Countrywide’s ‘retail’ managing director Sam Tyrer has written a New Year message to staff brimming with apparent positivity and confidence.
In her email, Tyrer explains that getting rid of jobs last year has made the business “more straightforward”, and she says that the new ‘hybrid’ model will soon be in ‘a very large number’ of branches. The suggestion in her email is that it will be branded Entwistle Green.
The model, which has been trialled in some offices, charges upfront to self-service vendors. In the trial, the upfront fee varied from £795 to £995. People who subsequently switch to becoming conventional customers are credited with their fee, meaning that they do not lose out – while in theory at least Countrywide retains the client.
Tyrer says in the email, which is revealing about the company culture at Countrywide: “At the end of last year we brought our Retail & London teams together – this will help make running our business more straightforward, we’ve reduced the number of senior leaders to ensure we gain consistency in leadership messages and to keep you more informed, we’ve also removed leadership layers in some cases to ensure we are closer to our customers and you – our colleagues.
“In the Retail part of the business we’ve also created more combined Sales & Lettings leadership roles as we continue to see the benefits for our customers & the business of bringing the two closer together.”
Tyrer goes on: “We are also committing to you, our colleagues, that we will continue to lead in a way that is straightforward.
“We had to move quickly to adapt to a challenging market in 2016 & we will see more changes in 2017 – many of which are very positive, such as the roll-out of our hybrid model to a very large number of our Brands in the first half of 2017.
“This is really exciting & the results are superb.
“Our fabulous Entwistle Green Brand go live [sic] in just a few days time.”
In other parts of her lengthy email, she urges staff to ensure compliance in all areas, including anti-money laundering, gas certificates, EPCs, Right to Rent and referencing, saying: “Let’s make a commitment that 2017 is the year we sort this out”.
She also sets a few key targets for the first quarter: these include all sales and lettings leads being opened and contacted every day.
She also urges staff: “The portals often just don’t do the job – we have to work properties hard to sell & let them. Let’s stop losing our customers business because we haven’t done our jobs.
“Let’s commit to this being the year of record low withdrawal numbers for sales & Lettings. We will also be measuring this & will have recognition & prizes for our best performers.”
She goes on to urge staff to offer every single customer Countrywide’s mortgage and conveyancing services.
She concludes: “Let’s commit to ensuring not one pound of value leaves our group, but also that we offer our customers BETTER services than are available elsewhere.”
Tyrer also tells staff to communicate better with customers.
She says: “It’s easy to think that with the rise of Purplebricks and other online agents that the ‘people’ element of agency is less important to our customers – that’s just not the case.
“We know from our hybrid trials just how crucial the human interaction is for our customers.
“Would it surprise you to know that the top complaints reason we record weekly for both sales & Lettings is on our lack of communication with our customers? Well that’s a fact & one that we MUST change in 2017. Let’s make a commitment to communication so much more with all customers.”
Tyrer concludes by saying: “Finally, let’s make a commitment to be an agile team this year, a team that’s more open to change, and more able to have honest and straightforward conversations about how the business is changing & how our decisions are right for the long term, for our Customers, our colleagues & our shareholders. This is the way we will win & grow!
“2017 will be a winning year for us at Countrywide and that’s because we have a great plan & great people in the business. . .
“In 2017 we have such a phenomenal opportunity to stride way out in front of any competitors, take market share and grow our business and I can’t wait to see us all doing that and celebrating being a winning team together this time next year.”