The Good

Every now and then you get lucky and meet a connoisseur who teaches you how to appreciate the subject of their passion a little more. Not many weeks ago, I was introduced to Paul Ward's blog on his website covering a subject I love: Customer Experience Management. As a frequent reader of many a business blog, I was struck by this guy's humor and was impressed with the quality of his writing. He presents a much more engaging picture of customer experience than what you're likely to find in your typical business school, which - now that I think about it - is pretty ironic (ie, if you're going to TEACH customer experience, and your students are more or less your customers, you probably should not bore them to tears). Plus, this guy clearly knows his stuff!

Never being satisfied with my own blog - the design is never quite right, I can't tweak the theme enough, I write too much, etc - it wasn't long into my look around Mr. Ward's blog before I thought, "Damn, this is a nice site." I checked the source code, which led me to a website publishing company in New York called Squarespace.

Wow.

I checked out the blog examples they have posted on the Squarespace site from other customers who have used their software and hosting service. Not only did I find some really sweet new blogs for my morning read, but each one was designed completely unique from the rest …and all were beautiful! Then I watched their little tour on how you can use their service to design your website, and this (to me) was the most impressive part. You can virtually do anything to design your site just as you like it, and with absolutely no knowledge of coding. Now, I know there are other companies out there who are developing this kind of "do it yourself" software with cloud computing, but I have never seen something so well-designed and user-friendly. Of course, at this point I was kicking myself from going with another hosting company and buying a theme mere weeks before this discovery.

However, I really felt like I should do something to let them know how seriously impressed I was. I submitted a message through their contact form, thanking them for putting an awesome product out there, and no kidding- within 10 minutes I had a response from an actual human. Maybe this is not as impressive until you consider that they are a small team in New York, and it was 5 a.m. there when I sent my note. Here's what they wrote:

Hi Ashley,

Thanks for taking the time to write in to us about this.  It's rare that even our clients take the time to write in to compliment our service, but even more so that folks that aren't yet clients do so.  We really appreciate the compliments on our system and I'll be sure to pass them along to our staff.  We look forward to having you switch to Squarespace just as soon as you're ready.  If you have any questions when you do, we'll be here.

Cheers!

To break that down into simple steps, here's what happened in a very small amount of time:

  1. They pre-sold their services just by having a good product- the results speak for themselves, and people (like me) seek them out after seeing their product put to use
  2. They sealed the deal with their ease-of-use and INCREDIBLE customer service (although I am not even a customer yet)
  3. The experience has made me a fan, and I've already told a bunch of people about the company, several of whom have already signed up. (Because honestly, a fan makes a better salesman than… a salesman.)

Leave it to a Customer Experience expert to go with the web publishers who offer the best!

Photo from apartmenttherapy.com

I am now counting down the days until my current hosting subscription expires (only 305 to go!), at which point I will jump ship for the beautiful world of Squarespace. (And I wish that was an actual picture of my desk with the matching peonies and day-planner, but it is someone else's that I saw on Apartment Therapy.)

Here are several of the awesome blogs I found on the Squarespace site:

  • The Candid Commentary: a girl after my own heart, Dee writes about technology, fashion and beauty
  • Cake Spy: an adorable blog about deserts (or as they say in the Italian version of English, "sweeties")… good recipes too!
  • Gwen Bell - Big Love in a Small World: there are many things to love about this blog, including the yoga/geek combo and the incredible writer/designer (check out her blog on Coco Chanel… I'm smitten)
  • 30 Second Life: it is what it says… man buys Flip, man records daily life, man presents it for us in 30 second mashups. It's beautiful.
  • Octopus vs. Squirrel: a blog of unique and beautiful illustrations
  • Squaregirl: full of optimism and written by one of the designers at Squarespace

I love finding good stuff!