A new kite mark for excellence
The founder of The ESTAS Group, Simon Brown, talks to Solicitors Journal about his new award scheme highlighting the customer service achievements of solicitors
SJ: So, what are The ESTAS?
SB: The ESTAS are the customer feedback platform and award scheme for the residential property industry that recognises the best firms for customer service. Winners are decided purely on ratings from customers so The ESTAS platform also provides firms with valuable customer feedback with benchmarking tools and powerful, genuine client testimonials.
SJ: Why launch in the conveyancing sector?
SB: The ESTAS platform has been serving the estate agency sector for 14 years. We believe that a similar feedback platform and award scheme is long overdue for the conveyancing sector. Yes, I know that there are other awards out there and they have their place in the industry but for any firm to really call themselves the best in their particular market place they need to be judged by the people that use their services on a daily basis – the clients. Like it or not we live in a world where customer reviews are becoming increasingly important in the consumer decision-making process, not just for hotels and restaurants but for property-related decisions as well. So our mission is to make The ESTAS the kite mark for excellent service in the conveyancing sector and that’s why we’ve launched The Conveyancer Awards now.
SJ: So, how does it work?
SB: Well, it’s incredibly simple. As soon as a firm is signed up they have access to their own ESTAS dashboard. From there they can send email invites to clients asking them to complete our simple online survey which takes no more than 90 seconds to complete. On their dashboard firms can track their customer feedback score and benchmark their performance regionally and nationally, and they’ll also be able to view client feedback comments and use them in marketing channels.
SJ: What about social media?
SB: Firms can stream client testimonials out on social media at the push of a button, providing a ready-made ‘serviced themed’ marketing campaign. Firms also get access to a host of other collateral to promote their participation, highlighting their commitment to the highest standards of customer service and giving them industry recognition from the moment they join The ESTAS platform.
SJ: What about the actual awards?
SB: Our ESTAS Awards events are already the most highly regarded in the industry and areheld at the Grosvenor House in London each year and hosted – since their inception 14 years ago – by our brand ambassador and the most trusted media property expert, Phil Spencer, providing another invaluable marketing benefit for all firms taking part. The next ESTAS Estate Agent Awards will be held on 12 May at the Grosvenor in front of 1,000 of the UK’s top agents. The first ESTAS Conveyancer Awards will also be held at the Grosvenor House and hosted by Phil Spencer on 3 October.
SJ: How can conveyancers get involved?
SB: Entry is open now and there are categories available for single branch firms at a cost of just £175 which includes all the tools I’ve already mentioned. There are also categories for regional groups with multiple offices and national firms as well as the People Awards category recognising the efforts of individual members of staff from all firms taking part.
SJ: How are the winners decided?
SB: Winners of each category are decided purely on customer service ratings which are calculated on the average score achieved plus a maximum 10 per cent bonus related to the number of votes received, so this is not a volume game here. We want to recognise the quality of service provided not the quantity of transactions achieved by firms.
SJ: What are the key dates?
SB: Entries are open now and close on 28 April. Voting is live until the end of May. The shortlists will be announced in June and all shortlisted firms will receive a promotional pack free of charge to kick start their marketing opportunity before the first annual awards take place on 3 October. SJ