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What do buyers and sellers really want from their estate agent?

The stats on the slowing market are widely known, but a slowdown is by no means doom and gloom – it’s an opportunity for estate agents to stand out by exploring what buyers and sellers really want and understanding more about the experience they expect. It’s also an opportunity to experiment with new ways of working that will really impress their customers and a time to think strategically about how to attract new leads. 

To help inform big thinking we set out to understand what really resonates with consumers when it comes to working with estate agents, and what they value most from their experiences with everyday service providers.. Our findings from a recent survey of over 600 people who have sold a property in the UK in the last two years showed that:

  1. Customer service is top of the list of priorities when consumers choose a brand or service provider.
  2. Amazon is the consumer front runner for the most positive experience, coming streets ahead of the likes of Apple, Google, Netflix and Uber.
  3. Past experiences with a branch or recommendation from family and friends are what prompt almost half of sellers to use an agent.

Rising expectations


Our findings confirmed that customer service is still the key to success. 89% of respondents said that exceptional customer service is the most important factor when it comes to choosing a brand or service provider.

When asked what exceptional customer service looks like to them, 87% of respondents said clear, responsive and transparent communication mattered most, while 76% said that companies giving a realistic expectation of timeframes was the most important thing.

As an agent, you might feel like you’re doing everything in your power to communicate with clients as best and as frequently as possible but their expectations are continuing to rise. This is where automation-driven technology can come in to its own. Consumers expect an experience that aligns both in person and digitally. They want to build relationships and be able to ask questions, they want empathy and guidance but they also want instant updates and somewhere they can log in and see everything in one place. Automation will align with the experiences they have become accustomed to everyday, with the standards they hold so high in every other sector. 

What can estate agents learn from the world’s automation leader?

There is no surprise that when we asked respondents which big brands are nailing customer service, more than 50% said Amazon. Amazon is the consumer front runner for the most positive experience, tracking streets ahead of the likes of Apple, Google, Netflix and Uber.

Speed of service, clear communication, personalisation and the way in which problems are resolved are the things people love most about their Amazon experience. What’s the secret to this success? All of these plus points are enabled by market-leading automation at every step, and all with a personal touch. Amazon’s automations work behind the scenes, so you never see them, but you feel their impact when you use their services.

A people-centric approach

What respondents valued most from their experience of working with their estate agent was a friendly attitude (62%), closely followed by their local knowledge and expertise (55%). These are things that automation can’t replace and will always require the human touch. Imagine if you had more time to spend really building that relationship. This is something that automation can enable, supporting agents to spend their time in the places that add the most value to the client experience, without other parts of the process slowing down as a result.

On the flip side when it came to problems respondents had faced, lack of updates and communication (19%) and lack of speed (21%) got the majority vote. These were the two main complaints that stood out for them when working with their estate agent. No surprises here as these experiences are the opposite to what respondents value the most.

More choice and control

Alongside speed, consumers want more choice and control. When we asked the 600 respondents about the sale options they had been given by Estate Agents, only 10% were offered auction by their agent, despite auction being a solution to the two top priorities identified – a quick and secure sale.

By offering auction as an opportunity to sellers’, estate agents are showing they have listened to and understand the modern consumer and their desire to speed up the process, be giving more choice and a more transparent experience. 

Key Takeaways

When asked why they chose a particular Estate Agent, respondents said past experiences (29%), recommendation from a family or friend (24%) and customer service (23%) had the biggest influence.

Our research confirms that understanding consumer needs and investing in delivering the five-star customer service they are accustomed to in other areas of their lives is the key to success for agents.

To be the best agency you can be, you need to focus on giving your clients not just great results, but also a great experience. In short – automate what you can, be friendly and informed and remember why customers pay a premium for Amazon Prime.

Find more leading insights like this from property industry insiders, business leaders and sports people in iamproperty’s latest Tech of a Life, which is out now and focuses on ‘visionary thinking’.


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