What does a great customer experience look like for estate agents? - Acaboom Blog

What does a great customer experience look like for estate agents?

Posted on by Elaine Keep

You might have read the articles about the new customer-led revolution – customer experience 4.0.  Property Academy covered this beautifully in their article Lazy Marketing, RIP.

What is customer experience 4.0?

To recap, there are various levels of Customer Experience we’ve already been through.

CX1.0 = The Store (We purchased goods and services locally and if they weren’t available then we substituted/went without them.)
CX2.0 = Brand (We became influenced by brands as much as the products and services they promote
CX3.0 = Digital. (Whatever we want, now. We want information at our fingertips.)

Now we land at CX4.0 = Proactive and Personal. (We expect our purchases to be Functional & Uplifting, Consistent & Individual and we expect our needs to be anticipated and understood. We want to feel unique and catered to and our companies need to offer relevance to customer needs.

Why does customer experience 4.0 matter?

CX4.0 is of interest to everyone who wants to stand out and stay relevant- and the winners are people like Disney – who have invested millions in understanding journeys from top to bottom and thinking across the whole value chain to deliver the best customer experience.  (As it’s famously known, Disney even applied for a patent to collect customer data by scanning guests’ shoes to get information on their paths between rides to create a more personalized experience.)

But this can feel a bit too large of a project for many of us to handle.  We’re still in a pandemic, we’ve just got our hands on a new marketing video, we’re only just managing to digitise some processes.

Articles about 5G, VR and augmented reality to create customer experiences have their place, but for many estate agents, simplicity is the key. What can you actually do right now to move towards being a CX 4.0 business? We’ve got you covered.

Estate Agents Guide to CX 4.0 

How can estate agents tweak a few things and make a more inclusive and successful customer experience (and create more balance for agents at the same time?)

We all want to be innovators and leaders rather than followers. What can we do to more accurately meet customer expectations?

We can take what we already know and plug the gaps in our business.

What we know: 

  • Almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of customers would switch to a company that offered text messaging as a communication channel. (This shows people are keen to do some elements of business online with a simple chat model.)
  • One in 15 online purchases are now made between the hours of midnight and 06:00. (The world of 9 – 5 is gone!)
  • In retail, 89% of respondents would like retailers to offer digital receipts as an option. (Think about your current literature – are you offering this digitally?)
  • 7 out of 10 consumers say they’ve spent more money to do business with a company that delivers great service. (This speaks for itself!)
  • 66% of adults feel that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good online customer experience. (That means being available when they need it and making experiences simple and effective.)

Lesson 1: Be connected – 24/7

Meeting customers’ expectations anytime and anywhere means 9 – 5 work doesn’t cut it anymore. Luckily, a few years ago we all started using smartphones, and how we managed our days really started to change.

We’ve all come online during the pandemic in some fashion, whether it’s the short-lived Zoom quiz with your mates or taking viewings online.

This is an important lesson. Whilst we hoped that the Coronavirus will pack its bags, we shouldn’t forget what it taught us – that the companies who were able to adapt quicker got more business.  Those with online stores served more customers. Those with click and collect options picked up orders.  The same went for estate agents – those who were able to meaningfully convey their safety protocols and that it was business as usual were able to win instructions while others floundered.

It’s why Acaboom offers an Instruct us Now button in digital proposals, and why we’ve partnered with people like Yomdel to integrate live chat. It allows people to ‘shop’ – for an agent, to mull a decision – anytime.

Being there, almost 24/7 is the best way forward. It goes without saying that your social media should also be live and kicking, and your agents are professionally introduced, able to present the most relevant data and are able to easily follow up.

This builds a culture of connectivity.

Where other agents are all sending the same old follow up letter our post appointment presentation allows the owners to interact with our marketing and engages them more with our brand and culture.

The best part for us is we can see when a client is viewing their report so it allows us to jump in and call the client when they are looking at making that decision on who to instruct! – Archer and Co, an Acaboom user

Lesson 2:  Invest in tech that makes this easier 

Teams, Zoom and Skype have all been there when we needed them. Investments in technology have supported us by being there before we even knew we would rely on them.

Now is the time to really strip away manual processes that aren’t going to get any better. The paperwork that follows an otherwise digital process. Printed documents and brochures, the physical need to go back to a physical office to access certain parts of a report or a valuation, the tools that don’t play well together that mean you spend up to an hour a day fiddling around in and out of one system to the next. It’s why Acaboom developed an app to handle all of this.

