While consumer appetite for buying and selling property may be high, it’s vital to recognise that the Covid-19 outbreak has sparked some fundamental changes to client behaviour.
There have been significant shifts in requirements and preferences and by tuning into these, agents can respond more strategically and deliver a first class client experience.
People are grappling with working from home, home schooling and trying to carry out any life admin, so getting a slick and professional service from agents is key.
Ensuring that calls are answered professionally and efficiently is critical and when you consider that 40% of all new phone calls to estate agents result in a valuation or viewing request, investment here is well worth it. Quite simply, missed calls mean missed clients, missed commission and damaged reputation.
Now in particular, people also expect a wide variety of channels through which they can communicate – live chat can be a valuable part of this solution. It provides an instant and easy way to get in touch and clients appreciate the opportunity to ask quick questions, right there and then, whilst browsing online.
Others simply prefer not to talk on the phone and favour the messenger-style experience live chat offers. The solution also stores important details securely, allowing for a more informed and seamless follow-up.
Experience tells us that consumers are most likely to browse homes during the evening or at the weekend. Therefore, it’s not uncommon for agents to be faced with hundreds of enquiries first thing in the morning – particularly on a Monday.
Many agents have reported feeling overwhelmed as they juggle existing work and an influx of new enquiries from those looking to make the most of the stamp duty holiday. By outsourcing outbound follow-up and lead qualification, enquiries from websites and portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla can be dealt with as they land, reducing time pressure on staff.
Agents can then strike while the iron’s hot, speak with prospects while their interest is piqued and progress potential opportunities before a competitor gets to them.
While some digital leads carry significant potential value, the unfortunate reality is that others are highly unlikely to convert. An initial, friendly follow-up call can establish whether a lead is an immediate opportunity or one to put into a more long-term nurture cycle.
Agents can be confident that leads passed on to them have been pre-qualified, are more likely to convert and therefore worthy of their precious follow-up time.
With the pandemic changing working hours and routines, being available around the clock is essential to meet client needs and maintain a positive brand image. Being accessible to capture and handle property enquiries outside of office hours demonstrates that you’re understanding of people’s needs and value their business.
Out-of-hours telephone answering ensures agents are always open for business and live chat can transform a website’s ROI. Some 37% of live chats occur outside the 9-5, a figure that has increased since the pandemic. Also, the technology can be managed 24/7/365, to ensure that every opportunity is captured.
Moneypenny currently supports 2,500 estate agents, commercial agents, housebuilders and housing associations across the UK, thanks to a dedicated team of property receptionists and has built an impressive reputation within the market.
For more information, sign-up to our webinar on February 10 2021.
*Joanne Tattum is Head of Estate Agents Sector at leading communications provider Moneypenny