Verplas is a market leading, UK-based ventilation ducting manufacturer and supplier. Its mission is to improve people’s lives by creating healthier homes and a cleaner, more sustainable future.
Dating back to 1986, Verplas started as a small company, but quickly grew into one of the leading manufacturers of ventilation ducting in the UK. Awarded for their products, people, and service, Verplas achieved success by encouraging their team to put themselves in the shoes of their clients in order to achieve the utmost in customer excellence.
With increasing capabilities within extrusion and plastic injection moulding, their wide range of sustainable ventilation products has continued to lead the way within the UK ventilation market. Additionally, Verplas is part of the Indutrade Worldwide Group, which specialises in high-tech products and solutions with over 200 companies within its portfolio.
headquarters based in Dorset, United Kingdom
increase in user adoption
reduction in time to process customer cases
When Sarah Lathbury joined Verplas as Commercial Manager, she was full of ideas and energised about helping the business grow. When asked to comment on her vision for the company, she said, “I originally joined to grow our sales, bring on new business and manage our existing customers. I was keen to implement business improvements, make the customer journey better, make our processes more efficient, and find new ways to market ourselves.”
Surprisingly, Verplas had built its thriving business to that point without a CRM. Its unstoppable team and innovative products had made them market leaders. But beneath the surface, they had no central customer database, no visibility into the customer journey, and lacked data insights to optimise marketing, sales and service.
Verplas reached out to Provident CRM to reform their SugarCRM setup and get the entire team on board with the system. Working with their team over eight weeks during the winter of 2022, we did just that.
Initiating a CRM was a high priority for Sarah. But when the business implemented SugarCRM, the reality wasn’t what she’d anticipated.
Sarah explained, “What I wanted from the CRM was different to what our MD at the time wanted to achieve. There were too many cooks in the kitchen with it.”
Without consensus on how the CRM should be configured, Verplas narrowly set it up to track its sales pipeline and track customer calls.
Because the setup of SugarCRM was misaligned with other business priorities, only two team members adopted it. Even its two biggest allies only used it to store contacts and add basic notes, which brought virtually no ROI.
While a CRM should make life easier, Verplas found themselves introducing more manual steps. In particular, they began tracking customer complaints and cases in disconnected and cumbersome spreadsheets.
Sarah’s colleague, Account Manager Martin Collins, described the situation as “organised chaos”. Managing customer cases so manually delayed case resolution and left Verplas with no actionable data to improve the customer experience.
As their licence with SugarCRM reached the end of its cycle, Verplas was on the brink of churning.
“We didn’t feel we were getting the value we needed for the money it cost us. So we thought, let’s go to a cheaper package instead of SugarCRM which is quite a big machine,” said Sarah.
Verplas’ experience with SugarCRM was about to get sweeter. The business began working with a dedicated Customer Success Manager (CSM), Emma Haines, and consultant at Provident CRM to help align the platform with its needs.
Provident CRM is a digital transformation consultant that tailors customers’ CRMs to maximise user adoption, process improvement and business growth. They’ve been Elite partners with SugarCRM for almost a decade.
Provident’s hands-on CSM and consultant collaborated closely to help Verplas pivot its CRM and dig out more business value. Verplas was reassured, because Provident’s specialists continuously update their accreditations to ensure they’re on top of all the latest tech.
At the outset, Provident’s CSM ran a consultation, diving deep into the weeds to understand Verplas’ evolving business priorities and requirements for the system.
Sarah explained, “Our CSM, Emma, was great and took the time to understand our challenges. While our current configuration of SugarCRM was sales focused, we felt it would be more beneficial to have a system where we could track and solve customers’ feedback and issues.”
Provident took the baton to help Verplas switch focus from sales to service.
Provident worked alongside Sarah. First, they reviewed Verplas’ existing system and the manual processes they used to capture and track complaints.
Next, they applied their specialist knowledge of SugarCRM, building a proof of concept that brought case management into SugarCRM, provided central visibility of case progress and saved Verplas time and money.
