Intetics – Software & Technology Innovation Award 2016

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Intetics Delivers Guaranteed Results with Predictive Software Engineering

Intetics creates and operates effective distributed technology teams focused on software product development, IT support, quality assurance and data processing. The CEO and President Boris Kontsevoi explains their new software development framework: Predictive Software Engineering.  

Software development, especially when outsourced, can be a scary, problematic process for many companies. Intetics, a U.S.-based company with software development centres in Eastern Europe, has a way of guaranteeing software development results and ensure that clients know what kind of system they will get at the end of the partnership.

In this Q&A, President Boris Kontsevoi tells us all about the latest trends in the software and technology industry and how a new framework for software development, Predictive Software Engineering (PSE), will help guarantee results and improve communication when engaging with clients.

What’s the current state of software services?

Software services are in high demand, as companies launch digital transformation projects and focus on improving their core services and customer relationships. Many companies need help developing and scaling their products and processes – and that’s where Intetics comes in. Market demand in this sphere is driven by two main factors: availability of skilled talent and the provider’s ability to deliver complete and reliable solutions. Companies want to work with skilled professionals, but they also want to know when and how they will be able to use their new technology. To solve both problems, Intetics builds distributed teams that can deliver the right solution, built by the right people.

What is the biggest concern for clients who choose to outsource their software development?

The biggest concern for companies who choose to outsource software development is getting a quality result on time. When another party is working on your code or platform, it’s very hard to verify how good the new code is or how well the resulting application will perform. What’s more, the tech partner will often ask for more time or say there’s been a bug, which will push the project end date by 3 months. Others go as far as to say that software development is a process and “it’ll be right when it’s right”. That’s actually quite strange, if you think about the fact that computer science is supposed to be a science. Most want to know from the beginning how long the project will take and what the investment is going to be. The main focus for us is how can we guarantee the end result at the very beginning of the project.
  

What is Predictive Software Engineering (PSE)?

To guarantee results at the very beginning of the project, we use a process we developed ourselves called Predictive Software Engineering (PSE). Many companies have experience in managing distributed teams, but the market lacks the ability to measure the results. In fact, there’s an entire market shift from paying per hour or per service, to paying for concrete and guaranteed solutions. PSE is a software product development framework that does precisely that; a disciplined delivery process with guaranteed results.

What’s the reason behind developing this framework?

Intetics has provided software development services for twenty years. Based on experience and industry analysis, we found that 70% of a project’s activities are largely similar. In other words, software development will always consist of certain steps, like system architecture and coding. These still vary, but they can all be put under the “software engineering” umbrella. The remaining 30% can be attributed to vertical expertise and can vary a lot. These are the attributes of a system that are required in a given industry, like any financial software has to have certain features because of compliance issues. So, while only 30% of a project’s activity will vary based on the team’s experience and domain, 70% of the software development process is fairly predictable. Yet, despite a large portion of the process being predictable, many vendors cannot guarantee when development will be fully complete. PSE was developed to remedy that and provide guaranteed, replicable results in software development.

How does Predictive Software Engineering work?

PSE is about improving communication and breaking down the development process into smaller pieces, with people developing really specific expertise in a specific field. Therefore, we’ve broken the software development process into 4 main spheres. These are: 1. business analysis (understanding client requirements), 2. project management, 3. engineering (actual programming activities) and 4. support (IT maintenance, feature integration). We have people who specialize in each of the 4 pieces (in addition to their software development expertise), making the development process more precise and predictable. Although this process might sound trivial, we apply 7 specific principles to each sphere, which is what makes it a truly unique process.

So PSE consists of 4 main fields with specialized people working in each field, what are the 7 principles that makes this model stand out?

