focused approach toward Digital Transformation to one where digital is an enabler for purposeful enterprise-wide transformation and innovation,” Altimeter principal analyst and report author Brian Solis told TechRepublic.

So, to make the most of your Digital Transformation, it’s crucial to prioritize investments in your organization’s culture.

Implementing

Once you have buy-in from stakeholders, have a clear strategy, and have invested in helping your organization’s culture become more adaptive, it’s time to implement. If you’ve followed the first three steps, you should have a unified and strategic approach to work towards your business goals.

In order to implement effectively, analyze your operations and work to find ways to streamline and optimize your human and technical resources. Audit your team’s abilities and invest in their strengths while outsourcing where they may come up short. Drive digital innovation by bringing in subject matter experts to augment your team’s knowledge.

Don’t get so caught up in implementing quickly that you forget to define and document. Plan carefully and provide clear procedures, but keep the line of communication open for your team to communicate when further innovation is beneficial.

Data Analysis And Continuous Monitoring

Analysis

Digital Transformation should be approached as a journey, rather than a project. Transformation itself is in the name, so change is inevitable. Access to data analysis and a continuous monitoring protocol will help your team judge the effectiveness of the strategy and identify areas where further improvement is necessary. We at Softsys Hosting have made (and continue!) this digital transformation during recent years and will be happy to assist you during your company’s changes.

12 Jun

Planning For The Unexpected

By its very nature, the unexpected is difficult to plan for. That makes it easy to push down to the bottom of the to-do list while there are more pressing, very real, issues to address.

Taking a few easy steps to help your business prepare for unexpected challenges like changes in the market or natural disasters will help minimize your exposure and give you the peace of mind you need to grow your business.

Unexpected Planning

So, we’ve compiled some tips to prepare for…

Economic Downturn

Economic downturn is inevitable. If you’re in business long enough, you’ll experience seasons of prosperity as well as leaner years. Take advantage of the prosperous times by preparing for a future downturn to protect your business from the whims of the market.

Start by establishing an emergency fund that can go towards essential expenses in the event that revenue starts to slow. Once you’ve begun contributing to that “insurance policy” of sorts, set aside time to develop a business plan based on reduced expenses. What functions could be reduced or eliminated? How would you maximize your marketing budget without compromising operations?

Planning ahead will help you avoid making knee jerk, and potentially detrimental, decisions when a downturn arrives.

Disaster Preparedness

While half of business owners own an insurance policy in case of natural disaster, far fewer have taken the additional steps necessary to ensure business continuity in the event of flood, fire, or other disaster.

While your technology partner can help with this, it’s important to understand your company’s process for backing up files and data. Replicated cloud services are a great start to avoid disaster.

You might also consider making structural updates to your physical location if you are more prone to certain disasters – for example those in a flood zone.

Cybersecurity

As high-profile cyber attacks have been featured in the press in recent years, most companies have taken some steps to secure their data. However, you might be shocked to learn that less than half have secured their customer data and consistently dispose of confidential documents securely. Even fewer (27%) have trained their employees on confidentiality protocols.

Those numbers are truly shocking when you consider the volume of sensitive data transmitted each day.

At Softsys Hosting, we recommend implementing a third-party security management program managed by our professional team that is dedicated to keeping your data secure. More best practices for data security can be found here.

Online Reviews

For a largely digital world, businesses are disproportionately prepared for online reputation management. In fact, only 24% have a crisis-management plan in place to address negativity online.

Online Reviews

That number makes sense when you consider that nearly a third of businesses who have had a negative review believe that it led to a loss of business.

Competition

Planning for competitors encroaching on your market share is the first step to winning in business. After all, keeping the customers you have is often much less expensive than acquiring new customers. Prepare for new competition by maintaining a high customer retention rate and constantly re-assessing the value you provide to your customers.

*All statistics pulled from the Bank of America Business Advantage Spring 2019 Small Business Owner Report
09 Jun

How To Increase Customer Retention: What Do Customers Really Want?

Have you ever been on the phone with your utilities company trying to report a service issue? Or, better yet, trying to correct a billing error? It’s nearly impossible. These companies know that, in most cases, they aren’t going to lose a customer over these issues. What are you going to do? Go without water or electricity in your home?

