First class communication has always been the foundation on which successful lettings agents enhance customer experience and build thriving businesses. Now, with the help of a new instant messaging platform, it’s easier than ever for agents to interact with landlords, tenants and suppliers across multiple properties using the same technology consumers love and rely on in their daily lives.
Life in a lettings agency can be like living in a whirlwind.
From advertising and letting rental properties through to managing those properties once a contract is signed, the tasks are many and varied – often involving multiple parties.
To be truly successful you need to be able to keep on top of a large and time-sensitive workload and make sure that everyone involved is kept up to date on progress or reminded of tasks they need to complete to ensure nothing stalls or breaks down.
Responding effectively and immediately
As a lettings agent you’re right in the middle of an intense communication flow that can be extremely difficult to manage across multiple properties.
Where is the email you sent about ID checks? What did that voicemail say about a boiler breaking down? Are these the right contact details for the tenant? Why does the phone always ring at the most inopportune moment? Why did I not see the note to call the landlord back ASAP?
Ramping up this intensity is the fact that we live in world where customers expect to be able to do things at a time that suits them – not you. Be it buying a car, ordering a meal or booking a doctor’s appointment, it needs to happen NOW.
This trend is especially prevalent among a younger generation that has grown up expecting answers – or, at the very least, acknowledgement, immediately. Given this demographic makes up a significant proportion of tenants, it’s important for agents to find a way to respond quicker than ever before if they are to retain and grow their customer base.
Winning the communication challenge
Clearly, it takes skill and great organisational capability to be able stay on top of everything and interact with everyone in a way which keeps them happy – and it’s a challenge that many lettings agents haven’t fully overcome.
It’s why, across multiple years, the Property Ombudsman (TPO) Reports have highlighted communication and record keeping as a common cause for complaints against agents.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Professional instant messaging solutions, like Tappter, give lettings agents a simple yet powerful way to consolidate all of their communications into one digital platform – creating a secure hub for all inbound and outbound correspondence with landlords, tenants and associated partners.
Once users are set up on the system, everyone can communicate via secure instant message – using a combination of desktop and smartphone to send and receive messages depending on your place in the chain.
Each element of the channel and user set up process can be tailored to align with specific agency processes or structures – with options to create channels for properties, teams and partners such as maintenance teams or finance specialists.
All messages and shared media (including documents and images) are saved on the platform making them searchable by property businesses and their customers at any time.
With this ability to set up and manage multiple communications channels in one place, agents lives are transformed at every stage of the lettings process.
Here are some examples:
With a direct line via instant message into the agent, it is super easy for tenants to report and explain any issues with the property. With the ability to share images in the chat, tenants can upload evidence of any problems or required repairs and have the confidence that what they have sent has been seen.
Furthermore, agents can provide a rapid response and introduce maintenance teams into the same chat while the problem is being resolved. This means the agent can see that the issue is being addressed, the maintenance team can confirm when their work is done and the tenant is kept fully updated at all times.
The ability for a lettings business to send, receive and review communications in one place has instant benefits for team performance.
It means that if someone is off sick or on holiday, for example, a colleague can very quickly get up to speed with the status of a tenant or landlord enquiry – with full access to message history to understand the intricacies of the case at hand.
It means that multiple branch teams have a way to easily communicate with each other and refer potential leads or enquiries to each other – with the ability to keep in-house conversations totally separate from all customer or partner communications.
From a management perspective it means everyone is accountable as every message is saved and auditable. This means you can understand the way your teams are communicating with customers and, if someone says they have done something, they can prove it – or vice versa.
This growing area of the industry is being grasped by forward thinking lettings agents who want to explore revenue generating opportunities during a tenancy and build brand value with customers to support long term relationships.
Essentially, if tenants need help with certain household duties they can turn to the agent for support. These duties could be anything from help with travel plans or restaurant bookings through to gardening and domestic cleaning.
With approved suppliers on their books, agents can connect tenants to the expert partner and receive a commission from the partner on each referral.
The theory certainly makes sense but the practical delivery can be difficult to manage for lettings agents as it opens up another communication flow that needs to be managed and may seem like too much hassle for the returns.
However, with an instant messaging platform like Tappter at the heart of your business, this hassle-factor is removed as you can easily connect tenants and approved partners via chat and then they can continue their relationship on the same platform via a new channel.
Everyone connected in an instant. Tenant and partner happy. Revenue added to the bottom line for the agent.
Document sharing and signing
Through the professional instant messaging platform, users have a secure way to share and sign important documents digitally. All parties can see as soon as a document is ready to review and notifications provide timely reminders for users to take key actions.
Importantly, everyone can see exactly when messages and documents have been seen and signed. So no more concerns about whether documents have been delivered and clear accountability about who might be slowing a process down or failing to deliver what they promised.
As part of onboarding users onto the platform, Tappter offers simple ID verification via mobile phone - using facial recognition technology to ensure app users are providing genuine details, verified by government-issued ID.
There is no need for manual checking of hard copy documents, the tenants have the convenience of completing the process via an app on their smartphone and all parties know when the checks are complete.
Helping people and businesses thrive
By using instant messaging to remove the communications burden from lettings agency teams, you can really give your people a chance to shine.
Instant messaging can bring agency teams and customers closer – with the ability to add a human touch to every communication.
Crucially, it provides a way for agents to not only meet client expectations, but to do it in a way that in which clients are comfortable communicating – becoming a pleasure to business with and proving value as a modern forward-thinking business.
And this is fundamental to long-term success.
The way something is delivered is just as important as what is being delivered.
If team members can use instant messaging to feel less daunted by the communication challenges of lettings agency life then they will be in a much better position to deliver confident and professional service.
If clients feel their agent is always by their side, they are more likely to turn to them in the future and trust them time after time.
The result? Better relationships and growing businesses.
An admirable and achievable aspiration for 2023 and beyond.
Book a demo with our team today to see how easy it is to make communication in your property business more convenient and compliant.