By Michael Bruce, CEO, Purple Bricks
With all of the technology that exists today are there really any barriers to communication? Smart phones, tablets, laptops and emails make us all accessible 24 hours a day. We can communicate with whom we want when we want. Doing business must be so much easier for customers. Or is it?
In this digital, fast paced world in which we live, you would think that selling or letting your home would be so easy. Much less stress, clear and instant communication and a transparency that gives you real peace of mind. Is that your experience of selling or letting your home? It is supposed to be one of the most stressful events that you will endure in your lifetime. Why, when so many other services have dramatically changed for the better, have estate agents not embraced the conveniences of the modern era?
One of the most important and fundamental starting points when selling or letting a property is clear and transparent lines of communication. So you would expect that if your business was all about communication that you would do everything you can to promote and facilitate communication between parties. Sadly this has not been the case, Estate Agents stifle lines of communication, create suspicion and tension between the parties and appear at best to blur the principles of openness and transparency. Why? Because they are paid commission on a sale. They must control the parties; keep them apart because they are frightened that a private deal that will cut them out. Remember they only get paid on exchange of contracts.
Communication is king and the more the better. With Purplebricks we have placed communication at the heart of the business. Being able to make contact all day every day, whatever the time is vitally important. We have property experts available to talk to customers at their convenience 24 hours a day, Over 57% of our contact from customers occurs outside estate agency office hours. Modern business must fit in with the changing needs and lifestyles of their customers. If you are a shift worker and finish at 10pm or work at night and sleep in the day, you should be able to arrange a valuation, book a viewing, make an offer, agree a sale or speak to someone about what is on your mind. You should know exactly what is going on.
I recently attended a meeting of estate agents and I was amazed how backward the thinking can be. One well-known and respected estate agent complained about how much access to communication and information we give to our customers. He said that customers just don’t have the intelligence to receive so much information and constant access to this detail would only result in them being more difficult, needy customers. How wrong can someone be?
We must break down barriers in modern business. We must make things simple and instantly available and we must be there to help customers when they need us most. The best brands are transparent, innovative and spend much of their time optimizing customer experience. Everyone says it is all about the customer but not everyone has achieved brand status in the minds of customers. Purplebricks is fast becoming a well recognised and respected brand because people, communication and a fanatical approach to delivery is our culture. We have started the process of breaking down barriers in an industry where the approach to communication is poor and our customers are finding a delightful new experience. Long will it continue.
Michael Bruce is the CEO of Purplebricks.com, the UK’s first 24 / 7 estate agency that combines the human face of the estate agency model with a unique, fully interactive and online platform.