Understanding Customer Experience to Qualify Leads
CX has always been important, but it has gained more momentum in popularity and significance in the digital age across all industries, and real estate is no different. Technology has allowed consumers to become knowledgeable in their own right when it comes to their interests, and they’re more empowered than ever before to decide for themselves which brands or agencies they like and those they definitely don’t.
It’s no surprise then that the customer experience has more far-reaching implications than just pushing products at customers, business as usual. Prospects want to engage in dialogue, voice issues they have with a product or service, and be part of the process much earlier in the customer journey than ever before.
So how do agents work CX to their advantage to convert more visitors into leads?
What really matters to your customers?
We know that an ultra-modern, working website does wonders establishing who the agent is: it boosts their credibility, establishes them as a knowledgeable authority, encourages best practices and client conversation, as well as reinforces SEO performances. The star digital agent uses all of these tools to enhance customer experience - the greater the experience a client has, the more likely they are to become quality, long-term leads, stay with a brand for the long haul and recommend them to friends and family.
According to a 2018 PwC report, it’s more important for professionals to get the ‘must-haves’ right than trying to apply all the bells and whistles. Nearly 80% of American consumers said that speed, convenience, knowledgeable help and friendly service are the most important elements of positive CX. They were 40-60% more willing to pay extra for these elements. Which aspects proved less important to them? Loyalty programs, atmosphere, and charitability.
It doesn’t mean these don’t add to an overall great CX, because they do, but it’s clear that getting the basics right and running smoothly goes a long way in terms of winning over repeat visitors. 59% of consumers said they feel companies have lost the human touch when it comes to CX, feeling that brands don’t truly understand their needs. It’s also important to know that increased competition from new market entrants means agents have to work even harder to articulate what they bring to the table, and CX is a crucial part of that.
A smart approach to technology
What’s clear is that agents should implement and adopt new technologies to truly add to CX and not just have them for the sake of trying to seem avant garde. Technology is an enabler, not a solver of experience issues, so here are some ways that that can be tied together:
- Communication channels need to be open, all the time - Thanks to tech, there are abundant ways today for brands and consumers to get to know each other, but digital agents should be able to anticipate the spoken (and perhaps unspoken) needs of potential leads - writing well-worded emails, being available on social media and phone via different platforms, responding back ASAP etc. Customers want their every concern addressed within a short amount of time.
- Relationship Building - Trust is pivotal, but trust takes time, and agents who are able to demonstrate their sincerity as a trusted advisor and resource will have client relationships that truly last years. It’s why great agents allocate time and effort getting to know their client’s likes and dislikes, hobbies and background - not just the type of house they’re looking for.
- Feedback - This is an aspect of business that many brands don’t pay close enough attention to, which is a shame, because while 80% of companies think they have terrific CX, only 8% of customers actually felt their experience was ‘superior’. That is one alarming statistic. However, agents who open up even a temporary forum or feedback system can get far ahead of the competition by letting their leads tell them what is working, and what isn’t - giving agents much needed information to give their system a makeover where necessary. This, in turn, provides a smoother CX for upcoming prospects too.
- Monitor social media, ROI and CRM activity - this is a great extra step in order to not only better assess ad spend and paid campaigns, but catch leads that fall through the cracks quickly.
- Optimize content - There are so many ways to do this: Make landing pages match the best interests of different types of lead profiles, promote best-performing pieces early in the week, schedule ad spend and placement to achieve further reach, add QR codes to property listings so visitors can have access to further information within seconds etc.
Good CX requires agents to be intuitive, proactive, insightful and, (importantly in a digital world), available. They should be sensitive and responsive to consumer needs, highlighting the areas prospects have said they feel they are benefiting from, and making sure every business decision is amplifying, not diminishing, the overall customer experience.