However you do this, you need to open up all the options to engage with your prospects anytime, anywhere in an unobtrusive way.

“We are now able to offer clients, allowing us to be seen as tech friendly and from the clients perspective – interested enough to stay in continuous contact but in a useful and non intrusive manner, giving us ultimately a clear differentiating edge over our less tech savvy competition.” – Castles Estate Agents, an Acaboom user

 

Lesson 3: Work on understanding your customers and appealing to their schedule – not yours 

We believe we have one customer – and there is a tendency to think that’s anyone with skin. But that’s simply not true. Our unique brand appeals to some people, and not others. The circles we advertise in attracts a certain type of person. The worlds and images we use, the colours on a for sale board all attract different people.

Don’t forget that today you are likely to have 4 different generations to work with – baby boomers, generation X, gen Z and millennials. Whether it’s email, chat, bots, offline hands-off or a hybrid of personal calls and informational emails, data or softer marketing touches like regular market updates and emails – everyone has their own hot spots and you need to be there in a multitude of different ways.

The tricky part is delivering something for everyone and showing you point of difference, without being intrusive.

Did you know that 84% of 25-34 year-olds have left a favourite website because of intrusive or irrelevant advertising? 

Sales has to follow suit. Untargeted calls at the wrong time are a burden on the agent and the prospect.

“People want this level of engagement from the companies with which they do business … even the best of what formerly passed for good customer service is no longer enough. You have to be no less than a customer concierge, doing everything you can to make every one of your customers feel acknowledged, appreciated, and heard. You have to make them feel special, just like when your great-grandmother walked into Butcher Bob’s shop or bought her new hat, and you need to make people who aren’t your customers wish they were.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

 

Again, tech is the only way. People aren’t getting any more hours in the day – if anything, there’s less time than ever. Tech is the only way to offer the best experience to a variety of customer journeys without losing your sanity. Knowing when people are viewing your marketing materials, when they are in a decision-making mindset is the smartest decision you can make to attract and retain their interest in you.

They feel understood and valued, you save more time.

Lesson 4: Stand out as an agent who adds value

Personal marketing doesn’t mean using their name in an email subject line. It can be as simple as introducing yourself before you meet – getting rid of those standard templates. You could add videos to your pre-appointment emails, or just add in the personal touch.

So many of us try and get our newsletters and after care right, but scrimp on the first meeting we ever have.

Take this example.

 “Had some great feedback on the valuer bio I sent too – one lady commented she felt more at ease about her dog being in the house because my bio says I love pets!” – Heywoods Property, an Acaboom user

Social media gives us so much information about people and prospects – but rarely do we use it. Who has time to scan all the sites? Also, does it feel a bit strange?  That’s why at Acaboom we have a method of pulling this information into a pack before valuations, so you can have a good idea of who you are meeting. It’s not about lying and saying you ALSO have 3 kids and a rottweiler- but it’s seeing if there is a way to make a human connection. Teamed with relevant data to their home, their priorities, stats and graphs are taken from yawnsome to something that’s a value add.

In conclusion 

There is no rewind button, and as the pandemic has shown, even a lockdown of the country and most of the world results in more change, not less.

Selling anything on its monetary value alone is a race to the bottom, so now is the time to take on all the marketing guru’s advice and double down on it.

SEO, your website, your brand, your presentations and proposals, your customer journey, your process, the flow of how someone sees a for sale board and comes to give you the instruction – now is the time to be honest about where that falls down, what’s not quite good enough, modern enough or simply, what makes you think ‘I wouldn’t be interested in that.’ Being honest is the first step in making real changes.

Then, once you’ve identified your areas of weakness – you can destroy them. Prop tech is booming, and there is a toolkit ready for you to turn to. We’ve just integrated with Yomdel, Sprift and many other great businesses – and Kerfuffle holds plenty of answers (and some of our 5* reviews – over 50 of them in fact!) – there has never been a better time to be an agent in need of support because the industry surrounding you is willing you to get things right.

This is a brave new world, a little cracked around the edges from the events of 2020 – but a world where we can rebuild things to be better for agents, customers and everyone in between.

Your only question is ‘where do I begin?’

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Acaboom is a digital marketing toolkit that helps you win more instructions. Showcase your brand with beautiful proposals and presentations, stay in touch with data-led marketing and use the best in class app to manage your daily admin, so you can focus on what you do best.

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