Leadership Spotlight Series – Digitisation of Real Estate with Yopa
In recent years, the estate agency industry has changed drastically with the shift from offline to online home transactions. More than 70% of potential home buyers search online and it is obvious that online real estate agencies are becoming the new normal.
Unlike traditional brick and mortar real estate agencies, online estate agencies use their online presence to attract customers to search for new homes and book house tours. Their attraction to buyers is undeniable given their convenience (“search for your perfect home with a click of a mouse”) and their affordability (lower transaction fees). Compared to their offline competitors, they typically also offer a wider variety of homes.
Talking to Alastair (product director at Yopa – one of the leading online estate agencies in the UK), we have collected some important insights into this particular industry. Yopa sets itself apart from its competition with a full-service offering and an innovative online platform. For instance, it uses advanced digital tools such as a live customer chat to increase the customer experience. This becomes increasingly relevant as today’s customer segments are younger and more inclined to communicate with customer service teams via digital channels. The availability of customer service at Yopa has increased its credibility as well as customer satisfaction. Overall, these digitization efforts have proven to be a strong enabler for growth at Yopa. It has been able to outperform its competitors in terms of homes listed and sold (i.e. over 10’000 homes sold over the last 12 months).
However, digital platforms come with distinct challenges. With an increase in digitisation, people become increasingly demanding in terms of customer service, immediacy and transparency. This is particularly difficult for online estate agencies as buying a house is “as personal as it gets” and customer inquiries are unique and individual. Customers are often not aware that it goes way beyond just matching vendors and buyers. Hence, online estate agencies need to maintain a balance of serving people and improving processes.
A common challenge that we not only recognize at Yopa but also at other similar companies is the increasing demand for responsive and individualized customer service. e-bot7 helps organisations to move away from the traditional customer service to an omnichannel approach.
Our AI-based chatbots can enhance query processes through proactive and continuous learning as well as a 24-7 service. By analysing incoming messages and if necessary, forwarding them to the right department, we also help teams to serve customers better and faster. In addition, the platform can provide AI-based response suggestions which support both the existing and new service staff. In turn, this can not only increase customer satisfaction but also drive the company’s efficiency.