Rethinking Priorities in Real Estate: Will Customer Experience and Digital Services Become the New Location?
by Clara Giampellegrini |
One of the beauties of the job of a real estate agent is that they become part of a significant investment decision of private individuals. From both monetary and emotional perspectives, the purchase of a new property marks a significant milestone in someone’s life; some would describe it as “the fulfilment of a dream”, or even “the beginning of a new chapter”. Whilst you would expect an investment of such importance to be subject to nothing less than a top-quality buying experience, the reality on the market looks slightly different...
52% of aspiring homeowners in the UK described the home buying process as “a serious problem”HomeOwner Alliance , 2019
According to a survey by the HomeOwner Alliance in 2019, 52% of aspiring homeowners in the UK described the home buying process as “a serious problem”. This is representative for all of Europe, where the buying process of real estate more often becomes a source of frustration rather than a pleasant and enjoyable process. Whether it’s due to the endless paperwork, the umpteenth deadline pushback, or to the frequently depicted lack of transparency in the communication with the real estate agent - customer satisfaction suffers under numerous flaws in the selling system.
Plenty real estate players could benefit from seeking to better understand how some of the most successful companies approach the customer experience topic. Take Amazon.com or Apple , for instance: “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”, outlined Jeff Bezos in an interview about the principles of Amazon. In fact, “customer obsession” is the multinational’s top priority and most likely also the key to Amazon's success. “You have to start with the customer experience and work back towards the technology” once explained tech giant Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs .
“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”Jeff Bezos , Amazon.com
So why should it be any different in the real estate industry - one of the most exclusive yet so traditional sectors? The answer is simple and straightforward: it should not.
Finding the optimal location certainly still is the golden rule in real estate at the moment, but priorities need to be reviewed, and customer satisfaction definitely belongs amongst the very top. There are different ways to improve client satisfaction, and since the arrival of industry 4.0 and the global trend of digitalisation, technology has become inevitable when it comes to customer experience. In fact, in the age of constant connectivity, consumers have been conditioned to expect immediate access to information and the buyer-seller relationship has completely changed.
Especially in the property sector, where buying, selling or even renting a house place can be stressful, customers will have questions, concerns, suggestions and requests for updates that they want answers to ASAP. These “new” expectations put a lot of pressure on the sellers and property managers, and they are not going away anytime soon. If anything, fully digital customer experiences will be taken as a given once the digital native generations take over the market. Whoever can’t keep up with their pace is expected to seriously risk being out of the picture fast. Surprisingly, in Europe, the larger part of the real estate industry seems to be still in denial when it comes to digitalising the property selling process. Nevertheless, there has been a significant increase in the use of technology in the past year, and a huge wave of transitioning is to be expected in the years to come.
Altogether, the message is clear: In order to stay competitive in the real estate game and optimise customer experience, the use of technology will be inevitable.
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