If technology makes it easier for us to manage these things in our home lives, shouldn’t we try to adopt the same mindset in our businesses too? This article highlights how automation and information sharing can improve communication and help your lettings agency thrive.
Automating the lettings industry?
Tenants and landlords have one thing in common – they both want the smoothest and fastest let possible. And people expect businesses to operate at the same technical level, at the same speed, as they do.
Daily processes, like paying bills, are already handled online or even automated. So people have come to expect that similar administrative tasks should be just as easy… like renting a home, undergoing referencing checks or signing tenancy agreements.
As an agency, adopting the latest digital solutions not only speeds up your internal processes, but the sooner you do it – the greater market advantage you’ll have.
Project.co highlights some interesting, yet unsurprising, stats regarding traditional business communications:
- 92% of people have had to repeat a piece of information to two or more people within an organisation.
- 74% of people have stopped dealing with a company and moved to a competitor due to feeling the company was disorganised.
- 65% of people have lost a file in their own inbox or on a personal hard drive.
These stats just go to highlight how important it is to share knowledge, improve communication and internal organisation and streamline processes. So just how can this be done within a lettings agency:
1. Reference checks
Referencing can be a bit of a headache. In theory, once all required documents are received, it should take no more than 48 hours to complete all checks. However, ARLA states that the referencing process can take days or even a week in certain cases. These delays are often caused by hold ups with employer and landlord references or obtaining bank statements. But, with statistics from 2019 showing a 117 per cent increase in fraudulent lettings applications, the process needs to be carried out thoroughly.
Solution: Use a pre-tenancy management platform to automate as much of the process as possible. This will allow for simple information sharing and real-time status updates. Use Open Banking to complete affordability checks. As well as reducing the risk of fraud, it’s up to 16 times faster. It also requires far less administrative time as all information is stored centrally and a tenant interface means they can check for the latest updates at any time.
2. Work smarter, not harder
Whether you’re operating with a reduced workforce or keeping up with an increase in demand, maintaining that personal touch can be tough when the workload stacks up. Not only that, but as Lettings Agents, you have to fulfil multiple roles as part of your day job; sales, marketing, customer service and – the task everyone hates – admin! A 2019 Forbes article said that estate agents spend roughly 80% of their time doing admin and marketing and only 20% chasing and nurturing leads. We estimate that figure is even higher for letting agents during the pandemic.
How automation can help: By automating as much of the lettings processes as possible, you can focus on growing the business. We’ve already touched on referencing, but what about insurance products, utilities management, e-signatures, digitised ASTs? If these were integrated and automated as part of the process, it could significantly reduce your time spent chasing tenants, doing paperwork, filling documents and selling additional services.
How about viewings? An increasing number of businesses conduct virtual viewings with some even reporting a doubling in business thanks to adopting a virtual viewing app
Automating and digitising some of these processes gives you more time to focus on customer care and developing relationships with new and existing landlords.
3. Enhancing communication
Over the last year, internet usage globally has grown by 70%. As a result, people expect to be able to find information, answer questions and communicate at any time of day. The pandemic has changed the way we communicate and operate; especially in business. And it’s not going to change any time soon. A survey by The Guild of Property Professionals found a third of agencies expect at least some of their staff will work from home permanently even when the pandemic ends.
Why automation will help: With staff operating from different locations and customers wanting more access to information at all times of day, consistent and centralised communication is key.
Consider incorporating Live Chat tech on your website. It makes it quicker and easier to respond to client queries and you can even build in automated Q&As to help field common questions before coming through to your team.
Food for thought
McKinsey estimates that the pandemic has accelerated the digitisation of companies’ customer interactions by three to four years. And it is likely that this accelerated adoption of technology will mean the rate of change will be even greater than before. Business automation won’t just be a ‘nice to have’, soon it will be a necessity.
If you’d like to boost client satisfaction, maximise sales opportunities and increase efficiency , why not download our Thrive Guide and Join the Revival?