Foxtons Case Study

Requirement

Skype for Business: Foxtons required an upgrade of their legacy Microsoft Lync 2010 systems to Skype for Business, allowing for an integration to their web-based customer facing portal which would enable them to enhance their competitive advantage.

The Client

Foxtons opened its first estate agency in 1981 and has since grown to boast 65 offices in London and Surrey, establishing itself as a leading London estate agent. Foxtons prides itself on innovation and embracing change and is constantly challenging tradition through a desire to improve the way the industry operates.

 

Business Challenge

As part of an initiative to provide a superior customer experience and differentiate themselves from the rest of the market, Foxtons introduced a revolutionary web-based customer portal called MyFoxtons which was designed to allow customers to access personalized information and interact with their named advisor.

As a large portion of Foxtons’ workforce are remote workers spending lots of their time on the road, they faced the challenge of enabling a real-time direct conversation via the web portal to the correct Foxtons named advisor.

Foxtons wanted to increase the level of service that their web-based customer portal could offer by allowing customers to initiate web-based instant messaging and chat conversations with their advisors. They required the conversations to take place within the portal but be hosted on Microsoft Skype for Business using either the standard desktop or mobile client version.

 

Technical Solution

Skype for Business
To upgrade Foxtons from their legacy Microsoft Lync 2010 servers to Skype for Business, Modality’s expert team of consultants and developers got to work on developing a custom solution. Our team produced a library to integrate with the existing MyFoxtons portal, allowing customers to contact their advisors directly. The library was created so that it did not require any client-side plugins and would be capable of operating on desktop and mobile devices alike.

When a customer requests assistance, the advisor is automatically sent an Instant Message through Skype for Business, providing details about the customer which have been sourced from Foxtons’ CRM system. If the advisor opts to accept the conversation, they are seamlessly connected to the customer who is using the web portal and can effectively assist with the request. This is achieved using Microsoft Skype Web SDK – a revolutionary software tool provided by Microsoft to Skype for Business developers to enable unified business to consumer (B2C) interactions. As early adopters of the new SDK, we were able to utilize this tool to build out value added applications and software to deliver real organizational value.

Modality worked closely with Foxtons’ internal web development team to develop the platform, ultimately delivering a solution that offered customers an enhanced user experience though the ability to maintain a direct, discreet communication channel with their advisor. With the web chat functionality linked to their Skype for Business presence, customers can immediately see if their advisor is available – even while they are on the go using their mobile client – and initiate a messaging exchange or conversation with them.

 

Success and Company Benefits

In addition to affording Foxtons customers the level of responsiveness and discretion of communication they wanted, the solution has also helped Foxtons to save money by reducing the need to route calls through an office line. This also negated the requirement of administration time and freed up the workforce to apply their time more productively.

By utilizing Skype for Business, as well as Modality’s experience and expertise, Foxtons is now benefiting from:

  • Greater ROI on software and licensing, allowing Foxtons to sweat the assets of their initial investment
  • Improved client communications thanks to the seamless IM connection delivered by Microsoft Skype Web SDK
  • Increased productivity with employees able to instantly chat with clients in real time, regardless of location
  • Cost savings due to the reduced need for routing calls through an office line
  • A secure and compliant environment with lower ICT team overhead


Dan Rafferty, Chief Information Officer at Foxtons, said:

“Modality took a conceptual, abstract business idea from us and fashioned a solution that was effective and made best use of the Microsoft toolset. Through leveraging their expertise in Skype for Business, the Modality team were able to work with us to deliver a messaging solution that is unique and cutting edge yet underpinned by enterprise-grade technology. This allowed us to deliver a messaging platform that provides Foxtons with a real competitive advantage in communicating with our customers.

“The can-do attitude and wide range of experience Modality were able to bring to this project was both refreshing and central to the successful delivery of the solution.”

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