ValiusWP was founded and based out of Sacramento, California. Currently, the company has got 3 full-time employees and several contracted ones that help on more ad-hoc projects. The team has offices in Italy and California with employees spanning the globe from Hungary, the Philippines and, South America.
Over the last ten years, Steven’s experience includes development, design, UX, marketing, and project management. In 2015, Steven transitioned from a digital agency to co-found ValiusWP. His desire with ValiusWP is to bring a decade of comprehensive technical support experience into a service designed to help small businesses succeed online.
Why should WordPress users choose your company over competitors?
We founded ValiusWP with the intention of filling a much-needed gap in online tech support. What we saw, and continue to see, are companies who are hyper-focused on scaling and providing autonomous support to thousands of users at the cost of excellent, person-to-person, customer support. I think the technology of WordPress support is very simple and easy to learn but what continues to be lacking in this field is good customer support. I think the general public is sick of getting technological solutions like telephone prompts and automated answers when they really just want someone to talk to.
We provide hands-on customer support to all of our users. When someone reaches out to us, there is always a live person on the other end who is able to talk to the customer and walk them through their problems. We chat, we pick up the phone, we do things that don’t scale; but we think it’s worth it to have 100 loyal customers versus 1,000 somewhat satisfied customers. We are also very competitive pricewise with unlimited monthly support starting at $99/month. We think we’re the best WordPress solution out there as far as price and customer support are concerned.
Is there a tutorial or video you would recommend?
Well, you should definitely check out our explainer video!
We don’t have a specific tutorial in mind but we really like the work over at wpbeginner.com. They’ve got some very useful articles and helpful tutorials for beginning WP users who are the “self-help” crowd. We’ve directed some of our customers over to that blog and it continues to provide the best solutions for simple fixes; at least we think so.
How did you learn WP and become an expert?
I’ve been working with WordPress for over 10 years now. I’ve seen it transform from a simple CMS platform to the giant used by big names like the New Yorker and TechCrunch. In this time I’ve contributed to the WordPress community and grown in my skills over time. I started learning WordPress by participating in an internship at company supported many WordPress sites. Now I act as the managing director at ValiusWP and get to work with extremely skilled developers throughout the world.
How do you deal with rude clients?
We think the best way to deal with “rude” clients is to be extremely clear up front with expectations. We’ve really setup ValiusWP to have clear guidelines, rules, and expectations so that our customers know exactly what they’re getting into before they pay. We make it a point to have clear deadlines, realistic turn around times and clear work scope and get written confirmation from the client before we start work. We also make an effort to continuously show our willingness to help and provide excellent support, even to rude customers.
With the monthly payment model, it’s really more straightforward than it is when bidding larger projects because it basically comes down to “We’re happy to help you out with this problem! This task falls under out monthly support plan so as soon as we receive payment, we’ll take care of this issue!” It’s quite simple.
We have people come through all the time that need help and don’t want to pay. It’s easier to not take it personally when you have clearly written rules and guidelines. That way, it’s not you as the owner, it’s the rules that you must oblige by.
It also makes it easier that we own our company and if we feel we’re being harassed or a customer is being unreasonable, we simply block them from contacting us. We feel it’s not worth our time to console an unreasonable customer and get them to under our support plan; why would we want such a customer in the first place if they’re going to take so much energy!
If you could recommend just one plugin, what would that be?
Hmm, tough question. Usually, I’m in the opposite position making recommendations of plugins to remove. Some of my favorites are:
Do you use ManageWP, InfiniteWP, MainWP or any similar tool on all your clients’ sites?
We use ManageWP and are very happy with their service and level of support.
Is there a hosting company that you won’t work with?
At this point, there isn’t a company that we won’t work with though we definitely encourage our customers to move off of generic shared hosting to WordPress dedicated hosting. We’ve partnered with WP-Engine and offer hosting through them to our customers. We believe they offer some of the best WP dedicated hosting available.
Do you attend WordPress meetups?
Yes, we attend as many as we can. We were just recently in WordCamp Europe in Paris. They’re always a great opportunity to meet and network and stay in touch with the WordPress pulse.
How/where do you promote your services and find new clients?
We are constantly exploring new avenues to get in front of customers. At the moment, our biggest source of new clients is from PPC ads in places like Google AdWords. We’re lucky to have a really talented team of AdWords certified digital marketers who are constantly tweaking and optimizing our AdWords campaigns.
We are also involved with a few WordPress groups where we can provide useful tips and simple fixes to some users there. We just like being part of the WordPress community and helping people with solutions that are really simple to us. This lets us stay involved with WordPress users as well as understand the most pressing needs of current WordPress users. Although it doesn’t scale, this is a great way to get to know our base.
Do you think your business and the industry will be operational in 2 years?
I sure hope so! 🙂 WordPress is only growing in user adoption and although we’re moving in leaps and bounds towards a more usable platform there will always be people who need help or simply don’t want to maintain their own sites. At some point, if another CMS pop’s up then we’re in a nice position to easy transition or adopt the support of another platform. But for now, we don’t see anything substantial changing for the industry for at-least 3-4 years.
This interview is a part of the WordPress maintenance companies interview series featuring interviews with 20+ experts from leading WordPress maintenance companies.