If the pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that needs must when adversity hits and many agency processes can be done differently. Identifying and making small efficiencies can add up to significant differences.
Let’s look at a few things you can consider:
1. Do your staff wear too many hats?
Letting agents are often required to deal with various challenges – all of which need a different skillset. Whether it’s sales, a legal perspective, or even simple administrative tasks, they can become over stretched and less efficient as they try to keep track and spin multiple plates. While this is more common in smaller agencies, it occurs in larger ones too. Ideally, staff should become specialised and handle roles separately. However, this isn’t always possible. To ease the pressure on individuals and give them support without increasing overheads, look for simple ways to streamline their jobs or automate processes. Is each step of your lettings process really needed? Is there a better way to achieve the same outcome? Can you automate any parts of the process by using technology to help? Can you integrate insurance products within the pre-tenancy process to make selling these additional services a simple and seamless step?
2. Are your systems integrated?
Keeping your tenancies moving when everything is in one place is easy. It is the entry of data across multiple platforms that adds unnecessary work and added delays. Apart fro the impact this has on agents, the time spent on admin and general morale, it also makes for a less than desirable tenant journey. Tenants spend more time chasing for updates and vice versa making for a lengthy and drawn-out process.
Is the software your agency uses integrated and user friendly? Do you spend a lot of time inputting the same data multiple times? Why not do a quick audit and see just how much time you’re spending on admin in any given week?
3. Do you follow structured processes?
Good communication is the backbone of any successful business and structured processes ensure clear communication is always top of the agenda. However, individuals tend to approach problem solving in unique ways. In a business this may lead to workers developing their own processes of varying efficiency. This not only makes management reporting difficult but can cause training issues too. If you are able, try to follow a structured and templated process. The good news is that you don’t necessarily need to define this process yourself either. Pre-tenancy management software will not only pre-define the process into key steps for you, but some platforms will even offer live support and automated assistance along the way. By keeping all relevant information in one place, anyone can see the status of a tenancy at any time and progress it accordingly and all agents understand what is required from both your agency and their tenants at any given stage.
4. Paper or paperless?
Just how much of the paper data you have could be digitised? Without having systems in place to input and store data digitally, you risk lengthening processes such as referencing and communication with tenants. Not only that, but the storage of these paper files causes space and access issues for people who are working remotely. Referencing can be infamously disruptive when it doesn’t go smoothly. Having clear visibility of the referencing progress would speed things up tremendously. Look for digital platforms that support a paperless process by allowing data transparency between the parties (e.g. tenants easily sharing banking information independent from the process and enabling digital signatures on legal documents like ASTs.)
5. Training and preparation
It’s not unusual for members of staff to have to learn on the job. It’s an effective way to learn while being an effective team member. However, this can lead to a decrease in efficiency at best and missed sales opportunities at worst. Following on from point number three, having established processes often helps with training staff as this can be documented making it easier to pick up.
Learning becomes easier when the subject matter is focused, and the amount of information kept small. Having systems in place that allow staff to be more specialised by automating some of the workload also improves training and can help staff feel more confident in their work.
Achieving greater efficiencies in your agency needn’t be a thankless and difficult job. With so many of us having been forced to work from home in recent months, we have become more adaptable and open minded to how processes can be managed digitally. When combined with great systems and software, the efficiency gains are endless.
If you want to find how you could improve the efficiency in your agency and really thrive in 2021, join the revival. Our Thrive 2021 action plan walks you through a step-by-step process of how you can reduce costs, save time and increase revenue by thinking smart and boxing clever.
Rent & Legal Protection
From £16.67 per month or £200 annually
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- 12 months’ rent arrears cover
- Zero excess
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- Repossession cover for any breach of tenancy
- 75% of rent covered up to 2 months if tenant damage means the property cannot be immediately re-let