All 4 pieces adhere to 7 principles that make PSE truly transformative. First, Meaningful Customer Care ensures clear communication with the client at every stage of the process. It may include a customer portal where a client can check on the progress of their project. Transparent End-to-End Control focuses on instilling productivity and proactivity as the cornerstones of development. Third, Proven Productivity ensures that the team stays focused. It means giving the components of the project to the most qualified members. Next, Efficient Distributed Teams can be created by focusing on high communication modes, shared community to troubleshoot problems, and aligning technology to fit the project’s requirements. Fifth, a Disciplined Agile Delivery process gives us a scientific and measurable approach to software development. Then, by creating a Quality Management Platform, we ensure that software is of high qualit­­­­y by measuring key software quality metrics. It’s an actual platform that can be easily accessed by any project stakeholder to check on the project’s progress. Finally, Sound Human Development emphasizes the importance of sustaining and growing talent, as the framework relies on highly trained individuals who know how to operate in a highly proactive environment.

What are the key attributes you possess that make you an award winning business leader?

I’ve always focused on results and making sure that Intetics delivers what it promises. When we build a piece of software and call it “quality”, we guarantee results. In addition, we focus on the client. Over the past twenty years we’ve introduced 3 different business models and transformed the process of software development outsourcing. We are able to do this by paying specific attention to our client needs – and designing services that improve services according to those needs. Finally, our engineers constantly help our clients build products that make them leaders in their industry. Technology can be transformative and innovative, and we want to enable our clients to take utmost advantage from it.

How do you think the software and technology industry has changed over the past year, and how has this changed your business?

In the industry nowadays, there is much more demand for guaranteed results as more companies are searching for ways to complete their digital transformation projects. Many companies remember the time when they have ordered apps, and the applications ended up not being quite right. Others are only just starting to realise that they need to upgrade their systems. Either way, as companies look for a technology partner, they also want to know what results they can expect. And that’s the latest issue we have tackled with the new PSE framework. With this model, our clients know exactly what they will get at the end of cooperation with Intetics. There’s no guesswork – Intetics is making software development a precise, scientific discipline.

What are your thoughts on the state of your industry currently? Are there any particular issues/changes that are affecting software and technology innovation?

There are a number of exciting trends that are going to change the landscape of software services in the coming years. For example, Internet of Things will create much more demand for apps and integration. At the same time, emphasis on quality will be paramount as everything becomes shared and it will be imperative that everything functions together safely. The big disruptor will be Artificial Intelligence, enabling companies to make sense of their data and use it to make predictions and prescriptions. Plus, Robotic Automation Systems will revolutionize business services. As these technologies become more available, the focus on quality will be paramount.

Companies will have to create new technologies – and when they do, they will want to know why is custom better than just taking pieces from here and there, and they’ll want to know exactly what to expect.

What has been the most important thing you have learnt as a business so far and how has this helped you achieve success?

We have learnt to focus on service. As a software development shop, it’s easy to dream about that next big app that you will build, but after we realised that we excel at service, things became much easier. We didn’t constantly have to come up with ideas unrelated to our core business. We could just focus on our customer and delivery technology, like PSE, and ensure we provided good results for them.

How do you think software and technology innovations help to improve the development and growth of business operations in the future?

We are in a technology-driven world, where every business will end up using some piece of software to make their business better and more efficient. We pay attention to what our clients want and strive to provide it before they actually have to ask for it. For example, we implemented our Quality Management Platform because we saw how it would improve our customer experience. Not many companies are able to create and recreate new business processes. We have a transparent process in place that allows us and our clients to be sure we can deliver quality software every time.

In the future, Intetics plans on spreading the idea of PSE across the industry. The framework has the potential to transform how software companies operate. Intetics is proud to be part of an exciting journey towards more transparency and guaranteed delivery. Currently, Intetics is working on a book, which is still in preliminary stages.

Boris Kontsevoi is the Founder and President of Intetics Inc, a software development company based in Naples, Florida. He has over 30 years of managing experience and about 40 scientific publications. He was a featured speaker at several international conferences. He holds a Master’s degree in Radiophysics and Computer Science from the Belarus State University and certificates in project management from Aspen (ISIM) University, Colorado, USA. He is Certified Outsourcing Professional (COP), a professional designation awarded by International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP) to leading outsourcing practitioners that demonstrated ability to design, implement and manage successful outsourcing initiatives.

Company: Intetics Inc.

