We just spoke about challenges, but are there also trends we need to keep an eye on?
Absolutely. These days customer expectations are so high, there’s an expectation for so many things to be integrated, seamless, and also look the part. It’s no longer enough to have an outdated brand, website or platform, and expect to thrive in the market long-term. This can be tough for a business, as it means they need to put a real focus on their internal alignment, and ensuring their key messages are effectively communicated to their customers across a range of mediums.
From a technical perspective, even if you look at the way we are hosting and serving websites at the moment, things are changing. There is a bit of a trend to push out more static sites these days that are separated from customer platforms or online services, something that used to be quite old fashioned, but the advantage is you can deploy and build much faster.
Something else we are interested in at the moment is server-side rendering, which effectively means running your client’s app on a server so it spits out where you need to be without loading the web client’s browser, which is a completely different way of thinking about it.
What’s your opinion on Customer Experience and how do you see this reflected in the work that you do?
Customer Experience is extremely important and we see some of our customers really starting to focus on the individual client and their expectations. Where 5 to 7 years ago it was all about Google Analytics and more of a high-level approach, now we see companies becoming much more specific and really following individual journeys. That means they follow customers real time on their website, for example in the buying process. When a customer encounters a problem, they act and help instantly. Through chat, email or phone, depending on the situation. We liken this to storytelling, knowing your customer and how to keep them engaged.
Would you call this high value B2B marketing?
Yes. This approach may be a challenge if you have thousands of visitors per hour, but with let’s say a few hundred key B2B customers, this works really well and makes it possible to give your customers great experiences that feels tailored to them.
Customer Experience touches on another topic which is personalisation. Do you think the average New Zealander, is ready for, and comfortable with, high level personalisation?
I think they are in general, but it all depends on the job you do as a brand or company, and your customer profiles. When you do it right, New Zealand customers will absolutely love personalised experiences, as long as they’re thoughtful and not too obtrusive. It’s all about taking the time to know your customer and ensure you’re personalising something relevant to them. I mean, if you search for something weird or funny, like fluffy dice on Amazon, and the next six months all you see is ads for fluffy dice, that can be extremely annoying. People won’t be happy with it, no matter where they’re from.
Another example is that I don’t think anyone in New Zealand has a problem with opt-in store cards. You just swipe it and you get a discount. But if you think about it that’s basically the same thing, all your information is stored and used. So yes, it really comes down to doing it well.
Let’s talk a little bit about SiteHost… How has your experience been with SiteHost so far and what actually made you choose SiteHost?
Our experience with SiteHost has been outstanding. We have tried working with a number of different providers locally and offshore, and in the past we have had a number of support and scalability issues. That’s when we decided to look for a hosting company that focused on its customers, and eventually chose SiteHost as our new home. But as you know better than anyone, shifting hosting providers can be a major project, and I really have to say that the way you helped us shift, not only with the migration itself, but also with creating a migration plan, was such a huge help!
That’s always great to hear. What kind of SiteHost products are you using?
We primarily use Cloud Containers and Dockerisation. Being able to run different versions of PHP for example, or different container setups, is a really great advantage for us. There are other providers who have similar options, but they are based overseas and won’t be able to give us the required performance you provide. Honestly, I don’t think that anyone is doing the Containers like you guys do, especially not in New Zealand.
We also use some AWS services for the majority of our projects, but still host the actual app here. And that's really a great fit for us. You guys also have great permission management, where with AWS it’s much more difficult if you want to deal with them on a day-to-day basis.
Lastly, I also have to say your support is great. We really trust you guys. We can just send an email, and you take care of it. With other providers, we couldn’t contact them by email because most of the time they just didn’t understand what we meant or wanted, and this ended up wasting a lot of time that took us away from focusing on our customers.
If you had to pick one thing, what would be the most important issue that SiteHost helped you solve?
You know what, it’s not so much a single issue that you helped solve, but it’s more that we know we can always rely on you. We can just focus on our job and our customers, on the things we are good at. We don’t have to worry about the hosting side of things. You basically take the infrastructure issue away for us, and as we are always really busy, it’s one important thing we don’t have to worry about anymore! (Laughing)
Thanks! Is there anything else you would like to tell us?
Not at all, we are really happy with SiteHost and enjoy working with you guys! If you would like to learn more about us, you can visit us at weareriver.nz.