Unfortunately for anyone who doesn’t own a utility company, customer retention is increasingly crucial to sustainable business growth. In today’s hyper-competitive world, your customers have options. So, unless you have an unlimited marketing budget to continually find and convert new prospects, customer retention plays a big part in your growth plan. Thus, the million-dollar question: what do really customers want?

Customer Retention

In order to answer that question, it’s important to analyze your customer experience from beginning to end. Whether you go “undercover” as a client or hire a professional mystery shopper, getting a clear picture of your company’s service is the first step to improving your customer retention.

Ask yourself, is your customer experience:

Convenient

In a nutshell, do you make it easy for prospects to become customers? And, once they are customers, is it easy for them to contact you? This is especially important for businesses who have a low retention rate starting out. Each sign of inconvenience is another opportunity to lose customers.

Evaluate your processes, policies, customer-facing technology, and customer support functions to ensure each experience is as streamlined and simple as possible.

Approachable

Consider your own experience as a customer for other businesses. Which companies are you most adamant about using or recommending to others? Chances are, it’s those whose employees and team members are most helpful and approachable. An approachable experience not only makes each interaction more pleasant but also enables customers to get the most out of your product or service.

How to find an approach?

For example, customers who purchase hosting services from us are typically pleased with the level of service that they receive. However, when they contact us for any issue, we try to give examples for how they can get more for their money or other ways they can utilize our services. That extra level of approachability leads to higher customer retention.

Change is inevitable. So, don’t go through this process once and assume your company is in a good shape. Periodically review customer service logs, documenting any problems or hurdles that customers tend to face and determining a plan for addressing them.

Ultimately, customer retention is the basis for any company’s growth. If you’re confident that your current clients are happy and the revenue that they represent is steady, you are able to re-invest in growth strategies to target new clients.

15 May

3 Reasons To Add Value Through Strategic Partnerships

Identifying complementary businesses to partner with in an effort to add value to your customers and reach a larger audience is a great way to expand your brand awareness and gain exposure with your target markets.The key is to identify a niche of businesses that you can cultivate a relationship with to generate a long term partnership.

Business Partnership

Increase Revenue

Looking for ways to increase revenue efficiently, without a significant investment? Strategic partnerships offer small businesses the opportunity to grow revenue and add value for their clients through product bundles, referral or affiliate incentives, or even as a third party seller of a partner service.

For example, Softsys Hosting offers managed servers which are a bundle of infrastructure services, server management, backups and monitoring so that a single product includes everything your business needs from a cloud web hosting server.

When considering how to grow your revenue, it can be intimidating to take on full product development or offering brand new services. Creating product bundles or additional offerings through a strategic partnership is a great way to generate additional value for your clients, allows you to charge more for the bundle, and exposes you to your partner’s client base as well.

Customer Base Expansion

Expand Your Customer Base

Consider strategic partnerships as an advertising channel where your direct costs are limited. If you can provide value to your partner’s audience and client list, the likelihood of them sharing information about your products and services is exponentially higher.

Not only is this exposure much less expensive than it would cost through traditional advertising, the conversion rate will be higher because the “ad” will be coming from a trusted source.

Focus on how you can provide value to their client base (not just how they can appeal to yours) and work with your partner to create an outreach campaign that introduces you to their audience.

Avoid Being Turned Into A Commodity

Partnering with businesses that add exceptional value to your clients helps increase client retention and customer satisfaction. This is a massive competitive advantage for your business and enables you to compete on value rather than price.

When considering potential partners, identify complementary services and products that your clients are already searching for once they purchase a service from you.

This will allow you to avoid being commoditized and stabilize your position in the market.

12 May

What Is Your Cheap Hosting Provider Costing You? Price vs. Value In The Online Hosting Space

The online hosting space is an increasingly crowded market and, for small business owners, it’s difficult to determine which option is the best for your specific business needs. Finding a partner that has a good balance between price and value can be a key component of your business growth.