Name: Boris Kontsevoi

Email: [email protected] 

Web Address: www.intetics.com             

Address: 10001 Tamiami Tr N, Suite 114, Naples, FL, 34108, USA

Telephone: +1-877-763-8338


CGS – Software & Technology Innovation Award 2016

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Strong Client Relationships Key to Success for CGS

CGS (Computer Generated Solutions) has been running for over 30 years. In this engaging interview, the CEO Phil Friedman, talks us through what the company does to stay ahead of its competitors and to stay relevant in the current market.

Headquartered in New York City, Computer Generated Solutions, Inc. (CGS) employs more than seven and a half thousand professionals across North America, Latin America, Europe, The Middle East and Asia. CGS  was set up to support global enterprises, regional companies and government agencies with business applications, learning systems and outsourcing services to solve the fundamental business challenges they face.

CGS president and CEO Phil Friedman tells us about the companies’ clients and their ongoing business strategy. “Our clients span across several industries including fashion apparel, healthcare, hospitality as well as technology and telecoms. With offices spanning four continents, CGS delivers services to customers throughout 45 countries. Our strategy has always been one that focuses on our global presence to support our multinational clients, who are looking for business process solutions around the globe. CGS responds to this need. We are continuously looking for ways to meet our customers’ growing objectives, and in an effort to do this we envision further expansion in Asia and central Europe.”

When undertaking a new project, CGS understands that clients’ needs come first. “At CGS, we know that there is nothing basic about the fundamental business processes organisations rely on. Whenever we start working with a new customer or on a new project, we partner with that client to address the requirements to implement powerful, sensible solutions that strengthen our customers’ business and help to develop and support the foundation for future growth.

Throughout its growth, CGS has remained true to its entrepreneurial beginnings. The company values speed over bureaucracy and innovation over the commonplace, directly aligning its objectives with clients’ needs. The staff are the driving force behind every system, process and partnership. CGS’s global teams of experts strive to understand the core business problems each client is looking to address, adapt methodologies to fit clients’ unique culture, design tailor-made solutions and embed staff within client organisations, at times the company’s clients do not distinguish CGS’s team from their own.

With a team approach and attitude, a collaborative working style emphasizes unity, trust and open-mindedness for differing opinions to bring the best ideas and solutions to customers. From national holiday parties to local charitable programs, CGS employees are making a difference. The company offers technical and product training as well as health seminars, providing ongoing programs for destressing and encouraging employees’ healthy living habits, including chair yoga and “Fruitful Fridays.”

“CGS is focused on both the technology needed for success, as well as strong client relationships. We believe that rock-solid systems and reliable tools alongside knowledgeable team members and well-resourced relationships are the keys to successful, win-win projects with our clients.” This is what has helped CGS to become an award-winning business.

Over the past year, the software and technology industry has changed considerably as Phil explains, “We have seen a dramatic increase in mobile technology and cloud-based solutions. These solutions have become more affordable, scalable and responsive to customer needs. CGS has grown rapidly in this space, delivering cloud solutions – including mobile-based applications and cloud-delivered support. We estimate that within ten years, 70-80% of business applications will be delivered via the cloud.”

It is important for any business to stay on top of the current trends in the industry and CGS is no exception. “To stay relevant in the technology industry you must constantly evolve and grow with current trends while understanding what the competition is doing. It is also crucial that you surround yourself with talented people who have technology and industry knowledge in order to drive continuous innovation.” In order to stay ahead of their competitors, CGS listens to its customers to ensure they create innovative and successful products, “Our clients are our best asset in knowing what the industry needs. We have a ‘Customer Advisory Board’ that intimately knows our roadmap, helps shape future goals and adds value to our plans.”

Phil tells us what the future holds for CGS and explains how its software application suite, BlueCherry®, is helping to drive its success forward. “CGS is a growing company. Within eighteen months, we will exceed ten thousand employees, providing world-class solutions and developing new products and services. In addition, I would add that our flagship software applications, the CGS BlueCherry® Enterprise Software suite is becoming the standard solution in the industry. BlueCherry® was developed for the apparel, footwear and consumer goods market and it would not be surprising if it begins to take hold in other vertical markets as well.

“In business, you are never done. In the event you reach your objective, then you need to set the next plateau to accomplish. The time that you stop challenging yourself, you will go backwards.”

