Put simply the main steps of a customer journey are identification, qualification, negotiation & close. Buyers go from looking at property, narrowing the search to ones they’re interested in, to negotiating a price, to closing the deal. As we all know it’s a long process with many stakeholders involved.
The HSBC Beyond The Bricks report found that the identification and qualification phases of this journey have long been digitised. 89% of people search for property online, 86% research prices online, and 79% research where to live online. The report also found that a digital drop-off occurs when buyers meet the agent, with 41% of that interaction taking place completely / mostly online.
Extrapolating from these figures, Charlie Nunn, Chief Executive at HSBC went on to say “The process of buying a home will change beyond recognition in the coming years. It will be a more streamlined transaction, with buyers and sellers having greater control and relying much more on technology.”
As an industry, we saw the reality of this begin to bite in March 2020. With offices closed, viewings restricted and teams working from home and spread out all over, for once, the desire to embrace digital technology was matched by the need to change.
The Online Marketplaces Group Coronavirus Impact Survey of April 2020, found that 69.8% of respondents believe the industry is permanently changed. The main outcomes of that view highlighted in the survey being:
- More viewings online
- Transactions completely online
- Property buying process more efficient
- Online payments
- More remote working
- More professional industry
- Less agents/brokers – more centralized industry
Particularly interesting was the fact that86% of respondents stated that sales tasks are now being done slightly or significantly more remotely. In short, change was no longer around the corner, it was here.
But, I hear you ask, there are a huge amount of technologies out there? What solutions apply at what stage of the customer journey?
Looking back at the agent first contact finding of the “Beyond the Bricks” report, one can see that marketplaces as lead generators help users identify property, virtual viewings help with qualification. Online bidding is the natural next step in the customer journey.
Furthermore, digitising the customer journey doesn’t mean you lose the human connection. Quite the opposite in fact. One of the key integration challenges associated with digital property transactions is that of legacy systems. And by that, I mean people, not products.
The property sales process is highly complex, and people are even more complex. Well-designed new technology must align itself with existing business practices; not the other way around. Property technology is to agents, what tractors were to farmers. Automating repeatable, predictable jobs and empowering staff to concentrate on high-value tasks.
Beagel data actually shows consistently higher levels of bids with minimal disruption to agents work practices. Online transactions keep buyers, sellers and agents digitally engaged throughout the transaction – in real-time. Instant data like that from Beagel offers unprecedented clarity on the live market all while connecting remote teams, instantaneously.
And here’s the pay off for portals. A longer digital engagement means more opportunity for cross monetisation. A buyer may not really be interested in insurance for example when researching, but they certainly will be when they need to close.
We’ve seen that the way businesses have to operate can change in a heartbeat. Digital technology like Beagel ensures that clients’ working processes are unaffected by unforeseen “black swan” events. Technology helps users to manage constraints and risks, all whist increasing margins with agency-branded, core property transaction infrastructure.
According to Mike DelPrete (Millions More Buyers) “To grow, portals still need to provide new, value-added services to customers, and not simply raise prices.”
Thousands of homebuyers trust Beagel’s software to make bids and buy property online. Find out how your organisation can open new revenue streams, increase margins and deepen client relationships with world-class digital transaction technology by going to beagel.io.