The beauty of automation

Paul Hines, managing director of Hinckley-based Progress Windows, Roofline and Conservatories, explains how Business Pilot made his efficient business run even more efficiently.

Before we used Business Pilot, we were very manually driven. I’d say we were working hard rather than working smart.

We have great people working here at Progress, but people can forget and have bad days. The challenge for any double glazing company is its communication, and for the most part this would consist of phone calls: What stage is this job at?; When will the survey be?; What time is the rep coming around?; Who is the rep?; etc.

Managing that process using a manual system was almost unmanageable, because of the time and resources it took. And, of course, there was the impact on the customer experience. They didn’t want to spend their time chasing window installation companies. And people’s expectations are higher these days – customers expect to be looked after and kept informed.

We’ve never not cared for our clients, but that’s hard to get that across with a manually driven system. Occasionally something would slip though the net, and a customer would not be completely satisfied, which is not where we wanted to be.

Before we took on Business Pilot, we all had access to a central spreadsheet, and some of us kept records on paper. It all worked to a point because all the information was there, and I’d say we were better organised than many companies in the industry.

But even with what we were doing, we just couldn’t keep up with the expectations of all our clients.

What we needed was automation. Our system only did what we told it to, and we needed to take the next step forward.

Since moving to Business Pilot to manage our internal processes and our relationship with customers, we’ve ultimately been able to take on more work, because it is a lot more automated, more predictable, more systematic, and more processed. That technology simply allows you to spread your net further, and we have taken on more clients because we now have a system to deal with them.

The biggest potential problem I saw when we invested in Business Pilot, was the lack of willingness by some employees to use the technology, or even to use computers – especially the fitters. But it is so user friendly that anyone can use it – and everyone is! In fact, I asked my staff to research the market, and they chose Business Pilot.

‘Automation’ is one of those words people use that others struggle to understand. For us, it has some real benefits, especially when it comes to communicating with the customer. And there are contact points at every stage along the quoting, buying and installation journey.

For example, once a potential customer is entered into the system, they will get an automatic email to say ‘thank you’ and to give details of the next step, which is to set up a meeting with the representative. Already they’ve got an email, already they’ve got a sense of belonging to this business. And that happens at every step.

I remember getting a call from a customer on the second day we had Business Pilot, asking which rep would be seeing them, and when. Normally, we would have taken their details, and I would have rung round everyone to find out who it was.

I would have then told that person to ring the customer (and hoping that they did), otherwise we would have been in the dark.

Instead, on this second day, the customer rings through, and within three clicks we were able to say: “Yes, it’s Keith coming to see you at one o’clock tomorrow. He’ll see you then.”

There’s a time saving, but actually it’s the customer experience that’s the most important. They left having had their question answered immediately, feeling empowered as a result.

Business Pilot has changed my business, and our customer feedback proves it. If you want to improve your business with the use of a CRM system, then go for it. You won’t regret it.