Updated: Nov 16, 2020
Last week, we explained why Active Agent is best understood not as a CRM system, but as a Customer Experience Management (CXM) system. But even though we provided some decisive stats to demonstrate how valuable that extra focus on Customer Experience (CX) can be, we thought it was important to explain exactly how and why this stuff really works.
So in this week’s article, we’re going to explore exactly what CX means in Estate and Letting.
We’re going to look at three essential elements of CX most agencies are lagging behind in, and how Active Agent’s CXM system can help you take advantage of that fact.
But first, let’s make sure we understand what CX really is and how it impacts behaviour.
The anatomy of CX
Customer Experience is not a difficult concept: it is literally the accumulation of everything a client or customer experiences throughout all their dealings with your agency. That’s everything from the tone of voice you use on the phone with them and the kind of sales approach you take to the subconscious effects of your branding, listings, emails and website.
A focus on CX therefore means looking at the entire journey a customer goes through, and trying to make it as easy, efficient and pleasurable as possible.
There are two basic reasons businesses don’t focus on CX: they (usually mistakenly) believe they already provide exceptional experiences to their customers; or they don’t understand how CX can possibly translate into a meaningful improvement in their bottom line.
Well, according to Bain & Company, companies with a CX mindset really do drive revenue 4-8% higher than the rest of their industries.
But how does it translate into real business results?
How CX impacts behaviour
The best way to understand how CX impacts behaviour is by looking at your own buying habits.
What products do you buy and why do you buy them? Can you explain exactly why you choose one brand over another?
In some cases, possibly. But if you’re like most people, the answer is probably not.
You can’t articulate a rational reason for a preference towards Innocent over Tropicana, or Samsung over Sony - they just seem obviously superior.
The average human makes 35,000 decisions each day, and it would be completely impractical for you to have to make every one of them using careful deliberation. So for the majority of decisions, the brain allows assumptions, ‘gut feelings’ and instinct to sit in the driver’s seat.
Of course, some aspects of CX are processed consciously, and their impact will be felt consciously. But that’s really just the 5% of the iceberg you can see – the rest is hiding under the ocean, quietly guiding your customers to prefer you over your competitors.
To explain this in more concrete detail, let’s consider some specific aspects of CX .
Three key elements of CX in Estates and Letting
1. Speed and Convenience
Nobody likes waiting around, and nobody likes unnecessary difficulty. But there’s a huge difference between service which is not slow and service which is actively convenient and speedy.
Few customers will notice that you don’t provide interactive digital proposals which are easier to get signed and far more convenient. But they also won’t have any reason to prefer you over your competitors, who also don’t provide them.
Simple things – like automated responses which are sent out immediately – can make the life of a customer a lot easier. And because so many agencies lag behind in this way, making the journey actively fast and convenient will quickly ensure your agency stands out when potential customers are making a decision about which agency to go with.
It isn’t just that the experience is smoother and more pleasant though – it makes customers believe that the entire process will be this easy, that your agency really cares about its customers.
2. Attention and Care
Customers need to feel they have an agency’s attention and care: not because they’re needy, but because it signals that the agency will go out of its way to ensure the customers’ outcome is preferable.
The goal is to demonstrate to customers that they’re valued– by seeming to go out of your way to offer them useful content, for example. This massively increases long-term loyalty, which is difficult to quantify with any real accuracy - but it’s safe to say it’s extremely valuable.
It also creates another clear distinction between your agency and others which treat leads poorly and don’t seem at all invested in helping them get the right deal for them.
3. Authority and Branding
In the property sector, we are dealing with big life decisions. And that means customers need to feel extremely confident that they are in safe, competent hands.
Trust and confidence can be created in all sorts of ways – positive reviews, conversations, emails, web copy. But interestingly enough, many factors which don’t obviously relate to your industry expertise also shape customers’ impression of your competence.
Customers subconsciously make a connection between things like branding – the aesthetics of your website, the interior of your buildings – and your actual trustworthiness. Which means improving these aspects of your customers’ experience will actually make you appear more trustworthy – and therefore increase your chances of landing a deal.
Conclusion | Customer Experience provides real returns
The reality is, as an industry we often lag behind in terms of CX. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
At Active Agent, we practise what we preach: we’re not only dedicated to providing everything you need to ensure every customer has a genuinely excellent experience - we’re dedicated to giving you them, too.
If you’d like to test us on it, click here to book your free demo today.