Indie Group: “Combell takes great care of its resellers and takes all hosting worries off your hands”

Arriving at a new hosting provider due to an acquisition can be daunting. At Exsited, now under the umbrella of Indie Group, there were concerns. However, those worries quickly dissipated upon encountering Combell. As current Solution Architect, Gregory Vanhoucke, passionately asserts: "Don't just label me a reseller; I'm a Combell ambassador!" This enthusiasm warrants a visit to Zwevegem, near Kortrijk.

Together, they go and see some football. By "they," we refer to Exsited's founder, Gregory Vanhoucke, and our account manager, Stijn De Freyne. "When partners evolve into friends", Gregory will later caption on Instagram after our interview. It's evident that a genuine connection exists between these two!

This time, the setting is not a bustling football stadium but a trip to Indie Group's headquarters in Zwevegem. We arrange a meeting between Gregory and Stijn for an insightful discussion. They delve into what it means to be a Combell reseller, the significance of prioritizing journeys over projects, and the value of a restful night's sleep.

Hello Gregory! You're currently a solution architect at Indie Group, but once upon a time, you were the founder of Exsited, a web agency. Could you tell us more about that transition?

Gregory: "Exsited was acquired by Indie Group at the end of 2023. When I was considering handing over my company, I even discussed those plans with Stijn.

Indie Group is one of the few independent agencies in Flanders that isn't part of a large investment group."

What are your daily activities focused on?

Gregory: "Indie Group is a digital performance agency. You can come to us for both marketing and development because a webshop should not only run smoothly but also generate returns.

That's why we approach everything from a 'business standpoint.' We don't want to simply sell sites and shops randomly. It's much more important that our clients can develop their businesses in the best possible way.

We love clients who believe in marketing and are willing to invest in it. We prefer long-term projects over one-off projects. That forward-thinking approach is Indie Group's strength."

Stijn: "Indie Group and Combell share the same vision. At Combell, we want to work with agencies on a long-term basis. It wouldn't be good for our reputation if clients left after just one year. We aim for the long run!"

Indiegroup office with colleagues

Because Combell acquired Stone Internet Services in 2015, Exsited suddenly came a client of Combell. Were you immediately on board with this?

Gregory: "I did have some concerns about that initially. Damn, an acquisition you think. As a customer, you have no say in that. You can only hope that it goes well and that the service remains just as good, or preferably even better.

What quickly reassured me was your good reputation. The name of Combell is well-known, and thankfully for the right reasons." (laughs)

Stijn, Combell didn't just take over Exsited's IT environment; we also presented a brand-new hosting solution. Why?

Stijn: "We seek the best solution for every client. It was evident that Exsited's servers lacked sufficient resources. This had a significant impact on their storage and RAM memory. Becoming a Combell reseller was the ideal solution for them."

Gregory: "Everyone wants to make money. So initially, I wondered if such a new solution was necessary."

Our resellers can also reach me via WhatsApp. That's part of our service. Combell requires a lot of trust, so we must also earn it.

Stijn De Freyne, account manager at Combell

How significant is the so called 'trust factor' in such a major decision?

Gregory: "It's very significant! I place more importance on that than on the financial aspect, although it needs to be a win-win situation, of course. But I've noticed that Combell thinks along with us and has the best interests of our company at heart.

Becoming a reseller turned out to be the best choice. The performance of our clients' websites must be top-notch. Their expectations in this regard are also higher than they were a few years ago. We needed a stronger environment. Playtime was over."

What's it like being a Combell reseller?

Gregory: "It's going well; Combell ensures my peace of mind. And not just mine. That makes the investment more than worthwhile.

As a reseller, you get good terms and benefits. You pay a fixed price per package, which is very clear, giving you a good understanding of your monthly costs."

What do you mean by that peace of mind?

Gregory: "Combell takes all the worries of your hosting infrastructure off your hands. Our separate Slack channel has been a godsend. When you get 'On it, no panic' as a response to your query, it provides a lot of peace of mind. Both internally here and for our own clients."

Stijn: "In a worst-case scenario, you can also send me a WhatsApp message. I think that's only fair. Combell requires a lot of trust, so we must also earn it."

Gregory: "Let's be honest: there are large and cheaper hosting companies abroad. But the high quality and support from Combell are significant advantages. Combell is like a hallmark. It feels good to be able to tell clients that we are hosted by Combell."

The Combell experts have a name and a face. It's not someone different for every question.

Gregory Vanhoucke from Indie Group

To manage your hosting packages, you use Combell's reseller platform. Are you satisfied with it?

Gregory: "Absolutely, we navigate through it almost blindly. It's very intuitively designed.

If something does go wrong, all we have to do is send a Slack message. We get an immediate response from a real expert."

As a Combell reseller you manage your customers' websites in one dashboard
As a Combell reseller you manage your customers' websites in one dashboard

At Combell, you're never just a number. How do you notice that, Gregory?

Gregory: "First and foremost, through the personal contact with Stijn. Your experts have a name and a face. It's not someone different for every question.

Combell takes care of its resellers. I'll never forget how legend Wesley Hof, your CTO, once saved Exsited!" (enthusiastically)

Why was that?

Gregory: "We used to have our VPS servers with a cheaper hoster where you had to fend for yourself entirely. That caused problems. Both our database and backups were corrupt.

We lost the entire database of our most important client. A webshop generating up to 1000 euros in revenue every day. It was a total panic! We couldn't solve it."

Stijn: "You called me in desperation, after which I involved Wesley. A day later, Combell had a solution ready."

Gregory: "Having the CTO personally look for a solution, I've never experienced that before. Because we didn't have a contract with Combell for that VPS, it had nothing to do with you, yet you still helped us. Why am I a Combell ambassador? Well, there you go!"

Becoming a reseller turned out to be the best choice, ensuring our clients the very best performance.

Gregory Vanhoucke from Indie Group

Whether it's Exsited or Indie Group, you remain loyal to Combell?

Gregory: "Combell is ideal for an agency like Indie Group. I say this knowing that our switch represented a significant difference in terms of budget. But Combell guarantees the highest quality, and I've only become more enthusiastic.

Having a personal connection, liking someone, is of course, a bonus. When it really matters, Stijn and his colleagues are always there. We'll go watch football together again." (laughs)

Stijn: "And a barbecue this summer? Consider it done!" (laughs)