Increase Buyer Confidence
Buying a new home is a considerable investment and one which will likely prompt lengthy discussions: Was it the right decision? Is it too expensive? Too big? Too small? Too far away?
Worst case scenario, these questions lead to buyer remorse and possibly cancellation of the reservation. Best case scenario, they hinder the excitement that should drive homebuying.
PropTechhelps counter this uncertainty by easing buyers’ concerns and shifting focus to the enjoyable elements of buying a new home. The professionalism and commitment to customer service that is enhanced by developers providing buyers with access to virtual reality tours, targeted communication and a tailored portal justifies buyers’ confidence in the developer. Similarly, online portals allow buyers to search amenities and statistics in their local area, enabling them to familiarise themselves with their new surroundings, helping to alleviate any apprehension about moving to a new area.
Finally, the use of virtual reality to place buyers within a show home, especially if their home is incomplete, encourages buyers to look at the bigger picture, beyond an unfinished canvas.
Self-Serving Home Owners
Developers often cite unnecessary phone calls to customer care teams and invalid emergency call-outs as a major driving force in revising their handover solution. The goal is simple: clarify what constitutes a defect and emergency, and direct homeowners to the correct person to deal with any issues they are unable to solve themselves.
PropTechhelps achieve both elements of this goal. Completion Manuals that can be accessed through the online portal clearly separate defects and emergencies, and who should be contacted in each instance. The portal itself, meanwhile, can provide direct dials to the appropriate contacts, thereby encouraging the homeowner to first consider whether the issue is something they are able to resolve, using the information provided in their manual and on the portal, before phoning the most suitable contact, rather than directing every query to the same person.
Going one step further, online portals may incorporate a defect reporting system, whereby the homeowner can fill out the details of their issue and send a notification to the appropriate contact. This can then be dealt with at the aftercare team’s discretion, depending on how urgent the issue is.
It is anticipated that in the near future, online portals will also streamline the reservation process, through the embedding of similar digital forms.
While the aforementioned functions of PropTechdirect the homeowner to the most appropriate contact, other features of PropTech-driven handover solutions remove the need to contact aftercare teams, managing agents and warranty providers entirely. Perhaps the most obvious example of this concerns specifications. If, for example, a homeowner drops a saucepan and chips a tile in the kitchen, they can simply log on to their online portal and search by room to find the supplier and finish of the tile in question. The bespoke nature of online portals ensures that each homeowner on a development has access to the information specific to theirhome, no matter how different their neighbour’s tiles may be, saving aftercare teams hours of trawling through lengthy spreadsheets to determine the colour of Mr and Mrs Johnson’s cloakroom vanity unit.
The ‘when’, ‘what’ and ‘how’ of communication is a tricky topic when it comes to customers. Too often and it is dismissed as spam. Too infrequent and opportunities are missed. By post and it may get eaten by the dog. Communication with customers is a careful balancing act and PropTechcan help developers find the hallowed middle ground between nuisance and notable by absence.
According to research in 2016 by Ving, email is the preferred method of commercial communication by 74% of all online adults, while 55% of mobile email users upgraded to a new phone for the sole purpose of sending and receiving emails. Considering these statistics alongside the suggestion that 59% of people check their emails from the bathroom and it is apparent that consumers prefer quick, digital and mobile forms of communication.
PropTechcan assist email strategies by sending automated emails at various stages of the homebuying process, as well as offering the ability to send targeted messages to individual plots, an entire development or across multiple developments. Automated emails can be designed to provide general information that is useful to new homeowners at predetermined intervals, issuing important reminders, such as registering appliances, or useful advice and tips, such as decoration suggestions. When this communication covers lifestyle topics, such as ways to get involved in the community, it helps to create a personable brand experience that contributes to a positive and long-term buyer-developer relationship.
Branded communication at a considered frequency reflects customer care that goes beyond the sale, without being overbearing. These emails may include links to an online portal, where more detailed information can be found. Similarly, targeted communication using notifications on an online portal allows important messages and news items to be quickly directed to those affected, as well as marketing materials to be sent to the appropriate demographics. The focused nature of this communication increases the chances of click-throughs and engagement, as they are likely to carry relevance to the recipient, rather than the comparatively scattergun approach of mass emails, while strengthening the consumer’s relationship and loyalty to the developer. If the online portals and automated emails are amalgamated with an iPad or tablet handover solution, the accessibility of the communication is taken to the next level.
Unlike brochures and manuals that may gather dust until a problem arises, PropTechencourages repeat usage from reservation through to completion and beyond. This is accomplished by promoting the interactivity of technological handover solutions in a way that organically becomes integrated in homeowners’ lifestyles, bolstering brand loyalty and streamlining aftercare processes.
Perhaps the driving factor in the longevity of PropTechis its future-proof nature. Unlike print solutions, digital products, such as online portals, can be updated as required, ensuring information is kept up-to-date. This helps homeowners resolve issues that may arise down the line, without needing to contact the developer, while also keeping information that may be required for future sales in one place. From the developer’s perspective, information is easy to monitor and regulate.