Company: CGS

Name: Phil Friedman, CGS president and CEO

Email:

Web Address: www.cgsinc.com

Address: 200 Vesey, Brookfield Place, 27th Floor, New York, NY 10281

Telephone: 212-408-3800

CMO of the Month – Bolon

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Bolon Transformed from Weaving Mill to International Brand

Founded in 1949, Bolon is a Swedish design company with one hundred employees, offering innovative flooring solutions for the contract industry. Helen Emanuelsson, their award winning CMO tells us how the company operates.

Bolon is managed by sisters Annica and Marie Eklund, the third generation of the family to own the company. Under their leadership, Bolon has transformed from a traditional weaving mill into an international design brand with a list of clientele that includes Armani, Google, Volvo Cars, Adidas, Skype, Missoni and Radisson Red. Bolon has a very strong commitment to sustainability, and we design and manufacture all of our products at our facility in Ulricehamn, Sweden. The company is recognised worldwide for our award winning flooring and our collaborations with some of the world’s most acclaimed innovators and creatives, such as Cappellini, Jean Nouvel and Doshi Levien. In 2015, Bolon’s turnover was 278 million SEK (32.5 million USD).

Helen Emanuelsson, CMO of the month, explains the ongoing business strategy for Bolon and how it is just as important tell this story as it is to talk about any Bolon product for all sales people, brand ambassadors and global employees.

“Bolon is a premium brand in the high-end contract industry. Our products are 100% made in Sweden. Our export is 95% to 55 countries worldwide. We work very closely with ca twenty-five partners (exclusive distributors) in the local markets, where USA, UK, France and Japan are the biggest. Scandinavia and Germany are direct market, where we have our own sales people. A very important part of the brand is the Bolon story. Bolon is a family company with the 3rd generation running it. The grandfather founded the company in 1949. The Eklund sisters, who own the company today, took it from being a traditional flooring industry to an international design brand in only a few years. They have more than tripled the turnover since they took over in 2003.

“One of our core principles is also to work with great innovators and well-known architects and designers, to exchange knowledge and experience. We have a collaboration with Jean Nouvel right now, and we will launch a new flooring collection together in 2017, with a pre-launch in Paris this October. During the years we have worked with Giulio Cappellini, the Campana brothers, Ilse Crawford, Paul Smith, Tom Dixon, Missoni, Doshi-Levien and many more.”

When approaching a new project or client, Bolon believe that personal relations with clients are still very important. They have a rather complex sales process and has to build relations with several different segments in the buying chain.

“Architects and designers are, besides the end-users, our most important target group since they specify our products in their projects – mainly offices, hotels and retail. The buying client is either a flooring contractor or the end-user. It can also be a real estate developer. Besides regular A&D and client visits in the local markets, we have international guests coming to Sweden every week. A very high service and a personal treatment is in Bolon’s DNA and we see direct effects on the business from our international architect and client visits to the factory. With Bolon’s three guest houses in Ulricehamn; The Lake House, The Urban House and the Farm House, we can give visitors and clients a fantastic experience, far beyond their expectations. Together with the Eklund owned La Villa Madonna vineyard in Piemonte, Italy, this has been developed into a hospitality concept, to support our core business.”

On being a successful CMO, Helen describes how she has managed to motivate herself with the help of her colleagues, as well as the challenges she has had to overcome.

“I could never be successful without my team and my colleagues. If they are motivated and engaged, then I am. It’s my responsibility to give the team the right prerequisites to make a good job and reach the targets. My strategy as a leader is delegation and management by objectives, and at the same time being supportive in the daily work. I believe in involving the team as much as possible along the journey, it’s so important to make middle management and employees grow and feel motivated.

“Leadership is about leading yourself, then leading others and then leading the business. All three are equally important and dependent on each other. As a leader, you are working with human beings and you have to learn to understand how your own behaviour affects your team, and how this, in turn, actually affects the business result. This is a learning process and it’s nothing you do perfectly from day 1. This is an important insight and I try to be observant and humble to this fact.

“To be able to do my job, I have to spend time out in the local markets, meeting partners and clients, so I travel quite a lot. Also, I strongly believe that it’s important to constantly challenge yourself and not get stuck in old patterns.”

