For those of us whose line of work is helping people move house, we know all too well how stressful an experience it can be for our customers.
That said, we shouldn’t ignore the stresses and demands facing owners and staff of residential agencies themselves, with uncertainty and change in the property business always guaranteed.
It’s becoming more and more obvious that truly overcoming these challenges (Brexit, regulatory changes, political outlook) involves not just solving customers’ or agents’ woes in isolation, but by looking at the landscape with ‘2020 vision’ and synergistically tackling both customer and agent problems through innovation.
Ian Crowther, Commercial Director of Tili, comments:
“Agents are already making time to implement regulatory changes and refine their processes, but equally they’re looking for that meaningful long-term change and innovation that’ll see them thrive by delivering an unparalleled customer experience.”
“Our partners want to hear the early success stories, ‘who’s doing what?’ and ‘how will this help us to offset these challenges?’, where are the opportunities and how do we grab them and run with them in this challenging new climate?”
Scott Holmes, Marketing & Communications Manager of Tili says:
“Recently we’re seeing agents moving away from strategies that focus on revenue generation and reputation-building in isolation. By leveraging partnerships and new technologies, residential agencies can position themselves as agents of choice, winning recommendations and repeat business, building reputational value and income. The Negotiator Conference & Expo is perfectly poised to support agents in these strategies, providing insight, new ideas and thought leadership that will help agents thrive beyond these challenging times.”
Solving stressors and building reputational value
Ahead of this year’s conference, we asked over 1,300 homeowners what factors caused them stress when they last moved house. We also asked them what the estate agent did to make the moving experience more positive. Our aim was to identify what the key challenges are, what agents are doing right, and how the industry can innovate to make moving more rewarding for all parties.
What makes moving stressful?
The most common stressor – affecting 34% of respondents – was the paperwork associated with buying a property, including warranties, stamp duty and insurance admin. This was closely followed by the process of moving personal belongings from one property to another – 33% of people cited this as a stressor.
Twenty-six per cent of respondents said the costs associated with buying a home added stress to the process. Other headaches included setting up utilities and other services (24%), delays to the move-in date (24%) and cleaning and/or redecorating the new home (24%).
What are agents doing really well?
We asked homeowners what factors contributed to great service from the estate agent handling their most recent property purchase. Twenty-eight per cent said friendliness made for a positive experience, while 27% cited ease of contact as a marker of good service. Fifteen per cent of respondents said they liked the fact that their agent was open and honest with them.
Enhancing the agent-homebuyer relationship.
Though homebuyers and estate agents don’t have a typical supplier-client relationship, an increasing number of plug-in services are available to help agents improve the home buying experience. A whole host of tools, from do-it-yourself portals to concierge services exist for this purpose. But why would agents want to use them?
There are multiple potential benefits. Firstly, today’s buyer is tomorrow’s potential vendor. A 2017 government study found than 9% of vendors chose their estate agent on the sole basis that they’d used them to buy the property they’re selling. 14% chose their agent based on a recommendation, and 53% based their choice on the agent’s reputation. But there are shorter-term benefits too. With the right tools, agents can speed up the sale, reduce cost and, importantly, introduce new revenue streams. Such is the case with Tili, our free digital home move assistant.
Tili dramatically reduces the admin involved in setting up essential home services, like energy and broadband. And when an agent introduces their customers to the service, they can earn commission.
What tech innovations do homebuyers really want?
So what does the estate agency of the future look like? Is it all bells-and-whistles smart tech and virtual offices? Not necessarily. Adapting our technology to our customers’ needs doesn’t have to mean keys delivered by drone. So what do they want?
The three most popular choices were:
- The ability to do everything online, from initial search to purchase (18%)
- The ability to contact the agent outside of regular working hours (16%)
- A digital home move assistant, provided by the agent, that helps buyers set up essential home services such as energy and broadband (16%).
The appetite for these services is even greater in the younger demographic. For those under the age of 35, the desire for the above initiatives rose to 29%, 24% and 26% respectively.
Of the survey findings, Ian Crowther, Commercial Director at Tili said:
“It’s encouraging to see agents getting the fundamentals of great service right – friendliness, openness and ease of contact. There’s still a huge opportunity to use emerging technologies to go so much further.”
“For example, Tili partners with some of the UK’s leading estate agents to improve the home move experience, and to introduce new revenue streams. Tili helps people moving home set up all their essential services in one go, online, before they move in. And when they use it, their agent earns revenue. This works for both buyers and sellers, so it’s double the opportunity for the agent.”
Here’s what customers tell us:
Really made things a lot easier and allowed us to jumpstart our stay in the UK!”
A great thing to have if you’re not yet familiar with the area.” Syzmon
***** TrustPilot review
The assistance that you gave made things easier for me at a time when I had just moved from Suffolk to Leicester. So thank you.” Patricia
The NEG Talk:
Reputation, reputation, reputation: enhancing the agent & home-mover relationship
With a strong focus on achieving ‘2020 Vision’ and using reputation-building to thrive in an ever-changing marketplace, Ian will share Market Intelligence from his experience as the Commercial Director behind leading utilities solution to the Ian Crowther, home-move industry, Tili.
The Negotiator Conference & Expo | The Court Suite – 29th November 2019 Join us for insight, takeaway tips and inspiration.