At Softsys Hosting, we understand this competitive market and know that our services are rarely the cheapest option for our customers. This can sometimes cause customers to make the decision to leave when cutting costs is necessary to optimize their business. Even as customers transition away, we try to serve them as best we can through the process. That’s because, more often than not, customers return when they find out that saving pennies on their hosting service cost them much more.

How can your “value” a web hosting provider cost for your business?

Increased Downtime

Your business relies on your technology. And your technology relies on your hosting. That’s why the primary qualification for a hosting provider should be consistent uptime. Unfortunately, this is one of the first things to suffer when transitioning to a low cost web hosting service. Take it from one of our clients, Surinder, who switched back to Softsys Hosting after experiencing an outage for over 3 days. Imagine what would happen to your business if your site and systems were down for several days.

Here’s what Surinder had to say in above blog

SoftSys Hosting

It’s important to do your research and truly understand whether your hosting provider backs up their claims in regards to downtime. Understand how they measure their downtime and, more importantly, what their process is to rectify any service failures.

Hosting Downtime

Lack Of Flexibility

In order for cheap web hosting providers to maintain solvency, they often require longer term contracts that lock you into a particular rate for up to 2 years. As a result, you may find yourself in a situation where you can’t afford to stay with the low cost provider but you can’t afford to leave due to your contract.

We know as well as you do that flexibility is crucial for small businesses. The ability to change and adapt with your needs and the market allows you to serve your customers better and sustain consistent growth.

Don’t jeopardize your company’s ability to adjust to market changes to save a few dollars a month over the course of a couple of years. In the words of our friend Surinder, “you get what you pay for.”

Customer Service Failures

High quality customer service costs money. At Softsys Hosting, our customer service staff is highly trained, available 24/7, and solely focused on helping our customers make the most of our web hosting service.

With a budget service, you could find yourself wasting hours awaiting a response from customer service teams that don’t prioritize efficiency.

Customer Satisfaction

Celestial Service is only celestial when coming back is easy. We don’t ask questions, we just love to provide the best hosting service for money that makes both of us happy. In case you are in a situation where your service is below your expectation and you consider coming back, we are here to help.

11 Apr

6 Customer Service Tips to Grow Your Bottom Line

Every business owner is looking for an edge. A secret. A leg up on their competition. Anything to increase profits and grow the business. Often, this is in the form of new technology, marketing campaigns, or even new products. However, even more often, the edge already exists in within your organization.

At Softsys Hosting, we consistently receive great responses from our customer service team and we’ve made a point to focus on that aspect of our business to set ourselves apart from competitors. We take pride in our customer service and believe that treating customers well is the key to any business’ success.

From our 24/7 support, in-house experts, multi-channel support options, and 100% consumer focused techs, we’ve developed a reputation for premier customer support which has, in turn, helped us grow our list of happy customers:

“I have utilized numerous hosting providers and none have had the level of technical support that Softsys Hosting does. Their responsiveness and precision in providing solutions is outstanding and absolutely critical to small businesses such as mine. I would highly recommend them to any individual or business in need of an inexpensive, yet superior hosting solution.”

– David Holzman

 

We’ve been with Softsys Hosting for over a year now and have been really impressed with them. On the few occasions that we’ve had to contact them with support questions we’ve received prompt and personal replies fixing our issues within the year at most. We’d recommend them to anyone looking for a reliable hosting package with excellent customer support.

-James Ward

 

Would your business benefit from raving fans like David and James? We talked with our founder and CEO, Ruchir Shastri to find out the secrets to customer service success.

Here are Ruchir’s top 6 tips for using customer service to increase profits and client retention:

  1. Make customers feel that you are always reachable whenever they need you the most.
  2. Ensure that your customer service agents are well trained so that they can help customers in the quickest and most efficient manner.
  3. Provide multi-channel support so that customers can reach you through their preferred channel (email, ticket, Twitter, Facebook, phone).
  4. Value customer’s time – don’t keep them waiting or on hold and provide them with guaranteed response service-level agreement.
  5. Build your customer service team to stay honest and be upfront when the company or agent has made any mistakes – customers value honesty.
  6. Improve your systems by getting regular feedback from customer service team to fix most common issues faced by your customers.