Self-build living solutions company U-Build designs flat-packed systems like IKEA furniture to customers’ specifications across the UK. The team works with customers to learn about what kind of living solutions they desire, offering an affordable, eco-friendly alternative to buying your own home following a Zoom consultation. ‘We think of it sometimes as a meal kit,’ says Nick Newman, the company’s founder. ‘We’re sourcing all the ingredients, and someone else is putting it together on our instructions.’
The challenge. Business picked up for UK self-build company U-Build during the pandemic as people reconsidered their homes. ‘The U-Build project is about democratizing architecture and making it more accessible,’ says Nick Newman, the company’s founder. Yet it’s still costly.
The solution. Convincing people to invest in a U-Build flat-packed system for their home is a challenge. ‘How do you give someone confidence?’ asks Nick. ‘How do you support them?’ The answer came in media-rich Zoom calls, which are also useful for managing staff.
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Clear directions to and from clients, and the ability to envisage what a finished project will look like on video calls is key to U-Build’s success – even as it’s physically remote. ‘It’s much more hands-on in a technically hands-off way,’ says Nick.
The hybrid model of customer communication also extends to U-Build’s staff collaboration, too. ‘We’re never going to go back to physical only,’ says Nick. ‘Even custom work for commercial clients, where we offer a turnkey service, we’ll do everything remotely, then meet on site and become the assembler.’