Upselling – When NOT ToNovember 30th, 2018

I recently had a problem with a technology provider I do business with on a regular basis. I won’t mention their name, as I have been very impressed with their support over the last year and a half and I am not looking to harm their business or even leave them. I am just using a recent incident to make a point.

I ran into a problem where they had outages happening all the time. I went through all the normal channels, online chat, phone call, and emails.

At one point one of their managers sent me a nice note that they were looking into the problem, but then made the mistake of telling me that it might be time to upgrade my account at a cost that would be three times my current rate each month. The problem is, I had just upgraded my account within the last six months and was told this would handle my needs for myself and up to 50 accounts. (I only had 34 active accounts when the outage happened).

So this is when I came to think about this subject. I was having a terrible time with this company and rather than fix it, they tried to upsell me. Now don’t get me wrong, upselling as part of doing business. Companies want you to spend more money. I understand that, but as a small business myself, you need to watch your bills closely. Now, there are times your clients and customers need to upgrade in order to fulfill their needs properly. But, the time to try to get them to switch is not when you’re in the middle of an outage you can’t explain and when the customer is only using about 60% of resources in their account.

You learn a lot of lessons when you’re in the middle of a crisis, and how to handle things. Whenever I have downtime for any of my clients, I always put myself in their shoes and I never try and upsell them during an outage. Now there have been times where a client needs to upgrade their server as an example. Usually this is when they are getting a ton of traffic and need to be moved to their own dedicated accounts. But I always wait until things are back to normal and then recommend some options.

Bottom line: while up selling is a part of business, always wait for an opportune time. This is not when your clients or customers are unhappy with your service in the middle of an outage. Always think before you send that email, how would I feel when I received this note? Most people would be pissed to say the least as their sites are down and they are losing business. This is a good way to lose clients/customers.

Standardizing WordPress Theme UpdatesMay 12th, 2018

I am a big believer in WordPress and use it for 95%+ of my client websites. They are constantly upgrading the CMS and at this point I wouldn’t consider using any other software. But, as with most things in life there are some things I’d like to see improved. My number one pet peeve is the random nature of theme updates. Now what do I mean by this? When you log into your WordPress, some themes give you a notice that there’s an update. The problem is that there are different ways of upgrading themes.

Here are a few:

  1. Some themes have an automatic update which you can simply click on and will install the latest and greatest theme files
  2. Other themes you need to FTP the new theme folder and overwrite the old theme folder.
  3. Then there are some themes, which tell you to actually delete your old theme folder and upload the new theme folder.

The scary thing is there isn’t always good documentation on how to upgrade themes. Some vendors do a much better job than others. Some of the premium themes make it very easy, and not only offer an automatic update you can just click on, but they also have a mechanism for patching along the way.

Here’s where I think:
WordPress can improve. I think there needs to be a uniform method of updating themes. I think there needs to be away that people can have a one click update, AND also have a mechanism to revert back in case the theme update corrupts the website.

I also feel that WordPress should try and require theme vendors to have a minimum standard of documentation for updating themes. Besides dealing with the three methods, some themes also have strange quirks.

Here’s an example:
A theme I really like a lot has a one click theme update as I mentioned above in method number one. But as I found out the other day the entire header region disappears after making a team update. The logo, menu, and entire top of the site literally disappears.

Well, they have a header builder and when you upgraded the theme you lose your settings. Now, I reverted back and figured out there is a way to save your header settings. I then updated the theme and then could use those old settings. While this was simple enough, it was not very clear and an inexperienced website owner or developer would not have known what to do, other then perhaps open a service ticket with the theme vendor.

In Closing:
WordPress is the number one CMS in the world. But as with any open-source software, there is a random nature in the way some people develop their plug-ins and themes. I think that it is in WordPress’ best interest to have some standards which themes and plug-ins have to follow. This will make the user experience much better. And after all, WordPress owes its success to providing the world’s most user friendly content management system.

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