Zoopla is a comprehensive portal for property sales and lettings in the UK. The website and app provide users with information on sold property prices and current value estimates, area trends and statistics, as well as a directory of expert local estate agents.
Conga, a specialist in commercial operations transformation, helped Zoopla transform its commercial operations at the onset of the first COVID-19 lockdown. Continuing a seven-year relationship, Zoopla leveraged Conga Composer, Conga Sign and Conga Batch to facilitate the communication and implementation of Zoopla’s support packages and streamline its business review process.
As COVID-19 lockdown restrictions were announced in March 2020, the UK property market witnessed a significant drop in demand for housing, with consumer confidence and market activity hit hard at the onset of the pandemic. Buyer demand over the seven days leading up to March 23 – the date of the first UK national lockdown – was down 40% on the level recorded one week prior, as would-be home buyers paused on major decisions and took stock of the unfolding events in the UK and around the world. The uncertainty
surrounding the property market, combined with the reported risks to the wider economy, led to agents cancelling their direct debits for Zoopla’s portal.
To overcome the panicked situation, and to help its agents during a challenging period, Zoopla offered its customers support packages of up to nine months’ free use of its portal. However, Zoopla needed to rapidly communicate this with its entire customer base and facilitate agents signing new contracts electronically when businesses had only just begun to work remotely.
Having worked with Conga for several years, Zoopla consulted Conga for an end-to-end commercial operations solution that would make the communication and implementation of its support packages more efficient. Zoopla utilised Conga Composer®, Conga Sign and Conga Batch to generate and distribute customised contracts and direct debit mandates for its agents to sign electronically.
Zoopla used Conga Composer, a cloud-based tool for generating automated digital documents – which it had already implemented in 2014 – to contact the vast numbers of agents and automatically generate new support package contracts for them. Using a templated document, Composer quickly generated error-free digital documents for Zoopla, enabling it to get rid of any roadblocks in its support package process and speeding up the process of signing up agents.
Using Conga’s e-signature technology, Conga Sign – the phased roll-out of which ended in March 2020 – the company was able to secure digital signatures from agents remotely. Since using Sign, Zoopla has not only been able to move away from the traditional way of using ‘wet’ signatures, which is time-consuming and complex, but it was also able to continue securing signatures at the business-critical time of rolling out its support packages at the onset of the pandemic.
Challenges involved with implementation:
When the first of the support packages came to an end in August 2020, Zoopla then needed to start negotiating new agreements with its agents. Zoopla’s account managers and customer success managers conducted business reviews with agents requiring the compilation of data from multiple sources, which they could then analyse. Using Conga Composer, they were able to gather the required data into a single document at the click of a button.
Following this, Zoopla also needed to prepare for setting up direct debits for customers to use its portal again. Zoopla used Conga Batch – an optional add-on to Composer that generates automated documents in bulk – to generate new contracts and direct debit forms that could be sent and signed with an e-signature. Generating and sending direct debit forms individually to just 1,000 agents would have taken more than eight hours. However, with Conga, this process took approximately 45 minutes.
“When we needed to install Batch, Conga made this possible in just a few days – we simply couldn’t have done it without their support,” says Stephanie Mackay, project delivery manager at Zoopla.
Overall, Zoopla’s entire customer base was offered support packages.
“Since implementing Conga’s product suite, automating our processes accurately and reliably has saved our account managers so much time, meaning more time can now be devoted to servicing existing customers and generating new business,” says Stephanie Mackay, project delivery manager at Zoopla. “These automated processes were particularly critical for us during the pandemic, where there was so much disruption. The partnership and trust we had already built with Conga made a huge difference in responding to the crisis and supporting agents.”
When it came to the business review process, what used to take up to 45 minutes per document, now takes approximately three seconds. When conducting eight business reviews per week, the overall time saved, whilst maintaining high quality, has radically boosted team productivity.
The speed at which Zoopla could compile business reviews allowed account managers and customer success managers to check in with agents more frequently to continue to provide support and to gauge market sentiment, improving customer relationships as a result.
Zoopla then started utilising Conga Composer to update its business plan in real time with the objectives that arose from these business reviews, to ensure the company was responding well to the market and the continuing challenges of the pandemic.
Using Conga’s Commercial Operations Suite not only aided continuing business operations at such a volatile time in the market, but it also provided longer-term results for Zoopla by streamlining its revenue processes and improving the customer journey. This meant that, during a sustained period of uncertainty for the property industry, Zoopla’s teams could spend more time and energy on customer acquisition, rather than retention.
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