SkyTrain Host – Offering MUCH more than web hosting as usual

Founded in 2003, SkyTrain is New York based web hosting company that focuses NOT on being just a web host, but on serving its customers and making their goals happen.
Star Gordon, IT & Operations Manger / Senior Network and Server Specialist writes, “What makes us different is that we really don’t fit into the category of a web hosting or web design company…as we truly are and will make our mark as a full service internet company”. This is the category that best describes us and differentiate us from the pack.
Star explains that Sky Train provides more than JUST web hosting but also internet business consulting, web hosting, web design, web copy writing, advanced web tools, internet marketing, domain registration and digital certificates.
While many web hosts tout how many web hosting accounts, Sky Train’s call to fame, might very well be their focus on customer service in reality, much more than just something to say.
In the following interview Star explains what SkyTrain is all about
What makes Sky Train Host different than any other web host?
Our level of service. Sky Train has made a conscious effort to pro-actively develop customer support to the highest, most personalized degree. While a large segment of the industry focuses on providing people with access to some space on a server, we seek to go far beyond that. In an effort to provide our customers with full support, we train our staff to listen to their concerns. We want to be fully in tune with what their objectives are and help them in understanding what they wish to achieve and how to achieve it. Since most hosting companies don’t train or utilize staff in this specific customer-obsessed, customer-is-everything style of interaction, this puts us way ahead of the pack. And not just hosting companies, either. We consider ourselves custodians of our client’s dreams, of their hopes and aspirations for being a success on the Web.
One would hate to see a wrecking yard of web sites that were half-finished and abandoned because hosting companies could not and would not help their clients.
[Editorial note: So true. It’s easy for a company to get web accounts. 1&1 Web Host, gave away 1 million of them. But how many web hosts have ACTIVE and THRIVING web sites.]
Many legitimate Internet customers cannot afford or don’t want full web design services. So they go to a hosting company, which provides certain, direct, but often limited, web design assistance and certain web design tools. Without full customer support, none of this is of much use- and the final web products are unfinished or look and act unprofessional. In setting up this company, we wanted to make sure this did not happen to our clients.
What makes you specifically structured to support SMBs versus your competition?
I guess the first answer is that we are an SMB ourselves. What better way of being in the know?
As an SMB ourselves, we have had first hand experience of handling many of their challenges. As an SMB, we are very sensitive to their concerns. Again, we are willing to go the extra mile to tailor our solutions to their needs, to solve their individual business problems. We are always available to provide support and guidance. SMBs have a package that gives them the option to draw on the experience of our Internet consultants. A consultant will then establish a relationship with them that will attain a high level of engagement and accountability. This single point of contact gives the customer access to someone they know who is committed to following through with their specific needs, enabling them to execute and reach a solution quicker.
[Editorial note: There’s nothing wrong working with a large company for your web hosting needs, sometimes it’s better. But one benefit of working with a smaller business is that they are hungry for your business and will fight for it, as in going the extra mile, to keep you as a customer]
From an application aspect, we offer CashKow, our interactive e-Commerce solution builder, which goes beyond just allowing customers to build an online store by integration of advanced marketing and reporting tools like hot deals feature, newsletter feature, froogle data feed feature. This allows them to quickly post their product in the Google’s comparison shopping database, froogle, exposing their merchandise to a ready customer base.
Our reporting system allows them to manage their traffic in such a way that makes them able to identify the “return rate” of their visitors. This reporting system is further complemented by Urchin, one of the most analytical and useful site statistics and reporting tool on the web.
We try to emphasize even to the point of obsession, the importance of marketing to the success of an online business. This is another deficiency of our competitors- not bringing their customers to the forefront of the real world, where it takes effort and knowledge to succeed on the Internet. We offer them additional marketing services that not only help them to position themselves with top search engine rankings. But also through our opt-in email campaigns that are 100% CAN-SPAM compliant.
As to web copy, we have experts trained to write copy that is correctly optimized with the right key words. We insist on giving our customers the best chance of reaching the highest levels in the Search Engines. As everything we do, we balance cutting edge creativity with technical mastery of our specialty. Our customers get the freshest, smartest copy- on the same level you might get if you hired a professional advertising agency or copywriter. This attention to web copy is very unusual for a hosting company.
What about your competition – 1) other web hosts 2) web creation programs 3) other developers.
Like any good host we strive to make sure that we accommodate our customers, so we do make available to them a wide array of compelling tools like web creation programs. We do this with quality in mind, but also in quantity. Our applications come feature-packed with tools that give the user a lot more flexibility when compared to other hosts.
Most site builders provided by our competitors are template driven. They only allow the user to build a website using only the available templates in the program. The only way they can get the convenience of using the web editor (if they don’t know anything about web programming) is by building a website inside the web editor. With InteliWeb, our web editing tool, you are not limited to building a website with it using only the template driven feature. You are also able use it to edit your site even if it was built outside of InteliWeb by a professional designer.
