Alison Platt, the chief executive of Countrywide, has made clear her belief that the transformation of the agency group to become more retail-focussed is the correct path - and that there are similarities between selling houses and selling groceries.
In an interview with London’s Evening Standard free newspaper, Platt says heer recent eyebrow-raising appointment as a non-executive director of Tesco came as a result of the supermarket giant approaching her.
But she insists there is a mutually-beneficial overlap with her main role as CEO of Countrywide.
“There’s so much we can learn from how Tesco work, in their branches and in digital, how they’re customer-focused” she says, adding that the position is more interesting because of the challenges being faced by the supermarket.
“If you’re going to do something like this, you don’t want it to be about maintenance management. ... It’s all about having a change agenda and making Tesco the customer’s first choice. Tesco has to change on the outside, and the way it’s seen, and on the inside. And they both have to change at the same time” she insists.
There are similarities with her Countrywide objectives, too, she says: “As well as heeding lessons, Platt hopes to draw on her Countrywide experience to help Tesco. “Our customers don’t look at us and compare us to other estate agents, they compare us to other retailers. We’re in retailing, the same as Tesco.”
Elsewhere in the interview, which touched little on the reorganisation now underway at Countrywide, Platt hinted that she was unhappy at the prospect of Britain leaving the EU because that could lead to seven years of uncertainty as the country found its was - “the property market hates uncertainty and unpredictability” she says.
In addition, she hinted in general terms at her desire for Countrywide to become a general source of property expertise.
“One of the things we’re keen to do is to move away from that short-term transactional view and acknowledge that actually property is going to be something that is going to feature right across your life.
“What we want to become is the organisation that you look at and trust every time, because we bring professional expertise and we couple that with fantastic empathy. The organisation that really pulls that off will set a different standard and will win.”
You can read the full interview here.