Metricon aims to be the country's leading provider of innovative, world-class homes by establishing an integrated, customer-centric platform that automates work flows, captures meaningful data, extends customer visibility and ensures excellence in the quality of their finished products.
Set up more than 35 years ago, Melbourne-based Metricon Homes (Metricon) is the largest home builder in Victoria and one of the largest in Australia.
With a vision to be the country's leading provider of innovative, world-class homes and lifestyle developments, the privately-owned company traditionally focuses on second- and third-time home owners.
Increasing affluence and government subsidies have brought forth new markets, such as a burgeoning first-time home buyers segment, which have fuelled Metricon's growth. The company has doubled in size since 2008 and employs 1,100 staff across New South Wales, Queensland and Southern Australia.
Recognised for its commitment to quality and sustainable homes, Metricon has received numerous accolades through the years, including being honoured as the "Display Home Builder of the Year 2012" by Master Builders South Australia.
Faced with a fast-expanding customer base in a market where the typical sales cycle lasts between six to nine months, Metricon knew that it needed a customer-centric platform to centralise its leads database and enhance customer experience. Amongst its new initiatives are: Studio M, its state-of-the-art selection centre with up to 5,000 options to customise homes; Metricon Financial Services; and its overhauled website featuring interactive tools for online home design, finance calculators, mobile applications and more.
"The revamped website has made us the most visited builder in Australia with five to ten times more web views than the others," said Ivica Orsolic, chief information officer, Metricon Homes.
"The exponential increase in queries through our website and call centre drove us to look at a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to effectively handle these customer interests and streamline our sales processes across the long sales cycle."
Other challenges included a lack of customer visibility which impeded marketing efforts; ad-hoc service processes which were inadequate in managing its service and warranty processes, and the need to better manage its pool of more than 3,500 subcontractors.
Envisioning a system that drives a memorable customer experience across the end-to-end home-buying process, the company wanted a flexible xRM platform to integrate business functions across a customer's journey with Metricon. Other items on its checklist included alignment with its existing Microsoft-based environment, easy customisability and future scalability.
Explaining his decision after an extensive evaluation, Orsolic said: "Besides its cost-efficiency, flexibility and scalability, Microsoft Dynamics CRM was chosen for its good fit with our existing technology architecture and ability to easily customise data capture forms, workflows and business intelligence information."
With the real estate industry traditionally lagging behind other industries in technology usage, Metricon wanted to sharpen its competitive edge by being a forerunner in professionalising its business processes.
"With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, we expect to increase our service levels through streamlined workflows, enhance customer experience with better customer insight, better track our service processes to ensure delivery of quality finished products, and most importantly, gain the capabilities to continually market to our customers in the future," said Orsolic.
Metricon's phased-implementation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, which was largely done in-house, first went 'live' in early 2010.
With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Metricon successfully centralised leads management, automated sales and services processes, increased both customer and business visibility and most importantly, gained savings of more than $270,000 by cutting administrative burden and integrating human resource management.
Also by integrating Dynamics CRM with their existing internally developed .NET based sales system, SQS, Metricon saved more than $250,000 in software licensing fees from similar systems.
Centralised leads management and streamlined sales processes
For Metricon, the immediate benefit gained is centralised leads management and the ability to keep track of all customer enquiries, correspondences and the marketing materials that have been provided to them. With leads now qualified as hot, warm or cold, Metricon can now ensure timely follow up by its sales team to keep the prospects 'interested' across the long sales process.
Lead duplication, where the same query was made at different branches by spouses, or dubious leads, possibly submitted by competitors working on a 'price match' exercise, can now be efficiently sieved out. Most importantly, losing leads as a result of staff movement is now a thing of the past.
Orsolic shared: "With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, we now have a centralised view of our leads, with clear visibility of where a prospect is in the sales process. This helps our sales management to identify any issues that are preventing the conversion to sales and ensure action is taken swiftly to close the gap."
In addition, Metricon can now better track the reasons for lost opportunities and take appropriate action to enhance closure rates in the future.
Enhanced case management in defects reporting and warranty management
Upon delivery of their homes, customers have 90 days to log service requests to report any defects, followed by a followed by a 25-year warranty on structural works. With more than 3,500 subcontracted tradesmen, such as plumbers and 'brickies, handling the majority of the building and outfitting services on Metricon's new properties, defects reporting and warranty management were tedious chores that were previously managed via myriad forms. By automating workflows and processes, additional administrative staff were not necessary, saving $150,000 a year.
Using Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Metricon can now effectively log, track and manage all service and warranty requests. With the CWR mobility application integrated with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Metricon's staff can now qualify the defects on-site, enter relevant information directly into the system via iPads, and close off service requests that have been completed.
"Defects tracking and warranty management are key processes in our after-sales service which directly impact our credibility and customer experience. Effective management of these service requests helps to improve staff productivity and shorten problem resolution time, which in turn enhances our customer responsiveness," said Orsolic.
Saved more than $100,000 with integrated human resource management
Metricon gained further savings by extending its Microsoft Dynamics CRM to manage its human resource functions. Orsolic explained: "Using Microsoft's .NET based framework, we have effectively customised Microsoft Dynamics CRM to manage our human resource functions from recruitment, staff on-boarding to performance management. As there is no need to purchase a third-party human resource solution, we have saved another $100,000."
Better visibility drives more effective marketing and decision-making
With 360-degree views of the customer, Metricon now taps into a rich customer database to better segment its customers and drive more targeted marketing campaigns to both new and past customers. With granular visibility into prospects and sales forecast, decision-making is now empowered by meaningful data, rather than gut feel. As a result, new marketing initiatives can now be rolled out quickly to speed up sales closure and extend market reach.
Core business-enabler empowering processes and customer interaction
Looking ahead, 2013 and 2014 are exciting years for Metricon. Plans are underway to orchestrate an end-to-end customer journey from lead to warranty management; tighten back- and front-end functions by integrating Microsoft Dynamics CRM with Microsoft Dynamics GP; and roll-out new customer services such as design expertise and décor refreshment.
Orsolic concludes: "Microsoft Dynamics CRM is our core business enabler and customer interaction engine. Together with our investment in Microsoft Dynamics GP, we are set up for the next ten years. As we grow rapidly from a mid-sized company to an enterprise, efficiency is key to ensure that we sustain our growth and stay competitive.
"The flexible, component-based architecture we have established will help us get there -- as we tighten processes and become more agile in adapting to the fiercely-competitive marketplace and fast-changing customer preferences."