An interesting article on Property Week focuses on commercial real estate and talks about the need to Embrace change or fall behind. Whether this is really about embracing change or, in my view, “always looking forward and continually evolving”, I don’t know But the message is just as important to the residential PRS industry.
I couldn’t be more aligned to the points raised in this article and I will consider them myself from the perspective of the PRS landlord or agent.
Firstly it is very true that other industries have tried and tested models of customer service that need to be adopted in our industry. The successful ones will be those that are truly able to differentiate their offer by demonstrating alignment to their customer needs.
We all have shops and services that we continually return to despite the cost. It will undoubtedly be those shops and services where we enjoy the experience.
Shops on the high street have themselves needed to find ways to differentiate from the online store by focusing on experience. A few years back we saw Waterstones bringing themselves back into profit by a focus on experience. And there are numerous articles to read like this one In Prospect Magazine about the High Street as a whole focusing on experiences.
So what does this have to do with Landlords and Agents? Well for me it all comes back to the point that it’s better to retain a customer than acquire one.
I often quote Co Living Spaces in Brighton as an example of differentiation in the HMO market. The team have been able to sustain top end market rents and high occupancy rates through offering a quality branded experience for their HMO occupants.
Personally I think this is heavily aligned to the customer experience. However there are many examples in the PRS world where technology is reducing friction from the viewing booking process to online reporting of issues, access to user manuals and billing. We should always look to our processes to find ways of reducing unnecessary frustrations, or friction.
I align the migration towards transparency to a leap of faith. It takes guts to transform your offer into a transparent one. However, I truly believe that with this switch comes a better informed customer that has a more tangible understanding of the value you bring. With tenant fees lost, agents still need to be profitable, it's just that the fees they receive now need to be more transparent.
With very few options other than an increase in the monthly management fees, agents need to be able to better demonstrate the significant value they bring. What better way of doing so by having transparent and efficient operations showing the:
Agents have the distinct advantage of scale. This scale should bring savings and it is important to be able to transparently demonstrate the full value that is received from an agent when they manage a property.
Well I wouldn’t be writing this article if I didn’t think there was a strong technology component. It’s no longer about embracing technology, that concept has passed. It’s now about living with technology. To truly be able to scale effectively you need technology as part of your core. It can:
And technology, does all this in real time day and night.
Embrace Change or Fall Behind was a great article to read and perfectly suited not just to the Commercial sector but to the PRS, both agents and landlords alike.
Konnexsion is a Property Management application designed from its core to bring the customer experience and operational efficiency to both letting agent and portfolio landlord. If you want to learn more then look through our website or take out one of our trial programmes. Have a question? We would happily discuss your operational challenges and goals.