60 Second Interview : Richard Dalton, Managing Director, Contact Counts
Thursday 15th March 2012
As Contact Counts continues to expand its operation we speak to Managing Director Richard Dalton about the growth of this unique service.
Q: What does it say on your business card?
Richard Dalton, Managing Director, Contact Counts
Q: Who are Contact Counts?
Contact Counts is a dynamic online tracking system which allows clients to monitor the progress of their house sale from initial market appraisal through to completion. The secure database is constructed of straightforward, user-friendly screens, which simply and clearly outline the house selling process allowing clients to identify their own progress. Clients can use the system to monitor and receive real time information on the progress of their transaction and can also message back instantly 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
This unique and innovative system provides Estate Agents with an edge in what is currently a competitive market place. The system allows agents to reduce costs whilst simultaneously increasing instructions and market share.
Q: How long have Contact Counts been trading?
The initial idea for the service came about in July 2011 and by September that year the business was up and running.
Q: How do you create value for your clients?
We create value for clients in the following ways:
- Increasing instructions- clients have a unique experience with the only two-way interactive, process-driven tracking system on the market. Create a lasting impression during market appraisals by demonstrating Contact Counts to clients via a mobile device and/or with a white labelled leaflet. The system allows agents to add clients during or before market appraisal and attach any market reports in a matter of minutes meaning that the client has been engaged before agreeing to list with the agent.
- Reducing costs- decrease human resource hours, phone bills, postage and printing costs. Leaving staff to concentrate on making sales
- Increasing client satisfaction / transparency- keep clients fully up to date throughout the process with instant messages, reducing the stress associated with moving house, whilst remaining completely transparent
- Bespoke service- The system is white labelled with agent branding and contact details with a link to the system placed on the agents website. The system can be set up and tailored to each individual agent’s needs.
- Affordable pricing- The system offers great value for money with the cost working out in most cases to be under £2 per client!
- 24/7 communication- As the system is web based communication between client and agent is 24/7; all that is required is an internet connection. It allows communication at any time anywhere in the world.
Q: How does the online tracking system work?
The system allocates each new user with a unique ID and password for the house seller’s journey. The Agent updates the system and the client has the ability to have 24/7 communication thus improving customer services and offer complete process transparency. This has been illustrated in the Office of Fair Trading Qualitative Consumer Survey Report in 2009 which is fundamental to home sellers:
“Many consumers felt that more could be done in terms of providing greater transparency and improving communications during what was thought to be a time-consuming and unfamiliar process”.
The system has been designed and manufactured to be process driven so that the home seller knows exactly where they are in terms of the progression of the property listing/sale.
Q: What conclusions have you drawn from your research in to this market?
From our research we have found that telephone and e-mails are becoming less effective as methods of communication, with telephone calls often being missed due to peoples’ working hours which can often cause frustrations for both clients and agents.
We also established that e-mails are being missed due to increasingly overloaded inboxes and it can be very hard to find a message thread especially where an individual may not have replied to the original e-mail. The system stores the communication between you and the seller and also stops the communication breaking down by e-mails being missed, as you are able to use the online property folder to facilitate communication and increase efficiency.
Q: What are your three unique selling points?
- The ability to offer agents their very own USP when on market appraisals by using a unique system to help build top quality customer service and as a result generate more referrals.
- Agents that use the online tracking system can reduce costs and these reductions alone pay for the cost of the system.The return on investment is very quick, as you only require one instruction to be completed to make the product a worthwhile advantage.
- Exceptional value for money- agents pay a monthly fee and in most cases the cost per client is under £2.00!
Q: How do you overcome your competitors?
We offer a unique product and there are currently no direct competitors in the market place. Some estate agency software packages provide limited view only vendor logins however those systems don’t provide the same benefits. We are constantly reviewing our position to remain at the forefront and we have some exciting developments plans.
Q: What is your greatest achievement and what made it so special?
The greatest achievement was taking the initial idea and developing it in to a ready to market service in just six months.
Q: What do you feel it takes to be successful in the industry?
I think the key elements are motivation, hard work, and the willingness to continually develop your products and services and listening to customer feedback is also extremely important.
Q: Are you offering any special promotions?
We are currently offering a no obligation 90-day free trial with no set up costs; if you wish to continue after the 90 day free trial we will also offer you a reduced rate on yourmonthly fee.
Editorial Contact Details - Rosalind Renshaw