Historically, UK real estate relied on need – a person in your town needed to move - they needed your expertise and knowledge. Their experience would be the same everywhere, and other than the type of gift you gave them when they moved in, there was very little individual attention to detail or change in the journey they went on with you.
With the ever-growing competitive nature of the market, crafting exceptional customer journeys is no longer a mere option – it's imperative for success.
The modern estate agent's toolkit must extend beyond property knowledge and negotiation skills. By designing and executing tailored customer journeys for distinct client types – vendors, landlords, buyers, and tenants – agents can create a competitive edge that sets them apart in an evolving market.
We understand that this can be difficult to do, so here are some tips to get started.
1. Unveiling Client Personas:
While this may seem like common sense, before delving into the intricate world of customer journeys, it is imperative to know and understand each client type. You will know the below like the back of your hand:
- Vendors: Vendors, driven by various motives, seek not only a lucrative deal but also an emotionally satisfactory transaction. They yearn for a smooth process that acknowledges the sentimental value their property holds.
- Landlords: For landlords, a seamless management process, reliable tenants, and optimal returns are paramount. They crave a hassle-free experience that optimizes their property investment.
- Buyers: Buyers, the quintessential dream hunters, require personalized attention that aligns with their preferences, budget, and lifestyle aspirations. They desire an agent who is a confidante in this significant life decision.
- Tenants: Tenants, seeking temporary homes, value transparency, responsive communication, and an effortless renting experience. Their primary concern revolves around securing a comfortable living space and are often under the pressures of time.
These are the common customer types you work with but as you continue in this process, you will find more customer types to build journeys around. For example, a first-time buyer might need more education and guidance, while a seasoned landlord may seek advanced investment insights.
2. Empathy Mapping:
Anticipate the needs of your clients at various stages of their journey.
Begin by creating detailed client personas for each client type (vendors, landlords, buyers, tenants) and the various types of clients within those basic headlines. Understand their demographics, motivations, pain points, goals, and preferred communication channels. This foundational step ensures you're crafting journeys that resonate with their unique needs.
Put yourself in your clients' shoes and map out their journey from their perspective. Identify touchpoints where they interact with your agency, whether online, over the phone, or in person. A phygital experience is necessary as your potential clients want an answer to their questions on their time and in their own way.
Create educational, entertaining and engaging content such as blog posts, videos, or webinars that provide valuable insights related to the real estate market, buying/selling process, or property management. Sharing knowledge positions you as a trusted expert.
Identify when they might start to worry or wonder and proactively put a touchpoint in place to help them with this fear. This exercise helps you identify pain points and opportunities for improvement.
3. Journey Mapping:
Create visual journey maps that outline the steps clients take throughout their interactions with you. Start with what people find when they search for you or for estate agents (pre-interaction) or what they see of your brand before they work with you.
Then list out what happens when they actually find you (interaction) – your website, your content, your phone etiquette. Take this all the way through from their first call with you to the completion of the property.
Finally, customer loyalty is the best way to grow and maintain your business so make sure to include their experience you’re your business is done (post-interaction). This helps you identify potential bottlenecks and moments of delight or frustration.
Another tip: Ensure your plan for client communication is clear, transparent, and timely. Whether it's sending property updates, responding to inquiries, or providing market insights, consistent and informative communication builds trust.
4. Continual improvement
Customer journeys are not static; they should evolve based on feedback, market trends, and technology advancements. Continuously analyse data and adjust your journeys to enhance their effectiveness.
- Evaluate each touchpoint to determine its effectiveness in meeting client needs and expectations. Consider how you can enhance these touchpoints to provide value, address concerns, and reinforce your brand image.
- Regularly seek feedback from clients about their experiences. This not only demonstrates your commitment to improvement but also helps you identify areas where your customer journeys can be refined.
- Ensure a consistent experience across all channels – website, social media, email, and in-person interactions. This consistency reinforces your brand identity and enhances client trust.
- Involve your team in the process. Teach them the journeys, what they involve and why. Encourage open discussions to gather insights from different perspectives within your agency. Collaboration ensures a holistic view of the customer journey.
Building customer journeys is a strategic endeavour that requires a deep understanding of client needs, a commitment to delivering exceptional experiences, and the willingness to adapt and improve over time. By following these tips, estate agents can lay the foundation for creating journeys that delight clients, build loyalty, and set them apart in the competitive world of UK real estate.