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Barratt achieves 700 appointments per week through outsourcing contact centre services

Tue, September 27, 2016

Barratt Developments Plc undertook a long, in-depth tender process that involved reviewing a number of potential outsourcers. Barratt chose Ventrica, a 330 seat capacity omni-channel customer contact specialist based in Southend.

According to Ed “they were the right fit for our business and impressed us the most. The quality of people was also paramount because when you’re purchasing a property it’s often one of the most significant purchases you’ll make during a lifetime and you need a lot of hand-holding. Flexibility was also key, because unlike the ‘take it or leave it’ approach of other outsourcers, they were prepared to create an operations model that was tailored to our needs and would be able to deliver a sophisticated, centralised sales and service strategy, using multiple channels.”

How the relationship works – an extension of the sales team

Ventrica now manages all enquiries on behalf of Barratt for all of its key brands including Barratt Homes, David Wilson Homes and Barratt London, 7 days a week. As well as handling inbound calls, it also provides assistance via other channels including webchat. “Ventrica is an extension of our sales team”, says Ed, “as its team proactively follows up any new or current opportunities. For instance someone may have asked for a brochure or requested some information via the website and then is followed up with a phone call.”

As part of its sales efforts, the contact centre is responsible for creating 700 appointments for viewings every week and for every conversation they have with a prospective buyer, they have achieved high conversion rates for confirmed viewings.

Web chat and Intelligent reporting increases value

The on-going robust management information (MI) that Ventrica provides to Barratt is used to continually transform overall service and sales conversions. He comments, “The MI helps us to drive insight and this goes back into driving the overall quality of service.” Although voice calls represent a large part of customer contact, Barratt is also communicating with customers via other mediums such as web chat. “So far we’ve been impressed with how web chat helps us to engage with our on-line visitors which in turn has helped improve conversions and the number of appointments. We also appreciate that we can reduce our costs too, as advisors are able to manage multiple live chat conversations at once – something that’s not possible on the phone.”

Drawing on its own MI, one recommendation was to improve business performance by changing how web enquiries are managed. Originally the approach was to handle all prospects in the same way, without really taking into account the nature of the request. Using detailed reporting, the type of contact was segmented by priority such as ‘book appointment’, ‘call back’, ‘download ebrochure’, ‘request for hardcopy brochure’ and ‘keep us informed’. So rather than simply make 3 contacts to each prospect, regardless of the type of enquiry, the first two categories were fast-tracked so they had a contact within 3 hours and the others were adjusted to reflect the urgency.

This reduced Barratt’s monthly costs by 42% whilst increasing appointments and footfall to developments by 10%.

Consistent and proactive nurturing of sales

One of the advantages of having a centralised sales hub that captures everything is that Barratt can provide a proactive way of nurturing and following up potential sales on behalf of its 600 advisors across the country. Ed says, “Our whole sales process is more streamlined, consistent, easier to manage and we can deliver more timely responses to customers. Apart from optimising our overall customer satisfaction levels, our main objective is to increase footfall to our developments and Ventrica provides a pivotal role in making this happen and helps us to support our philosophy of putting customers at the heart of everything we do.”