This week’s blog comes from Jonah, Reposit’s superstar intern, currently studying History at The University of Warwick. As so many of our agents have student lets in their portfolio, Jonah is here to share his insight into customer service as a tenant plus some tips for keeping landlords happy.
I have had plenty of experience with awful customer service, from lettings agents leaving the phones unmanned, to broken boilers left unfixed for months. As a prospective tenant, I can assure you that being treated like rubbish has led me to boycott agents before (shoutout to various student letting operations). Feefo has found that 70% of 25-to-34-year-olds said they rely on reviews before they decide on an estate agent, meaning that the way you treat your current tenants counts for future business.
Improving telephone customer service - keep it REAL
This one is important both for winning new landlords over and getting quality tenants into your agency to rent from them. At Reposit, we call a lot of letting agent offices and we’re surprised by the number who have a dial tone system which doesn’t work properly or don’t answer their office line. Who doesn’t know the frustration of not being able to get through to speak to a real person?
With the influx of new online agents, high-street agents have the chance to bring a personal touch to business you can’t always get with online brands. Improve customer service by having a member of staff dedicated to answering calls at all times, extend the phone hours to make it easier for people to get in touch and record a voicemail message to let any missed callers tell you how to reach them.
Perfect your website and get involved with new technology
The rise of online agents has tempted me and many of my friends to move away from their bricks-and-mortar counterparts. PurpleBricks and others like them have made an impact on the market partly by being instantly accessible through the website. Consumers expect even established businesses to engage with cutting-edge technology, and 4 in 5 tenants believe that tech will transform the industry. Straight away, you should invest in a modern, up to date website. Then, look to other areas where tech can improve your service.You should be integrating the work of extremely popular new startups, like ValPal and Reposit, into your platforms. Offering ValPal’s instant messaging service and exceptionally useful online hosted valuation estimator are great ways to impress customers looking to rent our property too. Another example of going above and beyond is virtual showings through tech services like Periscope and Smart Viewing. Agents that offer these sorts of features instantly signal to me that they invest in modernising their service because they care about their customers.
If it ain’t broke...oh wait, it probably is!
Here in the Reposit office we’ve traded stories about our nightmare rental repairs! From full fridges left broken for weeks to mouldy showers and leaky taps, we’ve felt the pain of maintenance being ignored. Don’t just take my word for it, research has found that tenants’ top desire is landlords responding quickly to issues (an overwhelming 69% said so). Plus, if it’s left to get worse, your landlord is going to feel it in their wallet and that’s even worse! That’s why I love solutions like Fixflo, they provide a platform that allows tenants to quickly report repairs, and landlords to easily manage them, whilst clearly laying out what each of us is responsible for. If only there was a similar solution for lazy housemates.
Think like a tenant, walk in our shoes
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve tried to resolve issues, only to have to search for half an hour to find the right number, or spend a whole afternoon being passed between two branches of the same company. Your customer service system should be designed specifically for ease of use. We’re a firm believer in one-to-one relationships with our customers and top agents have confirmed the value of this in our recent Lettings Market Whitepaper. Go even further and test out your service by ‘mystery shopping’, exploring your call services by asking friends and family to test out your phone-lines and message your web systems. The best way to know whether your customer services processes is working is by going through it yourself!
Keep tenants happy (even the students) by offering more
Us tenants love a savvy deal, or a bit of help with house admin. Including partnerships with local shops and restaurants, or instituting systems like Fixflo mentioned earlier, will really catch our eye.
Or better yet, sign us up through Reposit. By freeing up our deposits and giving us the chance to save or spend the extra cash, you can guarantee to have grateful and happy tenants. Not only that, but we will want to get that deal quickly, which will make your landlords happy when their property gets snapped up right away.