LetMC welcome Scott Fraser
15th March 2013
Established in 1998, scottfraser is a familiar brand across the country, winning several awards for both the Lettings and Sales side of the business. With 5 branches, employing over 40 members of staff and managing over 625 properties, this ARLA Agent is a formidable force in Oxford requiring a software solution to match. We spoke to Rachel Payne about their decision to implement LetMC.com across their letting operations .
What was your influencing factor in changing software?
We needed an intelligent solution, accessible from anywhere that was built from an agent’s perspective and not by a group of techies with no understanding of the industry or the needs of a progressive business. The system needed to be reliable, accurate and innovative as well as cost-effective for a growing business. LetMC exceeded our expectations in all areas and in fact has developed with our needs as a client quickly over the past six months.
What were your main issues with your previous software?
Our previous software was a desktop/server based “out-of-the-box” package which was designed around a single office scenario and ultimately did not suit our business model. We wanted our teams to be able to view the whole inter-office portfolio. With our aim to centralise our property management team as well as run an effective portfolio management service, our old software was simply not up to the job.
Our previous software was stored on our servers, isolated from other users, and we would find that errors would regularly appear throughout the system, either for an individual user, group or the whole team but as we were the only company out of several hundred with the issue the response time to get the problems rectified was very slow. The customer service was also practically non-existent, which is the opposite with a product like LetMC. Even when we were allocated an account manager, the errors occurring on the old software became so significant it was becoming detrimental to our customers. In addition, the infrastructure needed to run the software from a central point effectively was extremely expensive and unsustainable over the long term if we were intending to expand to new offices with more users.
What was it about LetMC that first appealed to you
In our first demonstration we were quite honestly prepared to be underwhelmed based on our experience with other products on the market, boy were we wrong! The look and feel of the product was right on the money but most importantly it was the knowledge that it was built by people who worked in the industry so understood our business and clients’ needs. Also it was extremely comforting to know that the product was a central database that is used by all LetMC customers, so any software issues would be dealt with rapidly because they affected every user. The feeling of trust in the team at LetMC was a major selling point for us.
What was your deciding factor to use LetMC
There are three main factors. Firstly the system is fully cloud based, it can be accessed from anywhere and is fast unlike, our clunky existing desktop product. The web-design is intuitive, easy to use and logical – in short everything has its place, and a reason for existing. It is completely transparent and is based around pro-active management. Put simply, there is nowhere to hide, whether that is for team performance, tenants in arrears or even in the service you provide to your landlords.
Secondly the product is innovative, pushing the boundaries of traditional “management” products which focus solely on the day-to-day running of the portfolio to incorporate new business solutions to help generate leads for new landlords. It also has enough flexibility to provide solutions to multiple service types, communication with customers and problem solving but is well designed enough not to need too much tinkering to get it right for your individual business. It is also robust enough not to break at every available opportunity!
Finally it was the people. We trusted the team at LetMC to support us through the changeover process and post-live. The changeover was coordinated over a three month period which allowed us to cleanse our data, re-evaluate our business operations and address potential issues before they could impact on either our team or our customers. This was all done with the expert assistance of three dedicated members of staff at LetMC and in-all the changeover was far less stressful than we had anticipated, albeit hard work. Obviously there are always issues when you start working with live data but for the most-part we knew where they would lie and were able to address them immediately. Anything that was a surprise was usually down to a quirk in the way we were using our old software. Most importantly though, any issues we had were dealt with rapidly by the support team and we could give our customers or team proactive feedback. In fact, after a week we were able to troubleshoot complex issues on our own as the system is so transparent and so intuitive.
What has impressed you the most about LetMC
The transparency of the system is impressive as well as the ease of use. With our old product mistakes could be made because of complicated processes and literally disappear into the ether never to be seen again until such a mess had been created it was very difficult to rectify. With LetMC it is not only harder to make mistakes because the work-flows are far better but issues become apparent more quickly and are far easier to rectify.
This makes it far easier to monitor team performance, activity levels and KPIs which had previously been difficult. The ease for landlords and tenants to obtain information direct from the system is excellent which has reduced the amount of time our team spend answering queries, also the accessibility of data and notes has meant that if a particular team member is away, we can still access the information we need to communicate well with customers..
On a growth level there are several extremely useful features for generating new business and creating new income streams. This provides the cornerstone for proactive and intelligent marketing putting us ahead of our competitors in the ability to source new clients as oppose to using “spray and pray” marketing. The LetMC team are like-minded in that they are always looking for ways to improve. They genuinely listen and carefully consider requests for change from their users and the product is never standing still.
How will using LetMC help you in your day to day running?
During the changeover we closely evaluated our processes which gave us the opportunity to decide what was important to our brand and our customers and how to streamline these processes to ensure profitability and enhanced service. Some changes were as simple as changing our policy to “email-only” communications which in itself reduced workload and costs significantly. Others led us to change whole service packages to improve our offering and increase our profitability.
On a day-to-day basis the ease of access to information is exceptional as any team member in any office can assist a customer. There is a huge amount of data which we can now export in a variety of reporting styles allowing us to identify weaknesses and opportunities and act on them making us far more productive than previously possible.
How will implementing LetMC help your business to grow/offer new products or services?
The bridge to other products, such as Docusign, via the Application Store has allowed us to improve our customers’ experience and reduce costs significantly.
The flexibility of the system and pre-set service types means that we can offer a host of products. However, because many processes run automatically, we are confident that fees and charges are made accurately and notices are issued on time. This automation, in conjunction with streamlined processes, has vastly improved our productivity, efficiency and ability to focus on customer service rather than administration.
The ability to extract data, record leads and marketing information effectively has meant that we can be far more proactive in identifying sources of new business. Over time our approach is becoming far more sophisticated which would be absolutely impossible without the support of an exceptional software product.