What Online Estate Agents Need to Do Better
Handling property sales online can make matters a great deal easier for agents and customers alike. The process tends to be quicker and, thanks to automation and electronic communication, things will usually run smoothly.
However, there are a number of pitfalls into which more and more online estate agents tend to fall as they continue to rely on the internet to do the legwork.
Here, the home sales experts at Property Solvers explain what these are, and how approaches could be improved.
Customer Service Failings
Interaction with customers is vital. An exchange of emails may be enough most of the time, but there are other instances where your clients may wish to request specific advice or to discuss a matter in person.
Depending on their preferences, your customers may feel more confident and comfortable with your services if you’re willing to speak with them face to face – or at least over the phone.
If you fail to provide this option, the worst-case scenario may be that they are unable to find the answers they need, prompting them to take their business elsewhere.
Otherwise, once the transaction is complete, they may provide negative reviews or feedback that will damage your reputation. It is their right to do this if they do not feel as if your services have met their requirements, and it’s important that you make significant changes in response.
Issues With Speed and Efficiency
Many businesses adopt automated systems in order to cut down the number of man-hours spent on certain tasks, saving them time and money.
However, there are occasions where automation can actually confuse matters or make them more complex than they should be.
It’s important to keep an eye on all online features and ensure that they are working correctly. If they are not, they’re likely to create time-consuming problems.
For example, if a prospective customer attempts to send a contact form and is met with an error message instead of being notified that their information has been sent, it’s likely that they will try to contact your company to make sure that you received the details.
This is a waste of their time and yours, and they are likely to find it very frustrating.
Furthermore, property sales can be complex and it’s difficult to create systems that will cover all eventualities. When a buyer or seller attempts to interact with you regarding an unusual transaction, it’s best that they are able to contact you personally to ensure clarity.
If there is no clear means of speaking to an advisor in person, many potential customers will be put off – as they may be concerned that they will end up going round in circles and being passed between automated systems should their transaction meet with complications.
A Lack of Understanding
There is no better way of learning about the needs and preferences of your ever-changing customer base than by dealing with individuals in person. Personal exchanges between you and your clients will help you to determine:
- Their most common queries and requests
- The type of approach that they find most appealing
- The most effective means of dealing with complaints
- The best way to influence clients to use your service again in the future or to recommend you to others
- The elements of your service that customers would like to see changed or improved
There are ways of collecting this information without personal interaction – such as using feedback forms – but speaking with clients and learning about their preferences in person may allow you to achieve this in a more organic, informal way.
The information you glean from direct interactions with your clients should inform almost everything about your business, from your marketing techniques to your day to day approaches.
Failing to engage with customers on a personal level may cause you to miss out on vital development opportunities.
A Healthy Balance
Of course, we are not suggesting that online systems and automation are abandoned entirely in favour of communicating over the phone or face to face. There have been a wide variety of benefits enjoyed by estate agents after moving a percentage of their activities online.
For example, many of their clients do not have the time to attend meetings or take phone calls during the working day, as they will often be tied down with their own jobs. Contact forms or email-based communications allow them to notify or respond to you at a time that suits them.
Automation also allows estate agents to simplify and clarify the information they require from all parties involved in a sale, meaning they do not need to sift through irrelevant paperwork in order to find the details they need.
Furthermore, the use of online systems can help property specialists to save time and money overall, by cutting out “middle-men” and automatically guiding clients through a simple step by step process that would otherwise need to be overseen by an employee.
In conclusion, it is important that we continue to harness online and electronic solutions in order to maintain high levels of efficiency. Customers prefer services to be fast and effective, so this approach will also benefit them.
However, we should also remember the importance of providing support and advice in-person to those customers who require it. To that end, online estate agents should always provide a clear option for their clients to speak with them face to face or over the phone if they need to.