CASE STUDY: Development | Kentico

Microsoft Dynamics website integration for the Chamber of the Year

Increasing customer engagement and satisfaction through website optimisation.


Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce (HWCC) is a member-led, not-for-profit organisation that works to support the local business communities and ensure that their interests are always heard.

Since inception, they've managed to create a strong network of 1,500 member businesses across Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

The Chamber's growing popularity and increased publicity thanks to their 'Chamber of the Year' award they received during the Chamber Awards in 2013 meant that the need for a more professional and contemporary site was greater than ever.

Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce

The Brief

HWCC's existing website had an outdated design and layout, was difficult for editors to maintain or add new content, and wasn't engaging visitors as much as they wanted. Moreover, the site wasn't mobile friendly, causing numerous problems for the increasing number of mobile visitors.

In order to keep up with the growing number of their clients, HWCC decided to update their online presence.

Understanding requirements

We had to establish a detailed and comprehensive understanding of the Chamber's unique challenges, in particular, the needs and requirements of their users and stakeholder groups.

In order to do so, we held a series of requirements gathering workshops - involving key stakeholders from HWCC and the project manager, web designers and Kentico developers from Distinction. This phase helped us define HWCC's current issues and formulate the most efficient way to resolve them.

What we did

Two systems integration

The key aspect of functionality for the Chamber was integration with Microsoft Dynamics CRM system. We used Kentico's powerful integration bus to automatically synchronise the two systems seamlessly behind the scenes.

Whenever someone at head office makes a change to a member’s record or schedules a new event, that information is duplicated up the website. Similarly, when a member logs in to change their details, renew their membership or register for an event, their data is synchronised to head office's Dynamics database immediately.

Optimised for mobiles and tablets

Looking at their website analytics, we found out that more and more members were accessing the website through a smartphone or tablet. As their old website didn't work well on mobile devices, visitors had many difficulties reading or interacting with the site's content.

Therefore, we focused on building a website with a responsive design, making sure that the user experience was not compromised, regardless of the type of device used or the size of the screen.

Additional upgrades and other functionality required for the website

Members directory: this allows users to identify and do business with fellow Chamber members. Users can search by name, type and size of business, location and sector. Moreover, they can filter their search to find businesses that offer discounts to fellow Chamber members.

Membership module: it allows new members to join online or existing members to renew their membership. This functionality included a member pricing model which calculates the appropriate event price depending on the membership level.

Events module: this includes calendar functionality and a shopping basket. Details of Chamber events such as training courses or networking opportunities, are presented. Users can search, browse and filter by event type, and as soon as they have identified an event they are interested in, they can purchase their place via the integrated shopping basket and easily check out.

Personalisation: members are presented with customised information based on their membership level. Different levels of membership provide access to different amounts of content. For instance, registered members have access to more content than non-members.

Advertising module: HWCC wanted to capitalise on the popularity of the website by allowing companies to place adverts on areas of the site. Administrators can create ad banners of various sizes and position them appropriately around the website. Similarly, patrons of the Chamber were given high profile placement throughout the site within an animated logo bar.

The Results

As well as a delighted client, and great feedback from their members, the relaunch has also seen:

  • 20% reduction in bounce rate
  • 35% increase in average time on site
  • 34% increase in number of pages viewed per session

There were even more dramatic results from mobile users:

  • 114% increase in time spent on the site by smartphone users
  • 33% improvement of tablet bounce rate
  • 80% more page views on tablet devices

Choosing to use Kentico CMS allowed us to address some of the drawbacks of their previous website and to create a much more user-friendly, easier to navigate and future-proof platform.

What do Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce say?

Sharon WilliamsDeputy Chief Executive​

"Distinction has delivered a website that met our complex requirements of being fully integrated with Dynamics CRM and Exchequer, providing different pricing and views for our Chamber members and non-members, within the agreed budget. Support from Distinction during and after the project build has been excellent. They are able to communicate often-complex technical information into clear business language.

Kentico CMS provides the Chamber with an easy to use, flexible system, which has many standard features that allow the Chamber to continually manage and improve our site in-house. Kentico’s features allow the Chamber to manage user access levels, provide a full audit trail of website changes and simplicity to use has enabled us to provide access to more staff to update their departments areas of the website."

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