Dell speaks with small business owners on a daily basis and we often hear about the important role that technology plays in supporting their business growth.
Over the last few weeks we have invited successful UK small business owners to share their insights and experience, and for this first blog post in our Technology and the Small Business Spotlight series, we caught up with Tim Price, founder of the UK's first property deposit scheme, AssuredSale.
We first met Tim back in 2011 through our partnership with StartUp Britain at its summer bus tour. Tim set up AssuredSale in November 2011, after recognising how stressful the home buying process can be. Some home movers wait months for deals to be finalised, only to be told at the final hour that a buyer or seller in their chain has pulled out, resulting in the loss of precious time and money for surveys and solicitors’ fees. AssuredSale aims to ‘seal the deal from offer to exchange,’ by providing both buyers and sellers with an online customer service platform which helps to secure commitment earlier via a pre-exchange deposit.
From a company very much in its infancy when we first met, AssuredSale has since made waves in the housing market. Having kicked off 2012 with its free test pilot, the company then successfully launched a fee-based service in March. It’s been a success for the company’s clients too. On average, a third of UK house sales fall through, yet only five percent of AssuredSale clients have had this experience!
Tim explains how technology has helped his company to grow over the last year and shares his top tips below:
Grow your business by listening to your customers
Technology is key to our business because our entire service is online. The past year has seen the refinement of our internal systems and website as we grew our company. First, we focused on determining what our customers wanted; as our volumes grew drastically across the past year, we needed to really hone our customer experience, making our offering easy to understand, and guiding our early customers through the process. Each time, we learnt more about how our customers expected to use our service and what they needed to make the process as easy as possible.
Boost your growth by enhancing customer-facing tech
From working closely with our customers and focusing on the usability of any technology which touched our customers, we drastically improved our service and have achieved an amazing 99% customer satisfaction rating. As the focal point for selling our service, registering customers and delivering our service to customers, it was key to get the technology experience perfect. As a result of our endeavours, we have reduced our support calls and emails and have happier customers!
Recognise that technology empowers flexible working
Efficient technology has also been integral to the growth of our business by enabling us to emphasise the use of IT for working flexible hours from any location. With so many business services moving to the cloud, and with the help of mobile devices, the dependence on a physical office has become vastly reduced.
Our laptops have been key in enabling a tech strategy revolving around mobility, usability and availability. Back in 2011, I was fortunate to win a Dell Vostro 3450 business laptop which has absolutely been the ‘little laptop that could’ for us. We know not every customer can talk to us between the traditional 9-5, so we rely upon laptops to run our phones (VOIP), instant messages and email.
By always having access to our tools and services, we can support our customers very much outside ‘traditional hours,’ providing the flexibility that has, in turn, enabled us to strengthen our business.