According to Helen, digitisation has transformed the communication landscape, therefore Bolon has had to adapt to the changes in marketing over the years.

“I have had a background in brand development and communication strategy for many years. When I started in the business, brand building was seen only as something that was taken care of in the marketing department. Today, companies see the importance of implementing a brand platform that involves everybody and permeates the whole organisation.

“An important change now is that we are going from outbound to inbound marketing. The technical development brings about a transparency where brands and commercial interests are perused and eyed-up in a completely new way, which gives the consumer increased power. Peer-to-peer and word-of-mouth recommendations are by far the strongest powers in marketing today. Networks of people create new, disruptive businesses. To stay relevant and engage consumers meaningfully, brands will need to be clear about their identity and values, and develop collaborative platforms that let people play the role of co-creators. The communication is not from company to consumer – it is peer-to-peer, and people-to-people.”

In general business-to-business buyer behaviour is changing. Helen explains that Bolon has had to respond to the changes in the industry, mainly adjusting to clients’ needs.

“Potential customers are readily turning to their personal networks and publicly available information online to self-diagnose their problems and form opinions about solutions. The average customer has completed up to 70% of the purchase decision-making process prior to engaging a supplier sales rep directly, and more and more B2B purchases take place online. As a company, if we fail to “show up strong” in this context we are underserving potential customers and at risk of losing clients and sales opportunities. We have to be responsive, have a nimble organisation and improve knowledge in buyer understanding.

“Sustainability is extremely important – I think the design industry have turned, where people today are much more interested in the production process and material; some years ago it could be enough with a cool label or a famous designer. To have all our manufacturing in Sweden gives us control and the possibility to constantly challenge ourselves with new thinking and development with sustainability as a lead star. Bolon invested 150 million SEK (17.5 million USD) over the last 5 years to be able to offer a product that is recyclable and with no added phthalates, just to mention a few of our initiatives. We do not only want to be trailblazing in our own industry, but also lead the development from a sustainable perspective.”

Technology is extremely important to Bolon, as Helen describes, “As John Chambers, chairman of Cisco Systems put it: “Digitisation will change all companies equally brutal”. Bolon has so far built the brand very successfully through differentiated marketing and communication, but we have to follow the technical development very carefully or competitors will be faster in embracing new digital tools and strategies.

“We have created a digital team and are working in different projects across the organisation, to ensure we are moving along – or even moving ahead –  the extremely fast development of technology and are absolutely up to date within social media and digital tools for our different target groups.”

To ensure the continued success of the company, sustainability and digitisation are two very important areas to follow,

“The climate anxiety has matured and has gone from denial and passivity to action. We see a much broader questioning of lifestyles and consumption. To the new generation of conscious consumers, the future life of a product is important; can it be inherited, recycled, shared or reused? Younger generations’ adaptive behaviour to the new digital business models like Spotify and Netflix means that we move from owning and using things, towards having access to them when we need them. Companies will own the products to a greater extent – maintain and update them, repack and resale them, rent them out or provide new services around the product.

“The exponential growth of digital development and sustainability consciousness will lead to new strategies and disruptive business models. Not only does the brand have to permeate the whole organisation; so does innovation and sustainability. If the consumer’s demand is: reuse, recycle, reduce – then I believe the answer for the company is: redefine, rethink and remodel.”

Helen is aware that change in the industry can happen very quickly and is not naïve to future challenges the company may have. However, she plans to continue with Bolon to explore these changes head on.

“Hopefully I am still with Bolon! But by then a lot will have probably happened in the way we work with our brand building and marketing. With the exciting changes in our surrounding world, not the least when it comes to sustainability and digitisation, I hope to work even more with management and development of business strategy. I believe we have a very exciting future ahead of us where we will have to cope with an increasingly complex environment. Being an international certified future strategist, I have a great interest in a holistic view on strategy, through the whole chain from external environment and trend analysis, to development of robust and sustainable future strategies.

