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Planning

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To take on a British giant we focused on solving customer problems

Create distinct offering
Finding out what customers didn’t like meant Simon Phelan’s company could put itself in a better place

The problem

Home services company Hometree realised early on that it would need a key point of differentiation to tackle competitor British Gas.

Household name British Gas had the benefit of being a legacy company, with a significantly greater reach, more employees and a bigger marketing budget. For Hometree’s first service – boiler installation – to be a success, the company would have to be solve customer problems and be top of mind when they were ready to make a purchase.

The solution

Rather than keeping the business in the planning stages, Hometree launched quickly and kept momentum high. This allowed it to start getting customer feedback immediately.

The first step was clearly defining a target audience. Hometree acknowledged that price would be the ultimate decider for some people. But there was a segment of customers looking for a more transparent experience – something Hometree could cater for.

To stake out a position in the market, Hometree focused on getting under the skin of what customers really wanted. The team started running evening sessions with customers every month to test propositions, review the transaction process and find any pain points with the competitor customer experience.

As CEO Simon Phelan explained, Hometree couldn’t do market research once and assume it had a unique position for the rest of time. Market research needed to be built into the core of the business.

The results

After less than two years of trading, Hometree is making thousands of installations across the UK each year and plans to expand its offering into additional home services. The business has grown to five times the original size, with 450 per cent year-on-year revenue growth since 2016. It has a team of around 55 staff based in North London, with an additional engineer community across the country.

“We listened closely to what customers were saying and found that they didn’t really like the British Gas customer experience,” Phelan said. “If you can pick a customer pain point and resolve it, that’s a great place for a business to be.”

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