There’s no denying that technology has had a huge impact on the property industry. From online listings to search engines, agents have more tools than ever at their disposal. However, while technology can support and enhance the human experience, it can never replace it. In this blog post, we’ll explore why the human experience is still irreplaceable in the property industry.
It’s a people process
The property industry is all about people. It’s about relationships, connections, and interactions. At its heart, it’s a people business. And that’s why the human experience will always be irreplaceable.
Property isn’t just bricks and mortar. It’s a client’s most valuable asset – a home. It’s not hyperbole to say meeting an agent could indeed be part of a life-changing experience, and the journey is best navigated with the help of an experienced professional. This can’t be disputed.
In a discussion within The Negotiator on the rise of online agents, we spotted this comment – “In a toughening market, the public goes for certain outcomes…that will be the traditional agent.”
But traditional doesn’t mean the agent insists on carrying paper documents, refuses to be on social media or forgoes digital. The traditional agent we think is being referred to gives a quality service without the riskier allure of low or no fees. A traditional agent can be traditional. In short, they’ll make the experience as stress-free and enjoyable as possible. And that’s something that technology can never replace – but ideally, they will do this while having a future-proof mindset. More on this later.
There’s only so far technology can take you
A report by JLL predicted that AI will replace up to 30% of jobs in the sector by 2030. It’s stark news and a state of affairs that is unlikely to be halted until it’s too late. Many of the positions in society we have will soon be replaced by technology, and that isn’t very comforting.
It’s been suggested that sales tasks will be the first to be replaced, with robots taking on tasks such as lead generation and market analysis. Customer service tasks will also be automated, with chatbots and virtual assistants becoming increasingly common.
But there are certain tasks that technology will never be able to replace, especially in property. The human experience is still needed for the more complex aspects of the job, such as viewings, negotiations, and closing deals.
For example, an AI tool might generate a list of properties that match a buyer’s criteria. But it can’t show them around the property, answer their questions,
An AI chatbot might help a buyer find their perfect property. But it can’t provide the same support, advice, and guidance as a human can.
Tech should be supporting your agency, not defining it
The future is coming, and giants are leading it. Companies like Amazon, Uber, and Airbnb are built on an entirely new kind of customer experience, and this has raised the stakes for every business in the world. These businesses stand out for their ability to simplify the purchasing experience, communicate directly with consumers with digital tools, and use data to improve operations. Uber was rated the number two company in the US for customer experience in 2019, while Amazon was number one.
The takeaway is that customers now expect a seamless, digital-first experience in all areas of their lives.
While many of us appreciate the traditional values of customer service, some would rather deal with a machine. The agency of the future has to extract the best benefits of technology and make them work with their agents.
Smart agents use tech to their advantage
The best agents view technology as a way to elevate their level of customer service and support and enhance their traditional, superior experience, making it even better. They use it to streamline their processes, be more efficient, and get an edge over their competitors.
We see heritage and challenger brands use Acaboom to create their own experiences through the market appraisal journey. Have some been wary of technology? Of course. Then they meet us and learn how technology isn’t the star of the show. You are. Your valuers are. Your brand heritage still matters. Your ethos and how you present, talk, and engage is still the job.
Technology is just the sidekick.
Some of the ways agents use Acaboom include:
- Introducing their valuer using technology such as presentations, videos and through trackable emails. When sometimes this has been a very plain experience, technology elevates the overall look.
- Having everything the client would be interested in knowing to hand on a digital presentation that can be shared without data or internet
- Having the ability to call at the perfect time, anticipating their needs
- Nurturing and following up when it’s good for the client – not just good for the agent.
While technology can help enhance the whole experience, the human element will make or break the deal. While technology can certainly help estate agents go even further in providing a fantastic experience, it’s important to remember that it can never replace the human experience. And that’s why the industry will always need humans.