Skanska Reality, a former division of Skanska, needed to improve communication with customers and to streamline processes. It was also looking for a tool to store and manage data on customer housing requests. The company decided to implement a sophisticated CRM system. Based on internal research in other countries, where Skanska operates in the field of development and sales of residential real estate, it decided on Microsoft Dynamics CRM, used by its Finnish branch. After a public tender, LLP Group was selected as implementer. LLP Group was the only company to demonstrate sufficient knowledge in the field of apartment sales, and the ability to customize the system to Skanska Reality’s complex business processes.
Originally Skanska Reality used a decentralized system for all processes related to customer communication and for tracking demand. Each agent had his/her own Excel spreadsheet. This prohibited any substitution of agents when communicating with customers, for example, if an agent suddenly became ill. It also complicated customer handover in cases where an agent left for parental leave. Skanska Reality also tried to correct, standardize and optimize the process of assigning customers to individual agents. Although the company had a relatively precise idea of what its customers were interested in, why they
decided to buy an apartment, or why they preferred a different developer, Skanska needed more useful statistics and reports. Sometimes apartments were reserved for customers for too long and were not, finally, purchased, and this prolonged the overall sales period. The company also wanted to boost efficiency when dealing with client changes/requests and when exchanging information between agents looking after a given customer and the Client Centre (Customer Relations) department. At the end of 2011, Skanska Reality decided to resolve this situation through modern technologies.
Skanska Reality set out, during the first stage of its tendering process, to choose the most suitable CRM software. Following its Finnish branch, it decided on Microsoft Dynamics CRM. It also selected four potential implementation partners with knowledge of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Choosing the right partner was critical because some of the company’s processes are very complicated, such as the selling of apartments, and require different procedures depending on the phase of the real estate development process in which sales are launched. Thus Skanska Reality prepared a case study for the second round of the tender process and
participating round of the tender process and participating companies were required to create a demo environment. Only two out of the four implementation partners made it to the third round. It was know-how, not only in the field of the development and adaptation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM to the company’s specific needs, but also in the areas of real-estate sales and related processes, that determined the winner. Skanska Reality chose LLP Group as implementer since LLP Group demonstrated the best overall knowledge in all fields.
„Skanska Reality a.s. has implemented a sophisticated CRM system with the aim of optimizing agent and customer communication and to streamline its processes. Following internal research across countries where Skanska develops and sells residential real estate, the company decided on Microsoft Dynamics CRM, used by its Finnish branch. A three-stage tender process led to the selection of LLP Group for the implementation of this project because LLP Group was the only company to demonstrate specific know-how in the field of apartment sales and proven ability to customize the system to meet the firm’s complex business process requirements.“
The company decided to work with LLP Group on a complete analysis and possible re-engineering process as part of its CRM implementation. The customers were placed in the first place. Everything was configured so that customer requests were handled as quickly as possible and with the best possible care, including when an agent was ill or on vacation, so that another agent could fully take over communication with a customer without delay. LLP Group also connected Microsoft Dynamics CRM to SAP, where all contracts and contract addenda are archived. The CRM system was also integrated with the company sales website, which shows reserved apartments and helps customers to contact the company if interested in specific projects or apartments.
Customers immediately noticed improvements after the introduction of the new CRM system in April 2013. The process of assigning customers to individual agents based on a whole array of variable criteria was the key to success. Each requirement from a new customer, whether it arrives via the online form or by email or phone, is immediately entered into the system. A customer is immediately assigned to a suitable agent, who is given the task of contacting him or her. LLP Group also linked Microsoft Dynamics CRM to Exchange Server, so that tasks show up not
only in the CRM system, but also in an agent’s Outlook calendar and possibly on his or her mobile phone. Moreover, a cross-check procedure is launched at the same time to monitor how fast a customer is attended to. Agents are motivated to handle customer requests as quickly as possible. In cases when an agent does not contact a client within the prescribed time, the customer’s request is passed on to the agent’s superior for possible escalation.
The process of apartment reservation also underwent huge change. A customer who expresses an interest in reserving a flat has the option of reserving it free-of-charge (non-binding reservation). This request is immediately handed over to an agent, who, after confirming the customer’s interest, confirms the reservation of the apartment in the CRM system. At that moment the reservation also appears online and the agent begins the negotiation process with the customer. If successful, this should end with the drafting of a binding contract. If the contract is not eventually signed, the apartment can then be released for sale to other interested parties who have in the meantime registered on a waiting list. In such a case, the apartment is then immediately reserved for the next interested party on the waiting list when the time limit expires.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM also maintains records of client changes – for example, apartment layout changes or changes in materials – and the status of these changes. The customer negotiates these changes directly with a specialist at the Client Centre department. Each customer agent, who has managed the purchasing process from initial reservation, through contract signing,
the specification of customer requirements and final handover, has continuous access to information about every change as well as direct access to contracts and their appendices. A customer can always be certain that an agent will be fully informed in respect of his or her apartment.
Specific tools for long-term customer care are also an important new feature. These relate not only to customers who have already bought an apartment from Skanska Reality, but also those who have yet to choose one. The company separates customers into several categories: those who have just started to think about buying an apartment and those who buy apartments repeatedly, for example, with the aim of letting them. Requests that cannot be currently met are also entered into the CRM system as these represent potential future sales. For example, clients who have expressed an interest in a five-room apartment in Prague 4 at a time when there is no availability, are immediately contacted when a new project in the area with five-room apartments is ready. They are contacted even before the project is listed on the website. The CRM system also helps agents with mass mailings. Customers receive letters on the launch of a building project or about the completion of interior walls; these are generated directly in the CRM system.
Information about unfulfilled demand, which is systematically collected and evaluated using the new CRM system, has become one of the key inputs for the preparation of new projects. Skanska Reality has an exact overview of which apartments are sold fastest including what types of apartment in which locations and also what price range generates the greatest interest. Skanska began to adapt their new projects to this information. Now, if the company notices a higher unfulfilled demand for five-room apartments, then planned projects can be adjusted accordingly.
Agents also enter information on why an apartment was not sold into the CRM system. This enables Skanska to look for apartments in new projects for such customers and to contact them with a targeted offer. Take for example, the new residential project in Modřany, where even before the project appeared on the company website, agents knew to whom they could offer individual apartments and could contact them. In the future, with the growth in the volume of information acquired in the CRM system, the impact of analytical input will be even more important and will help to sell housing projects quicker.
Agents, who are key to good sales and customer care, often work in the field and communicate with customers directly at individual building sites. So Skanska Reality is considering that, in the future, it will work with LLP Group to provide agents with tablets and direct mobile connection to the CRM system. Agents would then have available all necessary information about customers, their needs and requirements and
about individual building sites, enabling them quickly to react to customer requests and immediately enter information into the CRM system. This would ensure further acceleration of the handling of client requests and offer the customer greater comfort when buying an apartment from Skanska Reality.