MP celebrates business growth from high-speed broadband
MP for Stalybridge and Hyde, Jonathan Reynolds, visited a small business in his constituency, which has seen a ten per cent rise in sales and created two new jobs as a result of upgrading to fibre broadband. The Leading Edge Hair and Beauty salon in Hyde, Greater Manchester, has used the technology to attract new customers through better business systems and communications, including social media. The number of new clients is up by 64 per cent compared to this time last year, with almost 90 per cent claiming they found the salon through the internet.
Jonathan Reynolds MP said: “Well done to Alan and all at The Leading Edge for making such a success of their superfast broadband. They’ve created a salon fit for the future that’s engaging customers in great new ways. I’m delighted they are seeing the rewards from their innovations.”
Alan Havery, co-owner of The Leading Edge, said: “The growth of our business wouldn’t have been possible without the faster broadband speeds. There are 36,000 regulated hair salons in the UK, so it’s really important to attract clients. We can provide good customer service once they are through the doors, but it’s about bringing in new people and maintaining strong customer retention rates. What we’re doing is innovating using technology. Instead of a picture of the outside of the salon, when people find us online, they can experience a video walk through of the inside. Lots of businesses do this, but not many hair salons so we’re able to get ahead of the competition.”
As well as helping them to market themselves better, fibre broadband has changed the way customers book appointments. Alan explains: “Convenience is what people want so we’ve introduced systems that allow customers to book appointments whenever they want and from wherever, using the new app we launched in July on the website or through social media channels. A fireman on a night shift made a booking at ten past midnight for a time both him and his wife could come in. Since launching the app, online bookings are up by 98 per cent on the previous year, and now provide almost 19 per cent of overall bookings.”
The new systems have benefitted staff as well as customers. Alan explains: “Salon staff can consult the online booking system from their smartphones either in the morning or the night before to better plan their time. We’ve significantly reduced the number of ‘no shows’ as we’re able to contact customers via their preferred channel to confirm appointments. They can easily change the booking, so we free up appointments at busy times and it saves the business money. Also, reviews influence 89 per cent of people’s purchasing decisions, so we ask for feedback and publish these reviews on social media channels. We have a five star rating on Facebook now.”
Mark Chamberlain, BT’s Get Digital Faster programme manager, said: “Businesses and consumers are seeing the benefits of high speed broadband.Access to everyday products and services becomes easier and quicker, and people can get better value for money. Job hunting, doing homework, running a business, using social media or finding entertainment are also all at their fingertips. As we continue to increase coverage, I’d urge people to check availability for their postcode on the Get Digital Faster website and upgrade now as there are good deals available through a wide range of internet service providers.”
Fibre broadband has been deployed in parts of Hyde and Greater Manchester by the Get Digital Faster programme which reaches postcodes not covered by existing commercial networks. It is a £15 million partnership between BT and eight local authorities – with Stockport as the lead, Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan - the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Overseen by Transport for Greater Manchester, more than 47,000 homes and businesses will be able to access fibre broadband by Spring 2017, meaning 99 per cent of the area will be covered when combined with private sector commercial networks.
Under the Get Digital Faster programme, engineers from BT’s local network business, Openreach, have installed 540 green roadside cabinets and 50 kilometres of fibre-optic cable to bring high-speed broadband to more than 46,000 properties across the region. In total, almost 740,000 properties across Greater Manchester can now access faster speeds when combined with BT’s own commercial network rollout. The Openreach network is open to all broadband service providers on an equal wholesale basis.
Find out more about Get Digital Faster at www.get-digital-faster.info.
Notes to Editors
Superfast Britain is a Government programme of investment in broadband and communication infrastructure across the UK. Run by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, this investment helps businesses to grow, creates jobs and will make Britain more competitive in the global race. The portfolio is comprised of three elements:
For further information: https://www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk
European Regional Development Fund
The Get Digital Faster project was part financed by the North West European Regional Development Fund Programme 2007 to 2013.
The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs. For more information visit