Thanks to a fast-moving world, how we now communicate in all parts of life is very different to how we communicated even a decade ago.
There is a good chance, with the rapid developments in new tech, that communication will be vastly different again 10 years from now.
With this in mind, the way estate and letting agents communicate with buyers, sellers, landlords, tenants, solicitors, PropTech platforms, suppliers and property managers will need to move with the times.
You'll need to make sure you embrace, and are up to date with, modern methods of communication to ensure that your business runs as smoothly as it can.
Here, we outline some of the modern methods of communication that could really help your business to thrive.
No matter what you think of its merits, social media is now a major influence on modern life – particularly for younger generations – and plays some part in most things we do.
This includes property, where any agency worth its salt now has a presence on all the major social media platforms.
It allows you to engage instantly with existing or would-be customers, as well as sharing pictures of homes, news stories and your charity or community work. It can boost your reputation and drastically improve your firm's brand recognition.
You can position yourself as an expert on lettings and sales-based matters, and also respond directly to queries or complaints from clients – proving that instant interaction that many people now crave.
Social media platforms provide agents with a great way of communicating with customers in a direct, natural and informal way, so it's important that you embrace the major to improve your business's growth potential.
WhatsApp, which only launched in May 2009, has become one of the world's most used and popular apps, and one of the most widespread new methods of communication.
It appeals to all generations and also benefits from being a free, cross-platform service which enables users to perform a number of functions, from simple messaging to voice and video calls and image-sharing.
Its availability across a number of devices and its ability to provide end-to-end encryption for maximum privacy and security has helped to make it one of the most used apps of all time. It was estimated, in February 2018, that over one and a half billion people worldwide were using WhatsApp – and this has almost certainly increased substantially in the 18 months or so since then.
Research has also suggested that the average user checks the messaging platform more than 23 times per day. With people checking their WhatsApp messages so frequently, more so even than their personal emails and much more so than text messages or voicemails, it's surely one of the most effective and quickest ways for agents to communicate with their clients.
Despite this, it's arguably underused in the property world. It also provides an evidence trail in the same way as emails or letters, giving all parties a clear idea of what's been said and what has or hasn't been promised.
With the platform only set to get bigger in the coming years, and its greater efficacy in reaching people than text messages, emails or phone calls, by embracing it now you should see benefits in both the short and long-term.
A piece of new technology which has been embraced by a rising number of agents in recent years is the use of a live chat facility on websites.
Many will be familiar with this innovation. When you visit an agent's site, a chat pop-up will appear in the bottom right-hand corner with some kind of call to action.
Once the pop-up has been clicked on, a bigger pop-up will emerge with a named support agent and a welcome statement, with an option for the visitor to the site to type in and send their message, before the live chat agent responds to the query.
The great advantage of these live chat facilities is that they are 24/7 and offer a brilliant way for agents to capture the attention of people visiting their site, offering instant engagement and interaction. From this, a follow-up call, email or in-branch visit in person could arise.
While many agencies do have a live chat facility on their website, this is far from universal. As a means of offering instant engagement for those who want it, though, it's the most obvious and effective solution currently out there.
At Gnomen, we utilise a live chat facility to help our clients get the most from our services, so understand fully the benefits it can bring.
Our cloud-based, all-in-one online estate agency software also allows social media feeds on your website to enable you to publish real-time portal fees direct to your Facebook and Twitter accounts.
We also focus heavily on communication, with our unique customer portals for landlords, sellers and sales and lettings applicants. Documents can be shared, offers can be tracked, SMS and email property alerts sent, and sales progress monitored.
Like WhatsApp, we also focus heavily on security, with a backed-up, 256-bit encrypted and GDPR-compliant system.
Meanwhile, internal communications can be optimised with our software, which enables you to create an office diary (synced to iOS/Android/Outlook), track performance and produce customisable workflows
A big part of success in the property industry is communication. We can help make sure are using the right methods to speak to your customers.
To find out more about our best-in-town property software packages and slick website design services, please call 0208 123 9019 or book a free demo here.