A leading provider of reviews and customer satisfaction surveys which is based in Harrogate is set to expand its sales in Canada with the help of a £100,000 loan from NPIF – Mercia Debt Finance, which is managed by Mercia and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.
Judgeservice Research enables customers to review their experience with car dealerships, estate agents and hotels, providing detailed customer insights to enable companies to improve their products and services. In turn this helps consumers choose suppliers by reading authentic reviews from other customers.
The company, which employs around 50 full and part-time staff at its research centre in Harrogate, was set up in 2011 by Neil Addley who had previously worked in the motor trade. It is now the leading provider of its type to the industry, with clients including major dealerships around the UK. It has also expanded into the hospitality and property sectors and recently extended its operations into Canada.
The funding will allow it to step up its sales activity in the Canadian market and the hospitality sector, creating an additional six jobs in Harrogate, and develop a range of new digital products.
Neil Addley, the CEO who now runs the business with his wife Wendy who is finance director, said: “Customer service is increasingly the differentiator in business. We provide in-depth insight to enable them to improve their service and boost sales, as well as independent, verified reviews which are now a central factor in customers’ buying decisions.
“This funding will speed up our expansion into Canada and allow us to develop exciting new products, for example apps to help clients to integrate social media into the sales process and manage reviews from multiple sources, as well as low-cost systems for smaller businesses.”
David Wright, investment manager with Mercia, said: “No matter how much companies spend on marketing, they won’t feel the benefit if the service is poor or the product isn’t right. Judgeservice sets itself apart from other review services by the detailed insights it provides into the customer experience. The funding will support its growth plans to further develop its digital services and expand its reach, both in the UK and North America.”
Mark Wilcockson, senior manager at the British Business Bank, said: “The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund seeks to boost growth in s businesses across the region with finance to support new jobs and expansion.
“Funding such as this highlights the important role of external finance as well as the positive impact the NPIF is having in the North We would encourage other small and medium businesses seeking to grow to see what funding support is available from NPIF.”
The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.