Provident achieved all of that using SugarCRM’s standard logic and customisations, already included in their licence.
To avoid any business disruption, Provident built out the reconfigured system in a sandbox environment.
Martin said, “When you roll out a new tech solution, you don’t want any teething issues, because users will get frustrated and go back to the old way. The sandbox allowed us to tweak, play around with it, and keep evolving the platform. When it came to launching it, our people could see the benefits and didn’t take much convincing.”
Verplas’s refocused CRM provides a clear workflow to manage customer cases. Agents diligently work through each step, from opening a case to sending a credit note, documenting everything in SugarCRM as they go.
With the whole journey consolidated in one place, agents don’t waste time hopping between spreadsheets to log notes or investigate issues.
“Before, all the information was in more than one place, so it wasn’t always evident where to look to find a resolution,” explained Martin. “Now we’ve got everything documented in one place, the visibility and speed of actually processing the cases is much improved.”
With all case data and interactions documented on SugarCRM, Verplas captures powerful insights that inform business development.
“With SugarCRM’s reports, we look at trends and see where our biggest pain points are,” said Sarah. “It gives us visibility on how we can improve the business.”
In one example, Verplas pinpointed that incorrect order picking triggered a high number of complaints.
Sarah explained, “We saw a trend that we were picking the wrong colour products because our colour codes were very similar. So we changed the way we name our products, improved the accuracy of our picking and saw a drop in cases.
Having actionable data insights that inform decision making is a fantastic step forward.
Martin said, “That’s what we always wanted. We always had that vision and goal from the outset. And yeah, we managed to achieve it.”
We can look at trends and see where our biggest pain points are. So it gives us visibility on how we can improve the business.
– Sarah Lathbury, Commercial Manager, Verplas
Verplas has increased business efficiency since repurposing SugarCRM with Provident’s expertise. They’re now 30% faster at processing customer cases from end to end.
Sarah said, “Since Provident helped us reconfigure SugarCRM, we save so much time. And time is money.”
Case numbers are reduced, too. That’s because Verplas uncovers its customers’ biggest pain points and proactively fixes them. With fewer cases to handle, the business recovers more time to focus on other priorities.
“Since partnering with Provident, the value is in the time savings and having increased data,” said Sarah. “We know where our pain points are, so we know where to focus our energy for improvement.”
Martin added, “Customers reap the rewards as well. Because we identify issues and trends, we can put things in place to stop them recurring. Customers also receive their credits and replacement goods faster as a result of Verplas using the new system. So the overall customer journey is that much more positive.”
Before Provident helped Verplas reconfigure its CRM, just two team members used it. Today, nine team members consistently use the platform, which equates to a 350% increase in user adoption. This adds up to more efficiency and healthier ROI.
Sarah and Martin value the trusted relationship they built with their Provident CSM.
Sarah said, “Emma has been brilliant. She made sure that she was constantly on the case and always found a way if we ran into a problem. She was the key part in making this happen, and stopping us from churning SugarCRM.”
Now Verplas has plugged into the power of SugarCRM, Sarah wants to further optimise it.
She said, “Going forward, I’d like to use SugarCRM for customer diary management. We also want to use it as a really good knowledge base for everybody, and utilise its power to deepen relationships with our customers.”
Verplas recently collected two Gold awards—Customer at the Heart of Everything, and Best Use of Customer Insights and Feedback—at the UK Customer Experience awards. The event celebrates organisations that improve the CX they offer in innovative ways and Sarah credits SugarCRM’s role.
She said, “The work we did with SugarCRM to leverage data, improve decision-making and manage cases better was central to our nomination and winning these prestigious awards.”
SugarCRM is how marketing, sales, and service teams finally get a clear picture of each customer to help businesses reach new levels of performance and predictability. Sugar is the CRM platform that makes the hard things easier.
Thousands of companies in over 120 countries rely on Sugar to achieve high-definition CX by letting the platform do the work. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, Sugar is backed by Accel-KKR.