Finally, some good news. They say kindness costs nothing, but Brighton-based tech firm Hyve voluntarily took a hit to its own monthly income in a bid to help clients struggling after lockdown.
Hyve’s customers rely on websites and other digital services to operate, but were faced with difficulties in paying the bills when Covid-19 swept across the world earlier this year.
As an independent company, Hyve was able to be flexible and react to clients’ change in circumstances – something larger vendors were unable – or unwilling – to do.
The travel and events industries were particularly badly affected by Covid-19 restrictions, with some companies simply unable to operate when people were confined to their homes.
Losing their websites or other digital platforms would have been a critical blow to Hyve’s customers – which is why it decided to step in.
Hyve helped out by slicing some customers’ bills by up to 50% in a bid to help them maintain services during the crisis. Without this assistance, many businesses would have been unable to keep going and ended up slipping into bankruptcy.
The tech firm also increased its workforce by 25% after the lockdown was imposed, taking on more staff when many other companies were planning redundancies. It did not place any employees on furlough or receive any money from the government during the pandemic.
Jon Lucas, co-founder of Hyve Managed Hosting, said, “During lockdown, there was a feeling in the wider community that everyone needed to help each other.
“Here in Brighton and across the country, people were starting foodbanks to feed people who had lost their jobs and taking part in tributes to the NHS, such as the ‘Clap for Carers’ events.
“We wanted to do our bit and it just felt right to offer assistance to businesses which were struggling. We call our customers our partners, so we worked with them on an individual basis to make sure their businesses were able to keep running.”
One of the most crucial services Hyve provides to its customers is web hosting, which allows clients to run websites which are designed to cope with high levels of traffic and demand.
In an era when most companies rely on the internet to attract customers, the loss of hosting would have been a major blow which may even have proved fatal.
Jake Madders, co-founder of Hyve commented, “Losing hosting can be disastrous for modern businesses. If a company has no income stream and is then unable to win new business online, they could face catastrophe.
“Having a good hosting provider is critical for firms who rely on the internet, because they need high quality servers in order to cope with high levels of traffic. If businesses pause their hosting, they effectively pause business altogether.
“We helped clients out by keeping things ticking along even though we took a hit ourselves. Our monthly income suffered during the lockdown too, but we just went with it to help out. We were loyal when our customers needed us.”
To help its clients, Hyve offered some customers reductions on the cost of running services. Others were able to downgrade their account and take cheaper options.
Jake Madders added, “Rather than taking a gloomy view of what went wrong, we decided to take a chance and try to expand. We didn’t put any staff on furlough – because they have an important job to do. Neither did we feel the need to rely on any government support.”
Hyve employees are counted as key workers, because of their role in keeping critical telecoms infrastructure operational. Its customers include a number of public clients including the NHS and Ministry of Defence.
“We were contacted by several new customers who told us they were leaving other vendors because they were totally inflexible,” Madders added.
“The vendors’ attitude seems to be: ‘You have a service and you’re paying for it. End of story. We don’t care if you’re going bust or suffering a slowdown.
“We took a different stance. We want our customers to do well. If we’re loyal to them, hopefully they will remain loyal to us when we reach the end of this nightmare.”