Countrywide’s plan to turn its business around has been revealed, including the company’s intention to relaunch its hybrid online offering.
As part of its ‘back to basics’ plan, the company also says it intends to begin recruiting again at a local level and wants to revive its lettings business.
“We are focused on restoring lettings capability back at regional, area and branch level and in our customer service centres,” the company says.
“We believe that continued growth in the rentals market provides huge opportunity for operators who deliver the highest levels of compliance and service to landlords and tenants.”
Other changes include plans to decentralise its operations, give branches more information to help them measure their performance against local competitors and relaunch its ‘hybrid’ online offering.
“Previous management believed that it too should offer a digital fixed fee proposition in order to compete with the online players,” the company says.
“The resulting hybrid digital fee proposition, however, led to confusion for our customers who expected to receive a full service at a reduced fee.”
The other key new focus for Countrywide will be to restore its revenue pipeline of ancillary income from services such as conveyancing and mortgages, which has reduced recently.
“Critically, we lost focus on offering a fully integrated service to our clients, resulting in loss of ancillary income and profitability,” it says.
“In 2012, every £1 of income earned by the estate agency business was matched by a further 50 pence of income generated from estate agency referrals.
“By 2017, this had reduced to 38 pence for every £1. All of the above changes were felt more acutely in the UK business than in London.”
Director share buys
In a bid to sure up City support for its share price and turnaround plan, three key Countrywide board members on Friday bought 400,000 shares in the company.
Executive Chairman Peter Long (pictured, left) spent £159,600 on 200,000 shares, and Chief Financial Officer Himanshu Raja spent £88,050 on 100,000 as did Group Operations Director Paul Creffield.