Curchods is a 21 branch organisation providing residential sales services in the South of England. Andrew Dewar, Joint Senior Partner at the firm, started working with us in 2002.
One of the fundamental benefits of Qube SLM is its ability to network all branches, and it is this, that has provided the biggest results. For example, when a customer goes into one branch, they are often interested in seeing details of properties held in other branches. In days gone by, this would mean a phone call to each of those branches and the details being posted. Now, at the touch of a button, the customer can be given the details of everything held within the company that fits their needs, which supports a face-to-face discussion with the negotiator on the various options available and therefore delivers a more pro-active selling opportunity overall.
Similarly with vendors, any member of staff in any branch can print off an activity report to provide the vendor with the full picture of activity on his property. This provides huge credibility and accuracy compared to the former manual system. It would be very easy to forget to log a viewing or record the number of customers mailed on the index card held in one branch. Qube SLM makes creating a file note very easy, ensuring the company communicates the complete to the customer.
The networking however, has led to less communications between offices. Less dialogue and telephone calls are made as information is readily available. However, Andrew’s take on this is positive: “I can live with it as chatting between the offices doesn’t pay the bills whilst more cross selling is being achieved!”
An important criterion for Andrew when selecting a system was the need for automation to provide a tool that supported their processes rather than control them. Qube SLM has lived up to this need with one exception. “One thing the system forces is follow-ups,” he says. “Many staff moan that the system is forcing them to do the follow-ups when they just want to get out and sell. I believe the follow ups are a critical part of the sales process so have no problem with it.” He has also maintained the focus of negotiators on sales, retaining secretarial support in each branch to manage correspondence. Whilst the system allows anyone to manage the administration, Andrew has seen efficiencies accrued through negotiators having the ability to generate details when the secretary is not there, whilst retaining the normal roles and responsibilities during the day.
Much of the successful adoption by the staff was due to the training strategy. Although we provide training, Curchods elected to deliver this itself internally. Initially all staff were involved in discussions about what to expect and what would happen with the new system so that they were mentally prepared for the changes. Once installed, each staff member attended a morning’s training session before going back to their office, returning a week later for a second session with ad-hoc on the job training where required. “Most staff picked it up from there and to this day, we have never used a manual. The key is not to force-feed staff and this is the mistake many companies make when installing new systems.”
Technology at the heart of exceptional customer service
Andrew Dewar has found a mixture of old and new – traditional values and modern communications – is key to selling homes. The complete software solution for residential estate and letting agents, Qube SLM has the power to deliver this objective and is capable of handling every aspect of the business. The flexibility to integrate elements of the software that best suits a particular company’s needs means managers can create a system that truly fit their business, helping to drive it forward in an increasingly competitive market.
Andrew says; “Qube SLM is a big solution with a personal touch. The ability to communicate on a personal level with the directors is invaluable. I was involved with Qube SLM at an early stage, which provided significant opportunity for me to give my input into its development from a user’s perspective.
“The system is fantastic. It now carries out all the time consuming administrative tasks electronically, that we previously undertook manually. The system gives us the best of both worlds; human contact, freeing more time to speak to customers, and technology, helping us to make a quantum leap in customer service by ensuring staff have access to all the information about each property at their fingertips. Personal contact is fundamental to our service; the sales team speak to each vendor on a weekly basis and nearly all viewings are accompanied by a member of staff.
“The archive function also helps us to develop long-term relationships with our customers and enhance our reputation: we remain in contact with purchasers, who frequently turn to us when they come to sell on their property, which contributes to cost-effective and reliable business growth.”