“I am fortunate to work for a company where the owners have a very strong vision and a lot of courage. Bolon always has a lot of projects in the pipeline, and we never stand still. If some companies might have a lack of ideas for the future, our problem is the other way around; we have so many ideas that we want to realise, that it’s sometimes difficult to prioritise and ‘kill your darlings’. We are currently developing our next 5-year business plan, which will be implemented in the beginning of next year, and we see a very exciting future ahead of us that will take Bolon to the next level.”

Company:           Bolon

Name:                  Helen Emanuelsson

Email:                    [email protected]

Web Address:    www.bolon.com

Address:              Industrivagen 12, SE-52390 Ulricehamn, Sweden

Telephone:         46 321 530 400.

Mobile:                46 702 099 575

CMO Of The Month – Homeserve

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HomeServe Is Changing Customers Lives for the Better

Three years ago, HomeServe is far removed from the company that it is today. Under the leadership of our UK CEO Martin Bennett, and supported by a fantastic executive team, we’ve spent huge amounts of time and resources reshaping our business and culture. It’s not been an easy journey by any means, but by building the HomeServe brand from the inside out, we’ve achieved something incredibly special.

Our headquarters are in Walsall in the West Midlands and we have two thousand nine hundred employees across our UK sites, which also include Preston, Banbury, Nottingham and London, as well our nationwide network of engineers helping our Customers every day. We’re proud to serve more than two million customers across the UK who trust us when it comes to fixing, maintaining and looking after their homes.

We also work alongside a range of major utility and energy companies – eighteen in total, including many familiar household names – to deliver our products and services into the nations’ homes. Our aim is to make our services as effortless as possible for customers and be recognised as the number one home assistance company in the UK.

We started the process by focusing on our people, as our staff own the customer experience each and every time. I’m a big believer that if you take care of your people, they will take care of your customers, and the rest will take care of itself. I’m very fortunate to have a fantastic team working with me. By getting the right people beside you and having them all driving towards the same goals, it’s pretty easy to stay positive and focused.

Martin Bennett, our CEO, has been a tremendous support to me both professionally and personally and is getting all the recognition he deserves. He won the UK’s ‘Most People-Focused CEO’ at the 2016 HR Excellence Awards and his Glassdoor ratings – which includes anonymous ratings from our own people – put him alongside some globally-recognised leaders, along with the CEOs of Google, McDonalds and American Express.

Our ongoing approach is our ‘Effortless 2020’ strategy which aims to always make life easier and ensure our customers have an effortless experience. That means our people are empowered and we’re all pulling in the same direction to make HomeServe a successful, customer-focused business. It’s a business now that is a reflection of its people, and that makes it authentic.

Everything we’re seeing – whether they are customer numbers; satisfaction and retention figures; new partnership signings; employee engagement levels; independent review scores or recognition and awards – are testament to the fact that our strategy is working and we’re getting a lot of the important things right.

My personal motivation is to deliver a product that really helps customers when they most need help. If we can get this right, then we can change their lives forever. We have a truly engaged workforce; they are a powerful positive force to have with you. I think one of the pillars of that has been absolutely trusting and empowering our people to get it right for customers. It’s a joy to walk into work each day and I don’t think I’ve ever felt that way before.

We’ve created ‘Customer First’, where any of our staff can take responsibility on what they feel to be the right thing for a customer. We meet at 8.30am every day to consider specific customer matters. Since launch, we have helped over two thousand customers who weren’t actually covered for the work we did but it was the right thing to do to help them.

Our focus on honest, open and two-way communication has also been intense and exciting. We’ve committed to everything from huge set-piece face-to-face events, to broad adoption of social conversations or personal one-to-ones with me. I try and make myself as available as possible for the one to ones as they’re incredibly valuable – but so fulfilling! If you encourage feedback from your customers and your people, they will trust you more. If you use it to evolve what you do, you will become a stronger business.

Our people know we want them to challenge us and make suggestions for improvement. They understand our strategy, the role they play and, most importantly, why it matters. They understand all this because we’ve shaped this strategy together.

I think everything I have done before I joined HomeServe has served as an apprenticeship for what I do now. In term of my own personal development, I think the biggest change is how I view the world from a position of leadership. In the past, I used to come at everything from a position of knowledge. However, as my experience has grown I have really understood what it means to be a leader. For me, that’s about empowering my people to become the best they can possibly be and setting them free.

