11 questions we ask every agent: Ange & Co
We speak to Emma O’Neill, office manager at Ange & Co, an independent estate agent with a focus on customer service based in Lowestoft, Suffolk. Here she talks about the benefits of slick CRM software to support day-to-day tasks.
Can you tell us a bit about your agency – what areas do you cover and how long have you been operating?
Ange & Co is a modern, well-known estate agency owned and run by Ange Henderson – a familiar, local face providing a professional service. We’ve been in business since 2010 covering Lowestoft in Suffolk and the surrounding areas.
How and why did you get into estate agency?
We received a poor estate agency service when buying and selling personally and wanted to provide an excellent service to vendors and buyers. I think it matters – people remember good customer service.
What would you say are the biggest challenges your agency has faced over the past year?
The biggest challenge is the reduction in buyers because of the cost of living increases and higher interest rates. Fewer people are moving unless they really have to, and that’s a real challenge when selling properties.
How long have you been using estate agent software? How has it changed the way you run your agency?
We’ve used dedicated software from the beginning. I don’t think you can run a modern estate agency without software these days, it’s vital to so many of our day-to-day tasks.
What made you move to Alto, and were there any business challenges or problems that encouraged you to make the change?
It was an easy decision for us to move because the previous software wasn’t being supported in the way it had been.
We didn’t feel we had much choice but to move on, but it didn’t take long to see the positive difference it would make for the team.
Did you and your team have many concerns about changing software? Did you use the Alto training?
The only concerns we had related to learning a new system – it’s always a challenge moving to something new and picking up the software.
We all used the training but we found the best thing was just to use the system until we were familiar with it.
How does Alto compare to other software you’ve used?
We’d only ever used our previous software and we had used that for such a long time that we just made it work for us.
But Alto is definitely more slick to use. It’s modern, easy to navigate and you can do many of the tasks in just a few steps because it’s well thought out.
What’s your favourite Alto feature?
My favourite feature is the easy way letters are created. At every key milestone, the system creates letters for us and you can see when an email has been sent, delivered and opened – it’s very useful.
How do you think the market will change over the next 12 months?
I think we can expect the market to probably remain much as it is this year – quite slow generally, due to high interest rates and cost of living increases.
What tips would you give to another agent looking to move software?
Alto can seem overwhelming because there’s a lot to take in, but persevere and it all becomes clearer the more you use it. The whole system is built to save time across the office and once you get to grips with all the tasks, it can make your life so much easier.
If you had your time again, would you move to Alto knowing what was involved?
Absolutely yes. It’s an essential part of our business. We couldn’t operate without it now.
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