#ExpertView: Why Letting Agents Should Automate the Mundane to Focus on the Marvellous

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In this week’s #ExpertView, Kristjan Byfield from The Depositary discusses the importance of automating the mundane tenancy tasks so letting agents can free up time for delivering an extraordinary service.

Delivering those ‘wow’ moments in private rentals, not just in a single element of customer service but throughout an exemplary customer experience (or journey), requires a personal touch. Delivering these truly personal touches takes time, consideration and (often) planning. However, there is no obvious tangible return on this activity and so, all too often, the perfunctory and the mundane elements of delivering the key elements of your lettings service take precedent above and beyond the marvellous.

‘So what?!’ I hear some of you agents say. ‘We are paid to do a job and, ultimately, that is what we do time and time again- take a transaction from A to Z!’. The trouble is, when you do this, that is all it is – a transaction. It is usually no better or worse than a tenant’s or landlord’s last experience…but they chose you this time because the last agent they used delivered a result but little else. When you can’t differentiate your results and customer journey from the vast majority of other operations, you lose a narrative, a reason – and a relationship.

Delivering a marvellous customer journey (and to be clear- in my eyes, everyone who interacts with your business is a customer – even if they don’t know it yet) isn’t about a bottle of wine delivered with the keys, or a branded bicycle cover or anything tangible (although these things are fine) – it’s how you make them FEEL. When a customer feels special and unique you create an advocate of your business with huge benefits…

  • Free promotion – at every dinner party, office water-cooler moment (when they return), natter with the in-laws, etc., when someone moans about how horrendous their experience has been with their rental property or how average/awful their agent is, the customers you’ve impressed (your promoters) will advocate for you, without question and (most importantly for you) without cost or commission.
  • Loyalty & Retention – if you position yourself as the font of all property knowledge, you will be that person’s ‘go-to expert’. Not only does this present an array of other revenue opportunities but also ensures you are that 1 in 8 agents that gets instructed to re-sell the property you sold to them, or that agent that still has its landlord client 10-15 years later.
  • Real value – a feeling is not a tangible thing. You can quantify things in an agency – we sell/let for X% of market value, we sell/let in X weeks – but so what. People expect agents to do this stuff so how does that justify your real value? Give them an amazing experience and you can charge 2-3% for sales, you can charge 15-17% to let & manage (and I’m not including VAT in those fees), and you don’t have to fight to justify them!

It comes down to this: The only way any business can viably deliver this level of service and still be a viable business is to understand, incrementally, every part and element of every process. How you facilitate this and where a human adds value to that process/experience is critical. When you truly understand this, you can set about automating and/or outsourcing the mundane, freeing up your staff throughout the business to focus on delivering the marvellous.

The Depositary automates around 80% of the work involved with concluding a tenancy. This frees up hundreds, if not thousands, of hours within your business to be marvellous! 1 in 3 transactions on our platform takes the agent less than 10 minutes work – for a process that averages 3-4 hours! How many ‘wows’ would that free your staff up to deliver?

If there is any process in your business that you haven’t looked at recently – it’s time to! The ‘we’ve always done it that way’ or ‘that’s just the way it’s done’ has never been a good excuse and, in the age of digital innovation, evolution and customer experience should, quite frankly, be statements that are outlawed!

So, what are you waiting for? Automate the mundane today so tomorrow your customers can scream ‘MARVELLOUS!’

The Depositary is now integrated with TDS Custodial, having already integrated with TDS Insured, to give agents an optimised service-offering regardless of which TDS deposit solution they use. Want to chat to The Depositary and TDS about how to streamline your deposit protection too? Book a call today to find out more about the key features of TDS Custodial.

About the Author

Kristjan Byfield

Kristjan Byfield, Mission Commander at The Depositary

Kristjan has been a tenant in London since 1998, living at 9 different properties – and counting. After a brief stint as a professional actor, he became an estate & letting agent in 2003. In 2004, together with An Deckers, they decided to launch their own agency – determined to build a service that placed both Landlords and Tenants on equal footing at its core. He is passionate about the amazing hard work that great letting agents across the UK do every day, frustrated by the way they are perceived and referred to in the press and determined to establish their value in the eyes of tenants and landlords alike. He is driven to help develop a rental sector that works for all and is probably best described as the Viking of Proptech!

About TDS

Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) is the only not-for-profit, Government-approved scheme for the protection of tenancy deposits. TDS provides impartial adjudication for any disputes that may arise over the tenancy deposits that we protect.

Join TDS CustodialWhere TDS hold the deposit for the duration of the tenancy. Agents, you can protect your deposits for FREE today here.

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TDS can only comment on the process for our scheme, other deposit protection schemes may have a different process/require different steps. Content is correct at the time of writing.

These views are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the view of TDS, its officers and employees.

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