Buying a house or selling your home is a big deal. It’s big money and it’s emotionally charged. With the moving process being one of the most important and stressful experiences in ones life, the last thing consumers want to worry about is whether or not the people they’re entrusting to handle this momentous event, are going to steal their chocolate bar.
In order to ensure customer confidence, estate agents must become committed to transparency and use it as a means to build consumer trust. For estate agents, being transparent means being easy to contact on consumer channels of choice (more on this later), providing clear information on key areas such as pricing and being engaged with customers openly.
Unfortunately, estate agents aren’t quite managing to tick this box in the mind of the public. According to a recent YouGov poll, estate agents are distrusted by 79% of the UK population. It’s therefore essential that estate agent transparency improves in order to build trust and remain competitive.
Technology forces Transparency
The estate agent sector has faced a long a continued disruption at the hands of technology. From the demand for a web presence, to the portals, to online estate agents and more recently crowdfunding, the estate agent sector now includes a plethora of players, each competing with various offerings for the home buyer and seller.
In the macro sense, technology has presented every business with the same challenge – information. Consumers are able and expect to be able to access information. Estate agents that continue to remain opaque are failing to recognise the value of transparency in building trust. Consumers want and expect to get the information they want. Read that carefully now, the information they want. It seems that there is still some way to go with estate agent transparency on some fundamental information. The Property Ombudsman reports that last year, 11% of issues related to fees and charges. Pricing is just one example of the kind of information that must be transparent if you’re looking to build consumer trust.
Right Channels, Right Time
So what’s the solution? Well, before you throw your phone out of the window and open a Twitter account, it’s worth noting that existing channels are still very valuable.
Phone and email are still very important, but at the appropriate time. To promote transparency, estate agents must assess what information consumers may want access to before they’re ready to get on the phone. If estate agents are to become more transparent, being open and accessible before you know the customers name is a must.
To improve transparency, estate agents must look at ways they can make themselves available and engaged on a number of channels, being transparent with key consumer information and providing it on the consumers channels of choice.