Lizzie Bateman, Managing Director and Darren Moore, Residential Lettings Manager from Bentons, explain how they use AgencyCloud to grow their business and fully understand the relationship they have with their clients. We also discuss their favourite things about Reapit, their favourite app integrations and the importance of having the right technology, with the right people.
Tell us about your agency
LB: Bentons are based here in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire. We’re a family business that’s been here for over 45 years. We employ approximately 30 people locally and cover a very wide area across the East Midlands in all aspects of property. We do sales, property management, lettings, agriculture, equestrian, commercial and professional valuations.
You’ve been a customer since 2013, why did you choose Reapit as your CRM provider?
LB: There were a few reasons why. Because we have different departments, although we are in one office – a very busy office – Reapit allows you to have one single contact record for a client who has different businesses they do with us, connected on that card. So, we’re able to see that if a landlord is ringing in to view a property, that they are also a current client of ours, just to maintain that relationship.
Also for brochures, to be able to create bespoke brochures for properties, so that we can get the very best brochures for our clients to get the very best price for their property, and also due to the areas that the mailing list allows us to do. So you can create specific areas that people want to look in, and because we cover such a wide area, somebody might be looking for particularly one village which is 45 minutes from here and we want to be able to make sure that they’re targeted with exactly what they want, which Reapit allows us to do.
What business challenges does Reapit help you solve?
LB: It helps us to really enhance our customer service. The client is key and it’s about all the staff understanding what the client does for our business. Reapit helps us to keep that integration of everything together. We are in one office together but very busy departments, working in their own departments. Reapit helps us to understand the relationship that we’ve got with the other clients: sales, lettings, agriculture, commercial. That it’s all on one system, so we can use that system to know exactly what’s happening with that client.
DM: Timesaving certainly. The app integration has been great. We’ve got some great apps now on-board. I think it helps us just get on with the day-to-day running of the business, it gives us more time to focus on the clients.
What’s your favourite thing about Reapit?
LB: Lots of things! I think in particular is how easy it is to use, and then how easy it is to train people. Reapit helps us a lot with training videos to back up all of that. So we can initially help them and show them, but the training support we have is fantastic.
Another feature for me is how forward-thinking Reapit are, they are always looking at new ways to improve the system, working with us to understand what we need the system to do which helps the clients, which benefits you and us, and so we’re then on the same page. They’re always coming to us with new features. New, exciting features that will help us run our business in a better way for everybody.
DM: For me, the reporting. I really love reports, day-to-day reports are my thing. It’s great because I can get a lot of detail that I need for the day-to-day property management in those reports, and recently, I’ve really had success with support as well. We’ve had one or two technical issues as you do with anything, and support has been great and resolving everything.
How does Reapit help support the growth of your business?
LB: A couple of ways I would say. They have a fantastic reporting technology within the platform that gives you endless ways to get lots of information that you need for all sides of the business and the information it allows you to hold for prospecting for new business is very quickly accessible. I can get a list of people that are local to us, that have a property to sell, that are registered with us and then one of the team can pick up the list and start ringing and seeing if we can help them sell their home or help them let the home, or anyway we can help them really. It’s great because that saves time, it’s very quickly accessible.
DM: We’re currently growing the lettings business. We’re looking at ways of increasing it. We’ve got a huge portfolio of properties at the moment, and we want to grow that business even further. I think it’s important having a letting business, a big letting business is a stable foundation for any estate agency. So for me the reporting side of it means that I can identify new areas and new contacts to further build on the business we have already.
What’s your favourite app?
DM: I’ve got a few actually. We use Fixflo for repair reporting, which is great and vital for us. Goodlord for tenancy agreements, referencing, and again that has been such a time-saver for us, it’s a great integration.
I think my favourite out of all of them is Notify, which has saved us a lot of time handling end-of-tenancy utilities. Dealing with utility companies has gotten worse in the last couple of years. GDPR means they don’t like to talk to us, so instead of spending hours on the phone with an energy company trying to resolve an estimated bill, Notify does all that for us. It’s a great app.
How useful do you find the AppMarket?
DM: I think it’s very useful. Time-saving wise definitely and having the ability to have everything all in one place rather than having a multitude of passwords elsewhere. It certainly saves us a lot of time and makes life a lot easier.
How do you use technology to enhance your business?
LB: A couple of ways. Technology is very important to us for marketing properties. We need to be showing off the properties at their absolute best, so photography, drones and videos, we need to have the very best to show off the house to get the very best price. With the brochures, again, technology for marketing properties absolutely key. Technology for me is always to aid your business, to save time and to do things more efficiently. So I believe that enhances the business by aiding us.
How do you think technology is going to change estate agencies?
LB: Good question. I think it already has changed. I think Covid forced businesses around to be more technology-driven and to provide more out-of-hours. Everybody wants to be able to buy whatever they want at whatever time.
So I think it has changed, but I think the danger is going too far technology-wise, because whilst we’re selling property, whilst we’re letting property, it’s still about the people and I still strongly believe that there’s a need to be talking to somebody and helping them, guiding them through the process that’s very stressful and that they need a lot of help from experts in the field, and I believe that together that’s the right answer. The right technology with the right people, which I believe we have and looking forward to growing further on that with the help of Reapit.