I think one of my key leadership strengths is that I find the right ways to get a lot of people moving in the same direction. We’ve done that by focusing on our people and getting the customer experience right. It’s how you build a brand from the inside out. In the last three years, we have gone from being a business that wants to sell something to customers to being a business that genuinely wants to help them. We want to earn the right to retain their business, by doing the right things.

Focus on the end goal is crucial. For us, everything we have done and everything we continue to do must add to or improve the customer experience. In general, if it doesn’t add value for the customer, we don’t do it. An example is cancellation charges. I don’t like them because I believe that customers can leave when they want if we’re not doing our jobs right. It’s then up to us to get them back with us later down the line.

Everything you do should do exactly what it is supposed to for customers. If our customers have a good experience, they will tell other people about us. Word of mouth and personal recommendations are such incredibly powerful marketing tools for businesses like ours.

I think the key word for us should be authenticity. In today’s world of social media and real-time feedback, there is nowhere to hide so we have to make sure this business is completely customer-focused. Our TrustPilot and Reevoo scores are reaching some of the highest levels in the company’s history, our customer feedback and social media sentiment has been more positive than ever, customer numbers are on the up, retention is strong and the awards cabinet is starting to bulge a little bit more too!

Our brand marketing is all about our customers too – telling stories about the experiences they’ve had with us. If a company is going to have any credibility, sincerity and authenticity in its storytelling, it is better keeping its powder dry until it has a story worth telling. That’s what we did as we focused on getting our business right first. We got our people engaged in our strategy. We committed to Effortless 2020 and making life easier for our customers. As John Greaves, our Global Brand Director says: “It’s about getting organised so you’re not paying lip service but actually giving the best possible service for your customers and finding ways to make their lives easier. It’s not rocket science.”.

Only recently, I was asked about how some businesses can rebuild trust with customers, while others can’t. For us, if it’s not something that directly helps us give customers a better service, then we don’t do it. In my opinion, that’s what all truly customer-focused businesses should do. All too often, insurance businesses are intent on telling people why they can’t claim on their policies. We’re not like that which I think makes us unique. In that “moment of truth” when the customer needs us, I want us to be there for them. It’s not a difficult thing to do but I think it’s not something that every business in our sector does. We’re trying to make sure that we are doing exactly what the customer thinks we are going to do.

There’s also a seismic shift currently underway in the insurance sector, and it’s taking us from responding to problems to preventing them in the first place. Innovation and technology are creating so many opportunities in this space and we have ambitions to capitalise on that. It’s all about the opportunities we have as insurers to stop something from happening.

One of our “How to Wins” at HomeServe Membership is to nurture an innovation culture. This means we empower our people to be able to experiment with new ideas and inventions that will help us make life easier for our customers and grow the business at the same time.

Many of the ideas looked at digital technologies, and one of the most exciting innovations was created very recently, called LeakBot. Unidentified water leaks in homes are the single biggest cause of claims on home insurance policies – more is paid out on this issue than for anything else. So, we’ve created a smart gadget that identifies leaks anywhere on your home’s fresh water plumbing system and alerts the homeowner to a potential problem which we can solve before the costs rack up. It’s just one example of the ongoing work we’re doing to make life as effortless and easy for our customers as we can.

Five years from now, we’ll be stronger because of the experiences and challenges we have faced. Since 2014, we’ve been working on ‘Effortless 2020’, our long term strategy. We hope we’ll be able to have more HomeServe customers because they will know more about us and they will want to take advantage of the range of products and services we provide. I want HomeServe to be a name that people associate with making their lives easier and recognised as the UK’s number one home assistance provider.

In terms of our people, we want them to continue to feel empowered and to know they’re making a difference when they come to work. We’ve got targets for where we want to be by 2020 and, alongside Martin, the Executive team, my marketing team and every one of the 2,900 people who represent our business, I’ll make sure we use every day until that point to get there.

Company: HomeServe UK

Name: Greg Reed

Email:

Web Address: https://www.homeserve.com/

Address: HomeServe, Cable Drive, Walsall, WS2 7BN

Telephone: 0800 694 4167