Tech of a Life Edition 4: Winning hearts and instructions with next level customer service

Whether housing stock is high or low, one thing remains constant for Estate Agents: competition for instructions. The stats on the slowing market are widely known, but a slowdown is by no means doom and gloom – it’s an opportunity for Estate Agents to stand out by exploring what buyers and sellers really want and understanding more about the experience they expect.

In our recent surveys of UK agents, they discussed the growing expectations and heighted ‘emotional involvement’ consumers have when it comes to service, communication and timescales – with speeding up the process and better communications high on the agenda.

As a follow on to our agent discussions, we went out to the UK consumer to find out more. We asked over 600 people who have sold a property in the UK in the last two years, how they rated their experience with their Estate Agent. To help inform your big thinking we set out to understand what really resonates with consumers and what they value in their experiences outside of the property transaction too. This is what we found out…

Rising demands and great expectations

Our data confirmed that customer service is still the key to success. 89% of respondents said that exceptional customer service is most important in choosing any brand or service provider in all areas of their lives. With a major decision like choosing an Estate Agent to manage their property sale, customer service becomes even more essential.

When asked what the key qualities of exceptional customer service look like to them, 87% of respondents said clear, responsive and transparent communication mattered most to them, while 76% said that companies giving a realistic expectation of timeframes was the most important thing. When putting a lens on communication within the moving process, it being timely and transparent remains a frustration across the industry for everyone involved in transactions.

As an agent, you might feel like you’re doing everything in your power to communicate with clients as best and as frequently as possible, but their expectations are continuing to rise. This is where automation-driven technology can come in to its own. Consumers expect an experience that aligns both in person and digitally. They want to build relationships and be able to ask questions, they want empathy and guidance, but they also want instant updates and somewhere they can log in and see everything in one place. Automation will align with the experiences they have become accustomed to everyday, with the standards they hold so high in every other sector.

People at the heart

What respondents valued most from their experience of working with Estate Agents was a friendly attitude (62%), closely followed by their local knowledge and expertise (55%). These are things that automation can’t replace and will always require the human touch. Imagine if you had more time to spend really building that relationship.

This is something that automation can enable, supporting agents to spend their time in the places that add most value to the client experience, without other parts of the process slowing down as a result. On the flip side when it came to problems respondents had faced, lack of updates and communication (19%) and lack of speed (21%) got the majority vote. These were the two main complaints that stood out for them when working with their Estate Agent.

More choice for consumers

When we asked the 600 respondents about the sale options they had been given by Estate Agents, only 10% were offered auction by their agent, despite auction being a solution to the two top priorities identified – a quick and secure sale. By offering auction as an opportunity to sellers’, Estate Agents are showing they have listened to and understand the modern consumer and their desire to speed up the process, be given more choice and a more transparent experience.

Key takeaways for agents

When asked to give the top reasons they chose a particular Estate Agent, respondents said past experiences (29%), recommendation from a family or friend (24%) and customer service (23%) had the biggest influence. Our research confirms that understanding consumer needs and investing in delivering the five-star customer service they are accustomed to in other areas of their lives is the key to success for agents. To be the best agency you can be, you need to focus on giving your clients not just great results, but also a great experience.


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