Accountancy firm nelex is built on making accounting simple for Albury-Wodonga's small to medium businesses. It makes sense that its website should also be simple and easy for its clients to navigate.
Accountancy firm with empathy
When Natalie Owens started the business, she wanted to push back against the number of traditional accounting firms moving to a faceless corporate model. The way to do that would be to put people first, understand what each customer is going through, and empathise. Building services around empathy sounds like a no-brainer. Still, nelex directors Natalie and Nathan Sigmund think the financial service industry needs to adapt better to growing with personal touches intact.
The accountancy firm was still new when nelex found Method & Matter, which was via a recommendation from someone they knew. So, they were still working out the marketing direction for the website. As a result, they gave Method&Matter founder and web designer Fiona Fell a light brief, agreeing to figure things out together as they went. This was fine for Fiona, whose two decades of experience in designing, building, and supporting websites came into play in shaping suitable strategies.
Designing and building a simple website
"We knew what information needed to be on there but didn't know how it should be laid out. Likewise, we didn't know how things should be placed so that it flowed and read easily. Fiona provided those recommendations. It was rare for her not to hit the mark. She definitely played a pivotal role in the conceptual stage and the website's construction," says Nathan.
"Fiona was always quite forthcoming with information, and communication was easy and frequent," says nelex owner Nathan Sigmund. "We always knew where we were with the website, what she needed from us, and the deadlines we could expect. And she always held up her end of the bargain."
By the first prototype, nelex was sure Fiona understood the business as well as if she worked there. It was deliberately uncomplicated, per the owners' wishes. "At the end of the day, it really just needed to convey a broad amount of information and inspire people to get in touch," Nathan says. "What Fiona did well was not try to make it too fancy."
nelex has received encouraging feedback from clients and other accountants who love how the site is so straightforward. "Fiona has many skills and could have been tempted to do more. But, instead, she hears what you need and finds the best ways to give it to you," Nathan says.
A second website
It so happens that nelex's owners have another very different business to the accountancy firm: a florist called Albury Florist Centre. They bought it to preserve it as a longstanding feature serving the Albury-Wodonga community for 50 years. Nathan and Natalie spoke with Fiona again in the months running up to taking over the florist. "We had a greater appreciation for her working style the second time around," he says. "We told her: This is what the florist is going to do, these are these are products we are going to sell; can you show us what that could look like?" So Fiona came up with the concept for the website and has been instrumental in creating it and giving the business the functionality it has online today.
Florist’s online sales double
Since people are more comfortable shopping online than ever, this website had to make it easy for them to browse and buy products. Method & Matter integrated the WordPress site with a shopping system, setting several rules and workflows to fit how the business operates. "For example, we had to make sure people couldn't put in a delivery to Western Australia at 1 am on a Saturday," Nathan says. "There's a hidden degree of complexity in the background for all retail sites that you don't want to expose to the customer."
Nathan confesses he tries to avoid getting too obsessed with the data because these businesses are about people and serving the community. But with the current web setup, he can jump in with Fiona if things are going differently from expected, to take a look at what might be happening together.
Ongoing enquiries for the first site and steady sales for the second let Nathan and Natalie know the two websites are serving their businesses well. Indeed web sales for the florist have roughly doubled in the last six months.