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Text messages help build tradesmen reputation

CASE STUDY
13 June 2011

Checkatrade.com, an online business information provider based in the United Kingdom, uses text messaging to contact their members.

Checkatrade was established in 1998 by local businessman Kevin Byrne after a tornado damaged hundreds of buildings in Selsey, West Sussex. When homes were rebuilt after the storm, it was difficult for homeowners to distinguish between the genuine and rogue traders who travelled to Selsey. Checkatrade was started in order to protect homeowners from being deceived by rogue operators and to help them make informed decisions when selecting a service provider. Checkatrade’s business has grown since then, with over to 6,000 reputable trades and services now registered on their business database.

As an independent third party, the company vets and monitors tradesmen who have applied to join them as a member. Once they have passed all the membership criteria they are continuously monitored by their customers through their workmanship and the service they have provided. All their feedback is posted on the Checkatrade.com website to help other consumers.

Texting streamlines our business processes

Initially, Checkatrade sent confirmation of published feedback from the consumer to its members by email. They also made phone calls to their members on a regular basis but it soon became apparent that this process took time and was dependent on the trader having regular access to their computer to receive emails or available to receive calls.

In 2007, Checkatrade realised that text messaging was a quicker way to contact their clients. This allowed them to deliver customer feedback in real-time. Tradesmen were immediately made aware of published comments.

“Sending our trades and service providers a text message achieves an instant response unlike emails or leaving a voice message,” says Kevin Byrne, CEO and founder of Checkatrade. “We don’t have to wait for them to get home to check for messages. Now our trade members receive notifications from us by text message every time new feedback has been left by one of their customers. They could be on a building site and as soon as they receive that text they can act on it.”

Checkatrade partnered with BulkSMS.com, a leading text messaging service provider offering two-way SMS communication services, to deploy its customer feedback solution and started using BulkSMS’s Web to SMS platform in order to send SMS text messages to their registered trade members.

“In addition to this, from their online trader area our members can contact any of their customers and send them a text message reminding them to send their feedback to us. We do not charge our clients for this messaging service,” says Byrne.

Checkatrade have found text messaging invaluable for a quick response either to an individual member or bulk to all of their members.

Dr Pieter Streicher, managing director of BulkSMS.com, believes that “innovative business models like Checkatrade shows that text messaging has become an integral part of communicating across an entire value chain. The ability to send out instant communications whenever necessary and to know that the message recipient has seen the message, and will take the appropriate action, is what makes text messaging the most practical communication tool in their toolkit.”

About Checkatrade.com

Checkatrade.com, trading under Vetted Limited in the United Kingdom, was launched in 1998 and is an online business information service that helps a trade or service provider promote their business and the service they provide. Trades and services are proud to be listed on Checkatrade and show their reputation to all. What started as a local initiative is now a international service, improving the standard of work and helping deliver peace of mind.

For more information visit www.checkatrade.com or contact Checkatrade on email: info@checkatrade.com or tel: 0845 408 4866.