Hunters says it will not be following other traditional-style estate agencies by offering online-only services to sellers - but it will be emphasising how digital tools can help clients improve the service they receive from the company.
Hunters’ chief executive Glenys Frew says she believes brand matters, and long-standing high street agencies such as hers need to protect and enhance their brand reputation - and that is not always possible or achieved online-only.
However, in an interview with Estate Agent Today, Frew says Hunters has launched a “vendor portal” which allows sellers to go online 24 hours a day to check progress of their sale; in addition, software will allow them to book a valuation directly into the office diary.
She emphasises that competition is good for the industry and customers, and that online agencies are now an established and valid part of the landscape “but you can’t beat a local person - a really local person, who knows neighbourhoods and streets - and that can only be provided through a locally based branch.”
Frew also says it is key for the health of the agency industry as a whole that online agencies advertise in a transparent and trustworthy way.
“Advertising needs to truly reflect the details of the service that exist” she insists.
In the interview Frew makes it clear that Hunters’ long-standing franchise business model - the group has 206 branches of which 195 are franchised - continues to be “the right way forward” for the future.
“The person who owns a franchise has a vested interest in doing well, and that means looking after customers” she adds.
Hunters recently reported that in the six months to the end of June grew by four per cent to £17.6m and 24 new branches joined the network including Besley Hill, a 15 office operator in and around Bristol.