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By Craig Fenner

Customer Success Director, Feefo

OTHER FEATURES

How the shift to digital can improve your client experience

It’s no secret that the recent pandemic has forced more businesses to operate remotely, but the shift for estate agents has been rather dramatic.

While some agents were already offering virtual viewings and interactive tours, for others the move to online has been a huge learning curve.

How do you connect with your clients if you can’t see them face-to-face? What can you do to nurture those relationships?

Here are our best practice digital transformation tips to help you improve your client experience.

Digitalise the client journey

Most estate agents have a basic website, and while that may help to attract new clients when they can’t come and visit you in branch, it still relies on them picking up the phone to book an appointment or house viewing.

Make things easier for both new and existing clients by digitalising as much of their journey as possible, from booking viewings and instructing you, to signing contracts and documents digitally.

Not only is this quicker than sending everything by post or trying to get someone on the phone, it also shows you’re taking their safety seriously, too.

If you’re going digital, you’re going to need some new tech to help you. Almost 48% of estate agents have already started to trial new tech thanks to Covid-19. Thankfully, there’s loads of great estate agency software out there.

Virtual tours or live video tours allow people to view properties safely and quickly – ideal for investors who are time-poor, or buyers who simply live too far away.

By showing prospective clients that you have this tech, you can boost their confidence that you can sell their home no matter what the current restrictions are.

Communication is even more important than ever

Going digital shouldn’t mean you lose your human touch. In fact, client communication is now more important than ever, as people will be more nervous than usual if their sale or purchase is going to go through.

Take another look at your client journey and when you typically get in touch with them. Is it only when there’s an issue or a big milestone has passed? Consider sending micro updates via email that let them know everything is moving along as it should be. It may take more time, but it will help keep your clients calm and build more trust in your services.

Use feedback at every point in the journey

You can’t improve the client journey without asking them for feedback, and it’s not enough to wait until the end of the process either. Why are you losing out on instructions? Why do clients choose to switch agents? Are your viewings going well or are they putting buyers off?

By not knowing the answers to these questions, you’re missing out on a serious amount of revenue.

Public-facing customer reviews are great for building trust in your business and winning new customers, while private feedback can help you identify pain points in your client journey, employees that need more training or support, and which areas your competitors are stronger in.

Survey your staff to improve wellbeing and reduce turnover

Your staff have had a difficult year. They’ve had to cope with a lot of change, uncertainty and an intense workload. But do you know how your employees are feeling?

Staff turnover can be a huge cost to your business, so don’t wait until your employees are unhappy and leave before asking them why. Surveys are a great way to check in on your staff’s wellbeing and understand where they may need more help or support.

They’re private and anonymous, so people are much more likely to speak frankly and share frustrations with you that they may be too awkward to raise in person.

Don’t get left behind

Traditional estate agents, and their branches, won’t be going anywhere any time soon, but this pandemic has forced many offline businesses to realise they need to make a bigger leap into the digital world.

It’s never been more important to understand and provide exactly what your clients are looking for, so make sure you’re listening to what they have to say.

At Feefo, we work with a wide range of estate agents, including Countrywide, Connells and Purplebricks to provide them with unrivalled client insight. Find out more here.

*Criag Fenner is Customer Success Director at Feefo

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