We met up at The Red Cat Coffee Shop at Parkside for this issue’s conversation.
What is the focus of your business?
Chapman: We focus on taking standard office equipment costs and spending that money better to get you top-of-the-line technology. Copiers cannot make your company more efficient or more profitable, but other technology like telephone systems, interactive touch display boards, document management, and digital signage can. Most companies have to deal with one vendor for each office need, but Business Electronics is able to create a partnership with the customer to take care of every office technology need.
Smith: Our primary focus at The Fred Smith Group is to provide the highest level of service for our clients whether they are buying or selling a home. My team, The Fred Smith Group, is comprised of 10 associates. Being a member of RealtySouth’s brand offers us a large box of tools that helps us assist our clients. However, our team’s philosophy is to offer far more. We provide two times more marketing for our team’s listings than the average agent in the area.
What is your philosophy of customer service?
Chapman: Being a locally owned company, we have the flexibility to do whatever is necessary to make sure we exceed the expectations of our potential, new, and existing customers. That is one of the reasons we send out customer surveys for every service call and every closed sale. We calculate and evaluate results quarterly and annually to track our success as a company. We also offer the best performance guarantees in the business, with a 90-minute service response time and a complete satisfaction or replacement promise.
Smith: We employ an aggressive market plan for our sellers. They are always surprised by our state-of-the-art tools and the efforts we practice when marketing their homes. We market to two different groups: consumers purchasing a new home and agents who are working with buyers. The most popular way to reach consumers today is by forward-facing websites like Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, RealtySouth, and our own site SoldByFred.com, as well as the emerging ones. We reach other agents by constant networking, agent open houses, and the various ever changing social media groups and pages.
What are some of your biggest challenges and opportunities?
Smith: Heading into the fall of an election year, business remains strong. However, after the election there are going to be questions in the minds of people that will cause hesitations mainly because we are not sure who or what the new president’s policies will be. Despite this, I feel the market will be strong through the fall and winter months. We remain at historically low inventory rates, and that drives the demand higher for the homes currently on the market. For buyers who are looking to upsize, their current homes should sell in a reasonable time. However, their challenge could be finding the right home for them. As for first-time home buyers, they will have to move quickly and with the best offer. The ones that have few contingencies and can jump on a new listing as soon as that house becomes available will reap the benefits of being able to do so. All signs indicate that interest rates are likely to rise
Chapman: With the addition of my business partner, Troy McCawley, and numerous new technology solutions, we have experienced huge growth since the start of 2016. Expanding and improving our services has allowed us to build stronger relationships with current and new customers. We have the capability to make our customers more successful, and that adds huge value to the partnership. With rapid growth comes a couple of challenges. We are constantly reevaluating our processes and adding new positions to accommodate the increased success. I think it is safe to say we have been in constant hiring mode since January, which is a great thing.