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What Is The Value Of Gold?

Tuesday July 15, 2014

Heaton Property's award winners
Heaton Property's award winners

“Local company wins national award” is a line that fills many readers with dread since it is usually followed by over-blown text containing superlatives like ‘burgeoning’ and ‘world class’. This is a trap I shall avoid by simply saying “We just won the Best National Property Management Award at the Lettings Agency of the Year Awards in London. We got to meet TV presenter and charity campaigner Katie Piper who presented the awards and it is possible we drank too much champagne”.

Following on the heels of our 2012 Best Northern Single Office Award and the 2013 Bronze in the national property management category this has left us feeling like the cats whiskers. All fine and dandy but what is the point of winning awards other than a nice plaque and a logo for our letterhead? Surely one satisfied customer is worth half a dozen awards?

Well, without satisfied customers it is unlikely any business will succeed and the true measure of success is the degree to which an enterprise exceeds the expectations of its customers. In this respect, the awards process is vital.

Applying for an award demands a painstaking review of the last twelve months activity. What innovations have we introduced? How do we ensure quality management in all aspects of our business? Are we acting upon feedback from our landlords, tenants and associates? We need to review the 101 details upon which our business success depends to ensure our application reflects the company ethos.

We submit our application, then the fun bit – an away day in London with the team, the nail biting tension as the envelope is opened and the winner announced. Then the air-punching joy when it is us and all my pre-prepared sound bites go right out of the window as I stand in the lights grinning. Champagne, pats on the back, pictures posted on social media then the quiet train journey back north with just the touch of a hangover.

Back to reality on Monday morning, when the real work starts. Because winning gold is one thing, maintaining the standards that won you gold is a never ending task. Awards are not won by companies but by people and while our team fully shares the joy of our win, they also appreciate that as professionals it is up to them to define and hone those skills that got us there.

Our maintenance teams are working on preventative maintenance schedules so there are fewer emergency call-outs. Our graduate staffs are deciding what will be their specialist area of expertise and planning what this will offer our customers. Management are researching new business opportunities now and in the future. Other than one weekend at the awards ceremony there is little time to rest on our laurels.

None of this is to say it is not wonderful to win national recognition from our fellow professionals. We value the big awards but we value them as much as a thank you from a landlord or tenant. We cannot put that on the wall but it is every bit as important to our success as the gold we can put on the wall.

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