Agent Provocateur: A lot of noise about proptech – but it can be simple, affordable and genuinely useful

So much happens these days outside working hours. Most surveys indicate that anything from 50% to 70% of customers would like to be able to interact with their agent when they are actually looking online – which of course tends to be the evenings/weekends.

Convention dictates leaving either a voicemail or email request for a contact the next working day – bear in mind that might be up to three days if the request is made on a Friday evening.

The average time taken to respond to these messages, according to the portals, makes for horrifying reading – I’m given to believe it’s up to five days!

Much is made about the opaque nature of Purplebricks’ actual success rates, but what no one can doubt is the success of its software.

It offers users the ability to keep up with what’s going on, book solicitors, viewings, get mortgage info [and monetise it in the process] etc, and do it all online via a simple dashboard.

Surely, this must inform us of the way many people need to keep in touch with all who are part of the property buying process in the future.

In the course of my new venture I’ve had occasion to talk to many suppliers looking to make the journey easier and more informative, and I have been really quite impressed with a few.

One introducing a classy communication tool, with added bells and whistles and well worth a look from what I can see, is Onedome.

To have the advantages of a full service agent and the ability to communicate in the same way as Purplebricks, without the vast investment, all for next to nothing, must surely give the high street agent a winning advantage – one to watch.

Bob Scarff’s Callwell does a great job of making sure that valuation leads that come in are fed to the right place, but one of the biggest whinges over the years about buyer/tenant portal leads has been their quality.

This may well explain the purported absurd response time averages mentioned above.

I was talking last week to the aptly named Property Technology who have developed what seems like a sensible answer to this.

As far as I can see, and for the first time, their LeadPro tool immediately auto-responds to a portal enquiry, simply qualifies them with some obvious tailored questions and then delivers a qualified lead to your inbox. As usual with this sort of info, it’s so much easier to gather at the point of enquiry rather than days later, as we all know.

I have talked before about how some of the independent agents who make up the vast majority of our industry can be left behind on taking up innovation, but just those mentioned above can give them a cheap, viable and genuinely useful way to bolster profits without unnecessary spending on investment.

Often ignored, technology really can be a win/win.

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4 Comments

  1. KByfield04

    Spot on Ed, we use a variety of tech underpinning huge amonts of our business and it is both affordable and highly effective. We are actually in the process of setting up with LeadPro but love the concept with so many leads hard to contact during the day by phone or email. Other products I love include Property File, FixFlo, Goodlord and eyespy360. We soon hope to be included in this portfolio with The Depositary a platform we have been developing in partnership with TDS which aims to automate 90% of the end of a tenancy whilst delivering a digital, transparent platform for tenants & landlords alike. Its exciting times in our sector and agents should not undervalue how effective some of these platforms can be to your business in terms of both efficiency but also (and importantly) customer service experience.

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  2. The Godfather

    Good piece Ed.

    It reminds us all that no tech can ever compensate for lazy, complacent staff.

    We can either encourage our people to view every lead as an opportunity or we can lead them to believe that portal emails are all a waste of time.

    Whichever they choose – they’ll be right !!

    The only way we can ever really qualify an applicant is by talking to them. That’s why applications like Callwell are so valuable because it turns emails into phone calls. I suspect that applications like LeadPro work well in Lettings where applicant qualification is far more binary.

    In Sales though, nothing will ever do the qualification job quite as well as a human being picking up the phone.

     

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    1. samzawadzki48

      Hello Godfather,

       

      Apologies for the slow reply, you’re completely right qualification in sales is a little harder, than lettings. But there is far more value. Sales leads may also have a house to sell & may also need help with a mortgage. Each sales lead is really worth three leads! Of course a human is still needed to fully qualify, and sell. LeadPro just helps… would you like to give it a try?

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  3. NickTurner

    All good stuff and as I have said on numerous occasions tech back up of whatever type is an aid to the value that people add to their business offer which marks them out from the competitors.The value we add as people is the most important. Nothing can beat face to face or person to person via talking and the sooner agents realise that talking to purchasers is the best and always has been. Too many younger entrants and older ones as well have either forgotten or been taken over by the tech revolution. Use the tech stuff of course as an aid but to partially quote from the late Mrs T ‘jaw jaw’

    An opportunity can arise with flexible working required by some so let their  working day start later and  finish say at 9.30 pm so they can speak to vendors and purcasers alike?

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