New data from The ValPal Network suggests 57 per cent of leads are generated outside office hours, putting the emphasis on agents to manage enquiries outside the 9-to-5 environment.
The ValPal Network analysed almost 50,000 vendor and landlord enquiries made in December 2020 and says 57 per cent were generated outside office hours.
Meanwhile, analysis of over 17,000 leads generated by members of the network in early February this year shows over a quarter were made over the weekend.
Additional research from the network’s nurture tool MovePal shows 43 per cent of sales valuation leads generated outside the hours of 9am to 6pm.
"With our figures showing around half of vendor and landlord enquiries are now made outside of traditional working hours, agents need to make sure they can provide a flexible, modern service" says Craig Vile, director of The ValPal Network.
"The expansion of homeworking as a result of the pandemic means many people are no longer living to a fixed schedule and consumers will expect agents to respond to their enquiries quickly, no matter what time they are made.”
He says agents can respond to out of hours enquiries with automated messages to cement the client's initial interest and show they have a 24/7 service. This can be followed by a team member as quickly as possible with the aim of securing a market appraisal.
"If you don't respond to all enquiries quickly, you could lose out on an instruction to a competitor who is providing a more streamlined service" adds Vile, who says that over coming weeks - with the medium-term market outlook still uncertain - agencies should focus on building pipelines of future business.
"Competition for vendors and landlords is sky high at the moment as stock levels have fallen in recent weeks. Therefore, the 'speed to lead' is crucial when it comes to securing future business" says Vile.
"As well as sending an automated message to acknowledge enquiries, the speed in which agents personally respond to leads is hugely important. Getting on the phone as quickly as possible could be the difference between a new instruction or seeing it go to a competitor."
Vile explains that having the tools to nurture leads who aren't ready to take action now is also incredibly important for agents.
"Automation is the only way agents can effectively nurture their whole database and successfully identify the optimum moment to interact with prospects to get the best results - this can result in increased efficiency, less wasted time and ultimately more instructions for your agency.”
* The ValPal Network is a product of Angels Media, publisher of Estate Agent Today and the other Today industry titles.