Databases are wonderful things. They contain incredible sums of raw data which can often be put together to form very useful pieces of information. Some companies are incredibly efficient at turning raw data into actionable information. Others, however, would be wise to invest in a proper statistician. GoDaddy is a perfect example of this.
Waiting in my Inbox this morning was this message:
A customer survey? Okay, it looks like they're genuinely looking for feedback from people who have used their services in the past. Problem is, though, I'm not a customer. I haven't had any dealing with this organization since January of last year when I migrated my email and domain hosting services to better managed companies. Perhaps the marketing team just forgot to filter their list for active customers, which I can forgive them for. What I can't forgive, though, is the lack of reason for me to spend X number of minutes suggesting ways to improve offerings without some kind of token in return. A contest for an 8GB iPod Touch, a Windows Phone 7 device, or some other cheap piece of hardware that I wouldn't be eligible to receive because I'm outside of the 48 American states where such a competition would be valid and legal. Something. Anything!
But that's not how things work at GoDaddy.
So, how can GoDaddy improve their services to win people like me back? They can't. But here's what they can do for 99% of their customers to reduce the amount of hair pulling, swearing, and support calls required for tasks that should be simpler than sending an email.
Stop changing the interface every 2 weeks. Just when we learn how to navigate one poorly implemented, confusing, and infuriatingly complex interface, you overhaul it with something that's even less intuitive. Do yourself a favor and hire a head hunter to find some of the better UX and UI people looking for an opportunity. Chances are you'll find an excellent person (or team) within a month.
Pay attention to your web servers. I've worked with clients' GoDaddy-hosted sites for years and, when the darn things weren't being hacked through malicious code hosted on other accounts, they were terribly slow and unresponsive. This wasn't so much due to network speed, but overloading of the servers. A simple PHP-based site should not require 20 seconds to load after a fresh install, especially when there is no database connection being used. If there are too many heavy applications running on the servers, consider moving accounts around to provide a better experience for all of your customers.
Pay attention to your database servers. I have never seen such a sorry collection of database servers in my life. It's impossible to work with these things outside the most basic of commands. A site administrator should not need to beg for a small table containing 3KB of data to return results in under 1 second. One whole second is a lifetime for most databases.
If a site is going down every week for maintenance outside of the maintenance window, tell us why. I have two clients who receive angry messages from their customers because a website "disappeared" without warning to be replaced with a standard GoDaddy message. It's highly unprofessional.
and finally ...
Don't wait 15 months to reach out to customers who have left your service. I made it very clear last February that I was cancelling my services due to the issues listed above. There should be a standard questionnaire sent out to people much sooner than this to anyone who has cancelled, not renewed, or otherwise gone incommunicado with the company. It's just common sense.
One thing I will praise GoDaddy for, though, is their email encoding. The last time I had an HTML-encoded message come from this company, the darn encoding was messed up. Thanks for resolving that one issue guys.