Going live with property software during COVID-19

You might expect some bumps in the road during a property software migration. But probably not a pandemic. Brighton-based agent Justin Lloyd spoke to us about migrating to Alto during the early days of COVID-19.

Tell us a bit about your operation?

Our one branch covers the whole of Brighton and Hove and surrounding villages. We have 7 members of staff, and have been operating since 2001. I took over as director in 2015 as part of a management buy-out. We do a mixture of sales and lettings. 

How did you find out about Alto?

I looked on quite a few agent forums and chats to get a sense of what CRMs were out there. Quite a lot of the tech-savvy agents were really into Alto

I had a more detailed discussion about them with another agent, who said we should go for it. 

What made you choose Alto?

For us, a big priority was a system that truly had an equal understanding of both sales and lettings. I just couldn’t find a competitor that was as good at both. 

We don’t currently use Alto’s back-end features – we primarily use it for sales, lettings and marketing functionality. Our view was to get it on board, see how agents got on with it, and then add more to it. 

How did your migration go?

It went smoothly. This was particularly reassuring because when we switched to our previous provider, we were switching from one of their other platforms, and that ended up being a real headache. 

It was great to be able to lean on the expertise of the Alto team. I had many really in-depth conversations with them and they understood my needs and offered workable solutions. I felt totally supported every step of the way, by every department. 

And how did implementation go?

Our account manager was absolutely brilliant. We were in regular contact throughout, via email or calls every few days. If I had any queries, anything that I wasn’t 100% happy with, he’d sort it out straight away. 

Did you use our on-site training? If so, how was it?

We’re relatively unusual in that we on-boarded Alto at the height of lockdown. I had two of the team on furlough and everyone else working from home, but our training was brilliant – a real mix of interactive, hands-on learning, even remotely. 

I’ve kept some of our remaining training hours in my back pocket so that we can get new starters up-to-speed with Alto quickly – we are hiring more staff soon. 

Have you used our support team/function? 

I haven’t really needed to so far. If I have anything I’m not sure about, I always tend to find the answers I need in the Help Centre. 

My trainer is also always on-hand for a quick call for those little troubleshooting tips – using marketing templates in the best possible way, for example.

Now you’ve got Alto, what do you like best about it?

It’s really intuitive. A test has been getting new starters and those back from furlough using it. And it’s met the challenge – you can show a new starter the basics and they’re able to run with it straight away

It’s a really easy-to-follow system, so you really can’t really go wrong. It’s hard to make a mistake or do anything drastically wrong, which is reassuring for new users, or those less confident with CRMs. It’s easy-peasy!

How has Alto helped make your operation more efficient?

I think the main benefit for us has been in the reliability of Alto. Our last CRM had numerous glitches and was down all the time. It could be out-of-action for hours at a time, and at critical times – like exchange days on Fridays. 

There was an enormous amount of lost productivity as a result. Given the current climate – working more remotely – it’s even more critical that we have a system we can depend on, and Alto has definitely been up to the job. 

Would you recommend Alto to a fellow agent?

I definitely would – I’ve already done it! The transition to Alto is just so easy, and like I said, the intuitiveness of the system is a real benefit. 

What’s exciting for us as well is that there’s definitely so much more we can do with it. For instance, at the moment, I love Alto’s email reporting. It’s so useful to have everything I need, ready to gee up the team in our Monday morning meetings. 

So, the logical next step will be to boost our reporting capabilities and get even smarter with our data, using Alto. 

If you’re a business owner, looking to better track people and properties, applicants and vendors, definitely explore doing it with Alto.

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