We are also in the process of streamlining our applications to introduce our email marketing tool and a news article tool that allows them to build a full fledged article website quickly. These streamlined applications will also provide some distance between our competitors and us.
Speaking from the developer point of view, we could speak about our developer skills on a purely technical level, but at Sky Train, we know this is never enough. Our greatest developer skill is clearly our ability to listen to our customers and use our technical know-how to build the solutions they need. It doesn’t matter whether their objectives translate into pure HTML or the more exotic flash and media enabled websites, Sky Train will deliver. We are the custodians of their dreams. So we must.
When customers first sign on to your service, do you take any proactive steps to try to ensure that you are custodians of our client’s dreams, of their hopes and aspirations for being a success on the Web?
In our case playing the part of custodians of our clients dreams not only equates to manning their web presence, but for us it means getting involved in the process and taking active steps to assist the client in executing and converting their web plan, if possible, into a tangible web reality. While making the client aware of the challenges he faces in the path that lays ahead and possible solutions to surmount them. It also means being available to answer important questions and addressing certain daunting concerns the client has when they quickly discover that the web is not a walk in the park, but with the right help they can stay motivated. Like with any small business, success is not guaranteed, but there are better and more responsible techniques, choices and methodologies for doing things that will give them a great degree of leverage to succeed.
When a client first sign up with us, one of our internet business consultant contacts them , we ask them questions related to their business, find out what their goals are and their intended strategies in achieving these goals, and find out what their needs are to execute these strategies. This approach allows us to measure the client’s internet/web programming experience, make a better assessment of the viability of their web project and identify how Sky Train can help them to utilize solutions that will assist them in their endeavor.
[Editor’s note: with most web hosts when you sign up there is NO personalized interaction or assistance in the least. You sign up and you’re own your own for the most part.]
For instance, recently one customer that is in the early stages of his online business came to us because he was unhappy with his website, he developed through a online tool offered by his host. So he wanted to buy a template that he could update the look and feel of his current site to attract more customers. So he selects a template he loves because the design is really cool, without understanding the way it will integrate and function with his product offerings. Now we could have just sold him the template, offered him a monthly hosting plan (after his host told him that external templates don’t work with their builder) and leave him be. However in asking proactive questions we quickly learn about his business plans, and discover that one of his many goals is to extend his product offering and grow his business quickly. We advised him that based on his growth plans…the design layout of the template he selected would limit his site flexibility because the design was too confined. So to meet their needs…it would be better for them to choose a template design with more built-in flexibility/scalability that could deliver not only form but function as well. This foresight helped saved him the big cost he would have had to incur to do a totally new design overhaul to meet customer usability demands and his product line growth when the time came. Now, instead he could add design elements as needed, to give it the necessary weblift…which was a more cost-effective strategy. We also took proactive steps to analyze his current site and research a few of his competitors that are selling similar products.
During one of our follow-up meetings with the client, we guided him through looking at some of the competition sites that were already doing some of the things he were aspiring towards. We also discussed and broke down some of the important marketing strategies their competitors were using, SEO strategies, Meta tags and key word positioning, web content optimization…and ways he could learn from his competition in terms of what works and some of the pitfalls to avoid. We also gave him many suggestions as to what may need tuning/tweaking on their side to work for their unique needs. In the same breath we explained that the design and marketing factors are not the only ingredient in his potential success and even with our advice, there is no guarantee. Because, like a doctor or a lawyer, their case is not entirely in our hands- There is, of course, the economy, the efficacy of their product line, the dependability of their supply chain, their own level of customer service, their pricing policy, their decisions about online/offline marketing, their budget, etc. that will determine their ultimate success.
We strive to support our clients in furthering their dreams, to nurture them, but we want them to clearly understand the reality in which these dreams will actually take root- a sometimes craggy, sometimes treacherous, sometimes unpredictable world of cyberspace, yet still a great place that the playing field can be leveraged and they can surely succeed with the use of a beneficial partner for LUCK (laboring under correct knowledge).
Do you specifically train staff to serve customers?
We have in-house training where they learn via projected demonstration that highlights situations and do client/consultant role playing
We keep weekly meetings that we call “open house learning” sessions where we exchange knowledge and keep constant communication to maintain excellent staff morale and feedback
We have online staff training, where we test our staff on their knowledge level of our product offerings and their knowledge and awareness of available products offered by other vendors but that we can still feel confident to recommend
We do online training through Webinars/Seminars
Continuously keep abreast of industry changes by ongoing real-world learning, self-tutoring, external courses and conferences bundled with regulated scholastic studies
Our staff members are highly motivated and dedicated individuals who continuously educate themselves in their area of expertise and in addition seek to acquire knowledge in other areas, making the team multifaceted and very flexible.
How many employees / customers do you have?
13 employees and over 100 customers