Estate agency has long been one of those few remaining industries in the 21st century that has retained and emphasised the value of its more traditional, brick-and-mortar operational standard. There is good reason for this: for most people the process of buying or selling their home will stand not just as one of the biggest financial decisions of their lives, but also one of the most emotional. During such a transaction, your customers need to connect with you personally; want to know you’re giving them 100% of your energy and time; have to be sure that securing them a satisfying transaction truly matters to your agency.
Technology has helped considerably in this regard, from the early digitisation days of spreadsheets to the digitalisation of estate agency workflows with the many near-identical CRM tools that are now available to agencies that want to generate and drive new business while keeping their existing customers happy.
Digitisation vs digitalisation
Digitisation is the switch from analogue data to digital – such as moving from paper-based documents to electronic ones. Digitalisation is the conversion of business practices to embrace digital technology – such as holding a Zoom-based virtual meeting rather than getting everybody together in a meeting room.
But digitisation and digitalisation are only the first two stages of digital transformation for businesses. Spreadsheets and basic CRMs are yesterday’s news, and the tools of the past are ill-equipped to deal with the challenges of today.
Digital transformation goes beyond digitalisation. It typically involves several digitalisation initiatives, but it would be a mistake to believe that digital transformation is purely about digitalisation. This is because digital transformation is really not about technology, it’s about the customer, and it’s about transforming your business to be better equipped to manage change.
The only certainty at the moment is that we are living in a period of uncertainty. The challenges facing the property industry are piling up, and a digital transformation project could be the last thing on many agents’ minds.
However, many of today’s challenges can be addressed with relationship building and customer loyalty, and this is where pairing technology with quality agent-driven customer experiences through digital transformation can be a huge support for your business.
Five ways digital transformation can help you challenge uncertainty
Whereas PropTech was once a trend, now it’s a necessity, and in 2023, PropTech will be a strategic anchor for agencies to thrive in tough economies, with the potential to positively affect housing access and affordability. Here are five reasons digital transformation can help your business to navigate uncertain market conditions:
1. Nurture client confidence with the right information
In the current state of the market, having the right tech is essential not only to meet the demands and expectations of consumers, but to nurture confidence amidst uncertainty. That’s because technology provides options and lets customers choose how they engage. So, whether it’s supporting vendors with the right information such that they proceed with a sale at the right time and for the right price, or supporting landlords and tenants with a high-value, ongoing service to retain their confidence and business, they have multiple forms of engagement for an enriched sales or lettings journey.
2. Deliver more value to your customers
But it’s not just about having the right PropTech, it’s how you use it. You’ve perhaps heard about digital transformation many times over by now, but to summarise again, it’s the adoption and integration of digital technology into all areas of a business. The purpose of adopting such technologies is to fundamentally change how your business operates and deliver value to your customers. It’s also a cultural change that requires you to continually challenge the status quo, experiment, and get comfortable with failure.
3. Adapt to changes in the market and consumer behaviour
The process, if approached correctly, can bring significant benefits to agencies in these challenging and uncertain market conditions. The value of your data is immeasurable in these times to help you better understand market trends and discover hidden opportunities in your database. Hence, the advantages for digitally transformed agencies to utilise the power of analytics for actionable intelligence enabling them to adapt and react to the changes not only taking place in the market, but also to consumer behaviour in reaction to these market conditions, can substantially support agencies as they look to future-proof their businesses.
4. Remain competitive in a challenging environment
Digital transformation is a necessity for any digitally inclined business that wants to work smarter and faster, reduce costs, increase revenue and growth, and remain competitive in uncertain market conditions in which adaptability is required and where a lack of resolve for adopting the tech necessary to drive success can potentially lead to the redundancy of your business model.
5. Survive disruption and futureproof your agency
However, the fear of change can often lead to businesses sticking with their tried and tested methods of operating – even as the market around them and the customers they provide products and services for changes. Disruption can be a net positive for businesses and while digital transformation may seem like a risky and unnecessary move in difficult times, it could also be the solution to your challenges.