Attracting consumers is only the first step of the journey, and it is only through continuous, value-adding engagement with the customer that you’ll succeed in building a relationship that will shape their decision to choose your agency above all others, helping you to deliver a high-value and rewarding customer experience that may lead to more business from them in the future.
This blog looks at some of the strategies you can employ to engage the revolutionised consumer, looking at how technology can help you streamline the process for maximum efficiency, all while delivering an exceptional (and personal) experience with human interaction that shows the customer their time and business is the most important item on your to-do list.
More insights are available in Reapit’s newly released report on the Consumer (R)evolution: how to attract, engage and retain the 2021 consumer.
1. Customise each journey for a unique customer experience
Providing a fantastic customer experience from the very start of the journey right through to the end certainly pays off: a 2021 study from Zendesk found that 75% of consumers are willing to spend more to buy from companies that give them a good customer experience.
Since 2020, a good customer experience has become truly essential with almost 50% of UK customers in the Zendesk report saying that customer experience is more important to them now compared to a year ago – and it’s certainly not something to get wrong either, as 80% of customers surveyed claimed that they will switch to a competitor after just one bad experience.
“Consumer companies must invest in the data, technology and systems required so they are able to deliver the kinds of exceptional consumer experiences that will give them a competitive edge and position them as the next customer-experience leaders.” – Ernst & Young
The revolutionised consumer puts a high priority on a great customer experience and when they reach out to you (or you reach out to them), they will be paying very close attention to the service they receive from you. This is where your data collection and segmentation really come into its own: investing in the right software will help you match the right customer to the right solutions in the shortest possible time, because collecting information on your customer is only half the package. A close personal connection is essential to the revolutionised consumer and the hallmarks of a good customer experience for 2021 and beyond is a combination of both personal, human interactions and super-fast, flawless delivery via tech.
2. Utilise email marketing to engage with potential customers
Email marketing remains the most preferred and most personal way that consumers across all demographics engage, and is a great way to get listings, advertise properties for sale and drive traffic to your agency website.
Research from the marketing platform Bluecore found that 74% of Baby Boomers think email is the most personal channel to receive communications from businesses, followed by 72% of Gen X, 64% of Millennials, and 60% of Gen Z. According to HubSpot, 99% of email users check their email every day and 77% of companies have seen even more engagement with email marketing over the past year.
Whether it’s automated or personal, email marketing will help you nurture buyers and sellers. Use email segmentation to send unique and personalised content to each segment of your audience. Automated email marketing using automated workflows to send out content is a powerful tool to keep relevant content flowing. Once they’ve engaged, you can start building a personal and positive connection by finding out more about what they are looking for to help deliver an empathetic customer experience.
The bottom line: Email marketing is the best tool for estate agents who want to engage their audience.
3. Create a process to understand what they really, really want
The 2021 consumer has changed considerably over the past year, and their expectations and priorities have evolved with them. According to a survey from Accenture, 50% of consumers believe that the pandemic caused them to rethink their personal purpose and re-evaluate what’s important to them in life. Estate agents will likely have experienced this shift in priorities first-hand with buyers increasingly interested in properties further outside of cities, or with more internal space or even a garden – and with the rise of Work from Home (a trend that is likely to continue in a flexible form), consumers are prioritising their health and mental wellbeing more so than ever before.
The revolutionised consumer will likely have a good idea about what it is that they’re looking for in a home, but they won’t know the lay of the land like you do. Your expertise is the difference between your customer getting a home and the home – but much of this relies on understanding the real reasons why a potential client is looking to buy, sell or rent. Once you’ve discovered the core motivators – bearing in mind these may be very different to what is presenting on the surface – you can work towards delivering an experience that resonates. But diving deeper does not come naturally for everyone, and savvy agencies will formalise a process, automated by tech to drive company-wide adoption, to ensure that this level of service is provided without exception.
4. Be human and empathetic above all
This one might sound like a no-brainer, but it can be easy to rely too heavily on technology and miss the moment for a human connection when it matters most. People will be happy to engage with your website, app, and the like, but the second something goes wrong, they want to talk to a person, immediately.
“Customer engagement cannot always be about new sales – the best way to engage your customers is to develop an online experience that is based on customer empathy.” – Rich Gardner – VP, Global Strategic Partnerships at Klaviyo
The revolutionised consumer greatly values human interaction and PwC research found that 78% of UK consumers want to interact with a real person more as technology improves; in addition, GWI research reveals that 3 out of 5 internet users say that bad customer service would negatively affect their decision-making. Good customer experiences might be built around the cornerstones of convenience, speed, and consistency, but the human connection sits at the very centre as its linchpin. That means that the technology supporting human interaction must be seamless and unobtrusive across platforms to ensure that consumers feel that the agent they’re dealing with is actively engaged and empathetic with their needs.
Smart agencies don’t focus on the tech, but on delivering world class customer experiences. And then they set out to find the best tech on the market that will make it happen, empowering their agents to be more hands-on with the customer. By way of an example: when your CRM software instantly recognises an incoming number and automatically presents you with the full client activity record, that call is going to start out with you already informed about the client’s previous activity, allowing you to be even more attuned to their requirements, which is exactly the kind of care that clients are looking for. As poet Maya Angelou put it so beautifully:
“People will forget what you said and did but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
Interested in more insights on how consumers have changed? Download your free copy of Reapit’s report on the Consumer (R)evolution: how to attract, engage and retain the 2021 consumer.