Established in 2004, and now growing at 100% per annum, the TouchLocal online business directory, touchlocal.com, offers coverage across the UK with over 2.4 million business listings. They employ over 100 staff and deliver an integrated approach to online marketing for businesses of all sizes.
TouchLocal attracts 4 million unique users a month looking for products and services and handles in excess of 6 million searches per month via its own site and also through tmajor search engines. It is not just an online business finder, iIt also lets people review and rate businesses that they have used, therefore enabling consumers to make informed choices based on user feedback.
With a team of telesales and field sales reps, TouchLocal is adding 1000 new customers every month. Their customers pay a deposit, and their details go into their CRM system, which are then subsequently pulled into Microsoft Dynamics NAV.
With such a successful and growing business, one of their biggest challenges became their incumbent support partner. “It was obvious they couldn’t complete the recurring billing element of the project,” explains Jamie Goral, TouchLocal’s Financial Controller. The original partner had agreed to take on the work, and TouchLocal quickly realised they were out of their depth. With customers coming on board so quickly, and with increasing demands on their systems to support their business, an alternative partner was needed.
In fact, things got so bad, TouchLocal didn’t have the luxury of investigating a wide range of partners. “We knew we had to find a replacement support and implementation partner as our current experience became chaotic,” says Goral. Recommendation was a priority, and TouchLocal’s CFO and CTO had both heard that Tectura was the best in the market for supporting Microsoft Dynamics NAV in the UK.
TouchLocal appointed Tectura in the UK to support their business. Initially the relationship had a few communication challenges until the right level of personnel was appointed to manage the service delivery. “With an effective client manager in place, who understands both the needs of the developer and the customer, we soon gained confidence with Tectura,” highlights Goral.
They agreed terms with Tectura, who then documented the system, and took on the ongoing support of TouchLocal. With 4 key users in the finance department, and 15 floating users, the two organisations signed a service level agreement that represented the number of calls and agreed response times TouchLocal would need to take their system forward. Picking up from the previous partner, Tectura successfully completed the project.
Currently TouchLocal has 9000 recurring clients, with 2 billing runs each month. Using a direct debit or credit card, they take the correct amount of money and record all transactions. The system highlights failures allowing TouchLocal to put an action plan in place at the customer level. “With 10,000 transactions each month, anything up to 2000 transactions could fail,” explains Goral. “This could be down to a number of reasons from a customer moving bank accounts, incorrect details or canceled credit card right through to going out of business.” Microsoft Dynamics NAV highlights the issues, and a team in Glasgow immediately contacts the customer to identify a resolution for quick payment.
TouchLocal are happy with their implementation of Microsoft Dynamics NAV, as it’s tailored to how their business operates. “We are gaining efficiencies in financial management as we are evolving,” highlights Goral. In particular, Tectura has helped develop a number of reports for TouchLocal, including one for deferred revenue and one highlighting billing details by customer. Goral goes on to say, “If there are any specific issues, the reports produced by Tectura enable us to fix them before the customer is billed.” Tectura has helped TouchLocal with a number of routines especially around recurring billing.
TouchLocal recognise Tectura as very responsive and Goral highlights, “The good thing about Tectura is choice. Their size means there’s always an alternative.” He does emphasise the importance of keeping the knowledge of TouchLocal shared amongst the key developers within Tectura to ensure no bottlenecks of availability.
“Tectura improved the way we were preparing payments for the payment run. This has now saved us about 3 hours for every payment run we do. Tectura knows the system inside out and the best way to use it.”
Not long after Tectura took over support for TouchLocal, they identified and fixed a number of inefficient business processes. As a direct result, this has significantly increased the number of man hours available. Goral explains, “Tectura improved the way we were preparing payments for the payment run. This has now saved us about 3 hours for every payment run we do. Tectura knows the system inside out and the best way to use it.”
TouchLocal has saved 4 weeks of data entry every month, which was strangling the finance team. “With 10,000 transactions to manually check, this is now a completely automated process,” highlights Goral. “When we run billing, we get the information real time. If something fails, we have an increased chance of getting the cash.” TouchLocal can now quickly identify any duplicate data in the system, and ensure the information is accurate. Previously this was cumbersome, and reduced the chances of cash collection.
TouchLocal has mitigated the need to recruit extra staff, and estimate an overall saving of £100,000. It has freed up the finance team to resolve other business issues rather than data entry. The system automates the recurring business processes. Now 90% of TouchLocal’s sales ledger is automated, and the cost savings are significant. “The system justifies itself and the business case really stacks up.” explains Goral.
When reflecting on their relationship with Tectura, Goral concludes, “Tectura is a company full of talented developers. Successful delivery, and stronger client management has strengthened the relationship and both organisations now understand each other more.”