Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Editor's note: Today’s guest blogger is Derek Gallimore, MD of Boutique London Lets, a provider of luxurious short-stay accommodation in London. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.
Our young company was founded just over four years ago, when I spotted a niche for offering luxury accommodation to business travellers and tourists looking to avoid costly hotels. Our customers come to London from all over the world for business and pleasure, and it’s our job to make sure their stay is as comfortable as possible.
Our key market is composed of international travellers who are spread across the world in different timezones, so I wanted to build an international team from the start. From day one, we’ve used Google Apps as our main form of contact, including Gmail, Hangouts, and a collaborative inbox. We wouldn’t be where we are today without it. We now have more than 20 staff spread across the world, from the Philippines, to London, to the US and Australia, and they are able to quickly respond to queries from their local markets, instead of waiting for the sun to rise in London.
Hangouts have allowed us to recruit and hire over video conference, rather than fly around the world to meet candidates. By interviewing candidates in this way, we can get a sense of their personality and experience, as well as save thousands of dollars on flights. We also started using Google Hangouts for staff training.
It can be difficult to create a sense of community with a globally distributed team. But with Google+, we’ve formed an internal social media network where employees can share their water cooler moments online. From wishing a member of the team happy birthday to sharing a funny online video, our employees are better connected.
The collaborative inbox feature within Google Apps has transformed our communication from frantic to efficient. When we first started, all email enquiries came into my inbox and I delegated tasks to staff. This was great for keeping track of everything, but quite hap-hazard. Collaborative inbox allows me to distribute and track responsibilities among the team. If a customer reaches out with a query about a specific property, a group of my employees can easily access the inbox, guaranteeing a response within minutes. I can also ensure quality control and consistency across our customer communications by storing template query responses, apartment specifications, and internal documents online in a shared folder that my teams can access.
Google Apps has helped me start and grow an international business in a way that simply wouldn’t have been possible for a start-up ten years ago. As testament to this, we’ve tripled revenue turnover every year for the last three years and I’m sure the platform will continue to be at the heart of our operations as we grow.