Coastal Homes – Emergency Recovery
Coastal Homes is a letting agency that specializes in lettings only, as such supplying information about available properties via their website is critical to business.
CTS was contacted by Coastal Homes Director Martin Adshead who had just received notification from his existing website designer who was hosting the site to say:-
We are closing our business effective immediately and all servers and websites will be unavailable from this time. Please don’t contact us as we are unable to respond in any way.
Obviously this was causing some distress to all concerned. Mr Adshead explained that the only contact numbers he had available were not being answered and that he had no access to his website.
We took the job on with a view to completing the following tasks ASAP:-
- Contact previous provider and assess the likely-hood of obtaining a backup of the data/site
- Creating a new domain (for speed) and putting a website up that would provided a web presence
- Provide email to the office
- Modify the web presence site to provide a way to add properties for advertising
We did manage to track down the home telephone number of the previous provider and spoke with him. He explained that the system he had been using was such that all his clients shared the same database and that it was almost impossible to separate the data for one client into a single database. He also explained that the website was not available to use as a stand alone site.
As a result we took an alternative root and identified the style of the site by using the Way Back Machine and then created a stand alone site for web presence. Webmail was provided as soon as the domain name had been purchased and made live.
Within 10 days we have a working site that allowed Coastal Homes to enter their available properties online for the public.
The site was used for about 5 years at which point another solution was located, the new solution was one that allowed for the upload of data from the database system used for client management.
Local Garden Centre – Marketing Solution.
Approached by a very popular local garden centre the discussion about their website was simple; they wanted a better one that they could modify themselves, but the hosting requirements turned out to be different to their initial expectations.
During the discussion about hosting it came to light that the company had made a decision to modify and update most of their business marketing methods. This included updating their website and also creating a customer loyalty system where regulars could collect purchase points as rewards. They had invested some time in identifying a couple of solutions that had monthly fees ranging from £30 per month and an additional fee based on the number of customers tracked to a £150 start-up price with a £15 per month fee and a customer numbers element as well.
The discussion with us identified that they also wanted to email and/or write to customers on the loyalty scheme on a regular basis to promote various product ranges. Only the second of the two identified solutions for customer loyalty allowed for this but it was an additional monthly fee based on the number of customer records held.
We listened to our potential client and within a few hours had the eventual solution for them. We explained that they could host not just their website but a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to operate the loyalty scheme and it included the contact management email and letter solution at no extra cost.
They client immediately replied asking if that meant they needed two websites and therefore a higher grade hosting package. We immediately understood that although we had been recommended to them they were used to people charging extra for everything.
Imagine the surprise when we explained that the CRM could live on a sub-domain at no extra cost for hosting and that the setup fee including training would be just £150 + VAT with no cost per customer at any point.
They said they would consider this for a few weeks and in reply I asked them how many clients they thought they might have who were interested in the loyalty scheme? Strangely they didn’t really know, so they decided to ask customers to sign a form if they would be interested. three weeks later they had over 2500 customer contact details on the form!
Immediately they understood that our solution would cost next to nothing to run compared to the other solutions even in year one. That’s why they still use CTS more than three years later.
Local Government in this case is a Town Council. The vast majority of Town Councils want to keep their constituents informed and updated on what is happening within the council.
All of this comes with a set of requirements that mean the site can only be online is certain elements of information are provided about the council and its operation.
You can perhaps imagine, most council sites are boring and are not likely to encourage people to interact with the council. However this council wanted a vibrant site that would encourage people to use it. They wanted lots of colour but at the same time lots of white space so that content was easy to read.
We went through several design iterations to identify the style, colour menu layout and graphics for the site. The end result is a colourful, attractive and young looking site that has a blog site that is tied into their Facebook page.
Not only is the council happy with the site, but the public like it and find access to the minutes of meetings a useful addition to the site.