A focus on going the extra mile to help their customers succeed is what sets hosting provider and OpenSRS Reseller Pickaweb.co.uk apart.
The company was founded in 2000 by husband and wife team Tony Messer and Pilar Torres Wahlberg. Since then, Pickaweb and its sister brand Merkaweb.com, has expanded steadily to serve the hosting needs of more the 20,000 small and medium-sized businesses throughout the UK and Spain.
"The business started in the spare room," said Tony Messer, co-founder and CEO, Pickaweb.co.uk. "It was a classic sort of startup. We could see that the Internet represented the way forward so we decided to set up our own online business." he recalled.
By 2002, the pair had together grown the business to the point that they could quit their jobs and make operating Pickaweb a full-time endeavor.
It was automation that allowed Pickaweb to grow early on. It allowed a customer to easily search for a domain, have the order processed, and get the billing and server set up. That level of automation was a key turning point for the company.
"We started with OpenSRS in 2002. We really liked that when we got our billing system and OpenSRS together, we were integrated from end to end and there was no hand-cranking," said Pilar Torres Wahlberg, co-founder and Marketing Director. "At that point we could connect everything - billing, OpenSRS and the servers…that's when business took off."
Focused on helping their customers grow
Over the last few years, Pickaweb, and sister brand Merkaweb (which services the Spanish market), have grown thanks to a commitment to offer more than just hosting.
The company works hard to help its small business customers succeed, rather than just offering server space and nothing more. It’s a key differentiator in a challenging and highly competitive market.
"Our aim is to get out there, meet our customers, and reassure them and help them," says Tony. "We want to become an online, trusted partner for them, as opposed to just being a cheap provider of domain names or hosting."
Tony and Pilar regularly leverage their own experience in starting and running a business to help their customers. Key to that approach is the fact that they love getting out and talking to people about the Internet and how to use it to grow.
"We want to remove the fear factor," says Tony. "When people don't understand something, they tend to fear it."
Road shows, seminars and face-to-face meetings are all part of the way the company gets out into the community to meet new customers and take that fear away.
"We're trying to act much more as an online coach," said Tony. "We try to help them from day one. We speak in their language and try and take the technology and mystery out of it. We hold their hands and help them grow their business."
It harkens back to the pairs' own experiences starting Pickaweb and they both very much enjoy sharing their story in the hopes that it will inspire their own customers and help them succeed and, in turn, grow into more servers and services.
"We're still close to that ethos. We know what its like. We've been down some many blind alleys that we can pass that experience on to our customers and we can ensure that our customers can benefit from our experience," said Tony.