Estate and letting agents will for the first time be able to use WhatsApp to respond to leads on a 24/7 basis - and a free pilot project begins this month.
The service is being rolled out over the rest of this year by lead response technology firm Olivia.
Its service utilises real people to respond to agents' online enquiries in under two minutes, 24/7, helping to speed up response times and move away from outdated communication channels.
WhatsApp will also be integrated into Olivia's client dashboard, used for two-way communications by consumers and agents - this gives the latter access to their portal, instant valuation, call overflow and other email leads in one multi-channel messaging platform.
The exclusive WhatsApp pilot programme has a limited number of spaces with Olivia’s existing clients being given first option on these; remaining spaces are being offered to new agents that join Olivia during August, contingent upon their numbers passing the Facebook approval process.
"Our initial rollout for WhatsApp will be conducted in batches. The pilot group will have exclusive access in the upcoming months and be invited to contribute ideas to help the platform work better for them" says Sachin Pabari, Olivia chief executive and co-founder.
"Only after this initial testing is completed, will we begin to sequentially add the next batches of WhatsApp users as the systems are ready" he adds.
"This is a huge opportunity for estate agents to get ahead of the curve. Over the next few years, WhatsApp is increasingly going to become the go-to communication platform for consumers and businesses.
"In the next few months, our agents will be able to let potential vendors know that their agency is using unrivalled technology, making it easier for them to convert valuations, sell homes faster and satisfy customers."
WhatsApp now has more than 1.5 billion users in over 180 countries, with the average user checking the messaging platform more than 23 times per day.
"The future of business interactions with your customers will be via WhatsApp. Quite simply, there will be one app to rule them all, with most of your communication and contacts being controlled via WhatsApp" Pabari continues.
Launched in August 2018, Olivia has now processed over 250,000 messages from applicants on behalf of UK agents; to take part in the WhatsApp pilot, agents need to be an Olivia user before August 31.