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By Ross Lindsay

Founder, Your Lead In

OTHER FEATURES

The rise of outsourcing in Estate Agency

The last two years have been dramatic and decisive for many people and many businesses. Both have reassessed their work approaches and it has created the catalyst for transformation and innovation projects, as well as recognition of the importance of outsourcing for resilience – a growing trend in estate agency.

Many individuals left their roles to do something more personally meaningful – a movement in employment often referred to as the Great Resignation. Many started up their own companies with the number of new businesses in the UK rising by 14% over the last year. Some individuals left their industries entirely to pursue something they love.

In the property industry, many new entrants - as well as experienced agents - struck out on their own or joined franchises like Keller Williams (which has grown a phenomenal 33% since June 2020).

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Companies also reassessed their own approach to business. They evaluated their employee programmes, accelerated their digital transformation programmes to make it possible for employees to work from home, and they assessed their in-house functional effectiveness across departments. And, of course they assessed their readiness for future disruption.

As a result, customer ‘experience’ outsourcing has risen by more than 3.5% CAGR in 2021 and an estimated 30% of UK companies intend to outsource more in 2022. This is because it provides numerous advantages to businesses of all sizes. Small to medium businesses in particular can benefit the most from outsourcing as it has the power to amplify their business to compete with larger firms. And yet, it’s estimated that only about a quarter of small businesses are utilising outsourcing for some aspect of their business, often accounting or IT. By looking at other outsourced services, like those that fall under ‘customer experience’, companies can realise more strategic benefits:

  • Accelerate ability to go-to-market

  • Build resilience against business fluctuations

  • Ensure customer service and satisfaction levels

  • Unlock strategic insights from your data

  • Free up resources to focus on core revenue activities

  • Drive cost efficiency

  • Access skillsets that aren’t available in-house

Accelerating go-to-market

If you are a new start-up or franchisee, you will potentially be starting your business ‘cold’ in terms of a prospect database and ability to market yourself to your core audience. Time and data are great constraints to growth. Outsourced services partners

that can help you to market yourself across digital platforms, help you build your database, and grow your brand with your local market are key.

Build resilience against business fluctuations

There have been at least two global crises in recent history that have demonstrated how dramatically industries and economies can be impacted. Working with partners helps you to respond flexibly to the changes. You can quickly pivot from activities that are no longer productive to more critical ones that keep the business moving forward. You can also scale your resources without losing your core staff.

Your outsource partner acts as an extension of your team, helping lean teams with coverage during busy times, absences, and employees leaving the business. No knowledge is lost, and processes continue seamlessly.

Ensure customer service and satisfaction

Working with an outsource partner expands your opening hours and staff resource availability. Your customers’ concerns and enquiries are responded with immediacy and consistency.

Industry research shows us that only 50% of all portal enquiries are replied to and 4 hours is the average reply time within estate agency. Working with a partner provides customers with excellent, timely service that frees your team to address prioritised or key activities that drive revenue.

Unlock strategic insights from your data

Data on vendors and buyers is hard-earned and incredibly valuable. By offering the highest level of ongoing communication, you let your contacts know that their previous custom remains important. You build an ongoing relationship which encourages their loyalty and should result in recommendations.

You remain front of mind and are able to trigger opportunities not only when your contact comes back into market, but also when their network does as well.

Free up resources to focus on core activities

There are only so many hours in the day, and many entrepreneurs find it difficult to work on the business while working in the business. If you are managing mundane but necessary tasks, you may not be freeing yourself up for selling, closing deals, and problem-solving issues that require your intervention.

Finding partners for functions outside your core talent can help cover any number of activities including marketing, lead generation, digital demand and call overflow services, financial solutions for the sales process, and more.

Drive cost efficiency

Outsourcing converts fixed costs into variable costs that can scale with your business as needed. Through this model, you are able to access different people with different skill sets and with different levels of experience without having to bring all of this in-house. You leverage PTE/FTE utilisation rather than hiring full time staff that might not be fully utilised. You also benefit from lower overhead labour costs by reducing exposure to employment law costs, saving recruitment costs, saving on training, reducing HR and payroll administration, and from lower occupancy costs due to a smaller in-house headcount. Finally, outsourcing services are usually tied directly to performance and outcomes, saving you the cost of a non-productive employee.

Access skillsets that aren’t available in-house

Not everyone is good at everything, and the secret to being a great business leader is surrounding yourself with the people who know how to do the things that you don’t. This includes outsourcing to providers who are specialised in the roles and results that you need to enhance your skillset and services.

In conclusion, outsourcing is on the rise. All businesses should be looking at what areas they can improve by choosing the right partner(s), as this approach and the providers continue to grow providing the widest variety of services across all business functions.

*Ross Lindsay is the founder of Your Lead In, which provides white-labelled outsourcing services to the property industry and estate agents to help their businesses thrive

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