I was not surprised when I came across an industry article recently citing that over half of home buyers never visit their estate agent’s office.
Considering the necessary precautions put in place around the pandemic across the last year, it’s really no surprise to hear such a statistic.
However, something that did surprise me was the discussions around if this was the end for physical offices.
Yes, estate and letting agents can do the majority of their job from home or away from an office, but why would they want to?
And as a Director of a property group – why would I want them to? There is so much benefit of having teams working in collaboration, to not just themselves but most importantly to their customers.
Once all restrictions are lifted, I urge all customers to get to know their property team better and will be encouraging my teams to spend more time getting to know their customers face to face.
Yes, you can build a very successful personal relationship over the phone or via email, but there’s nothing quite like chatting in person, especially in our service led industry.
Our transactions do not take five minutes like in a shop, or even just a couple of hours or days when purchasing a new car.
We have relationships with buyers and sellers for months during a transaction and relationships with landlords that last decades. It is so important to have a place to nurture these relationships.
The pandemic has certainly made people more insular and I completely understand the cautiousness around non-essential visits. However, it will be interesting to see the long-lasting trends and effects that this last year may have on physical locations compared to digital options.
Providing the best level of service for each and every customer is, quite simply, our aim. In some circumstances that is certainly enabled through an office premise. However, in other situations, it may be via digital channels only - which is also great.
As a customer and service-led industry, we need to work to adapt to people’s needs whilst still providing the very best level of service.
Do I think there’s a place for a physical office location? Yes. Do I think there’s a place for digital solutions too? Of course.
It will be interesting to see how the property industry, along with other sectors, continue to adapt from lockdown learnings and what will be here to stay and what may be forgotten about in a few years.
*Vince Courtney is Sales Director at Andrews Property Group