The shift towards customer experience in real estate didn’t happen overnight. With the world changing and technology evolving, people have come to expect customer experience in their everyday lives. Mobile devices have become an everyday thing and the percentage of Internet users has reached unbelievable heights. After primary needs such as device ownership and easy access were satisfied, it became clear that the next step is comfort and efficiency. Understanding this, many property management leaders started adopting innovative technology, analysing customer satisfaction levels and changing their perspective from providing a service to providing an experience.
PwC established that 73% of all people point to customer experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions, 43% of all consumers would pay more for greater convenience and 42% would pay more for a friendly, welcoming experience.
But what does a potential customer mean by a welcoming experience? Well, the same report revealed that the most important aspects are speed and efficiency (80%), knowledgeable and helpful employees (78%) and convenience (77%). It also found out that Generation Z consumers are willing to pay more for a mobile experience (63%), fun (60%) and design (59%).
By raising the level of the customer experience, you are automatically raising the demand level. This provides you with the possibility to raise the price you charge for the service and results in a higher ROI for your business. One of the main reasons why all of this is vital for the real estate industry is the fact that the whole essence of the industry is built on relationships formed between agents and homebuyers.
To improve customer experience, you need to focus on all the possible interactions a customer might have with your service. And when we say “all possible interactions” we mean all of them – your website, social media pages, ads, emails, marketing campaigns, events and even phone calls made by your sales team. You have to make your customers feel appreciated and cared for, while also making sure to maintain a human touch.
One of the first things to start with is revising all your online presence channels. With 87% of shoppers beginning their hunt in digital channels (source: Salesforce and Publicis.Sapient) you have to make sure that all the information you put out in those channels is up to date and relevant.
Make sure you have the right address, emails, phone numbers and working times listed. Invest in preparing detailed FAQs basing them on the questions you received in the past from your customers, so that potential customers can easily find information that they might need. Create engaging blog posts on topics like events happening in areas you have property listings in or local news highlights. Check whether your website is mobile friendly and make it so, if it isn’t. Consider adding an online payment system and increase transparency by adding self-service tools, that would provide real-time access to properties and financial information.
Next, focus on your response time. According to a survey conducted by Lithium Technologies, 66% of consumers expect a same-day response to their online request and 43% expect a response within an hour. A good way to answer to these standards would be to set an automated reply. You can add it to your email, website contact form and even use a chat-bot on your social media to send it out. This way you can let your potential customers know, that their enquiry was received and will be taken care of as soon as possible.
Automation can help in other ways as well. By automating your everyday workflow, you will be able to spend more time actually communicating and focusing on your clients. Using tools like CRM can help to automate your internal processes while using AI tools will help automate online customer communications. Scheduling reminders, monitoring campaigns, leaving comments for your co-workers and storing data in one place – can all be simplified and made more efficient thanks to automation.
Even though automation is amazing, keeping a human touch is vital for a real estate company. More than that, 75% of consumers would actually want to interact with a real person as technology improves (source: PWC). This is why adding a personal touch to your campaigns and communications will guarantee stronger client bonding.
Try putting together welcome packages for clients who just moved in, with all the potential information they might need. Throw in a few coupons for local supermarkets, gyms or food deliveries, and information on their opening hours and rates. Add some of your own branded merchandise, like a set of branded cups or coasters, which would definitely come in useful to someone who just moved in. Send out birthday cards or even e-cards to your clients. Acknowledge how long the client has been with you by sending them a thank you letter. No machine can ever replace human interaction, so don’t forget this when you form your business strategy.
After you have tried all the above, don’t forget to measure the result. By measuring your clients’ satisfaction level, you will always have your hand on the pulse. It will allow you to see which areas need improvement, so you can focus on them and highlight which campaigns are working and which aren’t. This way you can plan your budget better, spend money on things that are needed and have a clear strategic vision. It will also show your clients that you care and are giving them a voice to speak up about things that matter to them.
Author: Nadia Ivanova, PR & Digital Marketing Manager at Qobo Group Ltd