With a heritage extending back to 1958, Edwards Grounds, a six branch agency based in the North-West are breaking with tradition, with the support of Qube SLM.
“We wanted to set up a contact centre but were inhibited by the lack of software that could support the concept” said Martin Horner, the entrepreneur behind this idea. “We saw the Qube SLM stand at PCS last year but the queue to view the product was huge!” However, they were then re-introduced to it by another local agent who was in the process of implementing the system and chose to begin using our solution.
The innovation that has now taken place is based around all calls being routed into a central contact centre which removes the pressure of the phone from the branch staff, allowing them to concentrate on sales progressing and pro-actively generating business. The contact centre staff can arrange for details to be sent out and make viewing appointments, which are then allocated back to the branches. “This has changed the branches from being re-active to constant incoming calls to becoming more proactive” commented Martin.
This is made possible by the fact that Qube SLM operates on a single live database which allows the call centre to see the applicant and property databases for all five branches in real time. A noticeable difference that this has made is the ability to filter data and pro-actively work with customers to find them properties. “We had situations in the past where people were struggling to find properties within a certain price bracket,” says Martin. “By scanning the properties across all branches, we can now introduce them to properties that fit their needs but may be in a slightly different area and we have definitely seen an increase in cross-viewings between branches.”
Both the team in the contact centre and the staff in the branches are making full use of the SMS and e-mail services. “I agree with other agents in that serious customers do not mind receiving electronic communications” says Martin, an observation made by a number of our customers.
The creation of a contact centre clearly means a change in structure. Staff were recruited both from the branches and from outside of the business. There was some natural wastage at branch level but the new organisational structure has seen staffing levels reduce. “I would estimate that two people can now do what five people would be doing before,” says Martin. This is simply down to the fact that there would need to be one person sitting in each of the branches managing the capacity that realistically two people can now do in the centre. It has also had an impact on late evenings as, again, all calls can be managed without the need for people staying in branch. However, maintaining a branch presence is still critical. “It is still very important to have people in the branch to progress sales as the relationship with the customer must be maintained face to face,” explains Martin.