The Meeting of Property and Technology

Traditional Customer Care

As the customer facing element of a company, there is significant pressure on customer care teams to answer queries, assist with processes and deal with complaints, while upholding the company’s values.  This can cause customer care teams a number of issues that could easily be rectified with the introduction of technology, such as:

Time spent logging complaints manually

Time spent answering questions that can be easily dealt with by the homeowner, or answering the same question for multiple homeowners

Complaints or queries being lost in translation or a chain of command

By embracing property technology, customer care teams can synchronise communications with homeowners and automate defect management, improving internal efficiency.

Consumer Expectations

As affordable lifestyle-altering products continue to become commonplace in the technology market, consumers become more demanding and expectant that all products will make their life easier or more fruitful.

The trends can be seen as indicative of consumers wanting everything in one location, a wide scope of content and the ability to use products on the go.  As these demands transcend luxury products and become increasingly key to everyday life, it is only natural that they manifest themselves in the home.

Increased Availability

Products such as Amazon Echo are widely advertised as an affordable system that can automate processes within the home via voice control.  While the voice controlled element of Amazon Echo may seem novel, it is the device’s compatibility with other apps and devices that suggests the product will quickly transition from conversation starter to a key component of the home; one that can control lighting, heating and audio visual systems.

Property developers have identified the power of home automation by incorporating smart home features within their designs, allowing the various electrical and heating systems to be controlled from commercially available products, such as the Amazon Echo, smartphones and tablets, or wall mounted touchscreens.  With features such as this becoming more commonplace in new builds, developers are challenged to embrace and promote new uses for technology in the building, selling and aftercare processes.

Case Study: Uber

While people used to book taxis hours in advance to ensure a lift home at the end of an evening, Uber allows members to book, track and pay for a journey from their phone in double-quick time.  On the surface, the difference between booking a taxi and an Uber ride seems minimal; however, the figures suggest this difference is enough to account for a major swing towards the
app-based system.  As of 2018, Uber were reportedto have 3.5 million users in London alone. With an estimated population in the capital of 8,825,001 (according to 2017 data from the Office for National Statistics), the number of Uber users represents a significant percentage.  This can perhaps be explained by the simplicity of the app, where users can view nearby drivers, check their rating, book the chosen vehicle, track the journey and even split the fare with other users, without needing to worry about carrying cash.  This again points towards a population that favours convenience and automation over tradition.

Case Study: Amazon Prime

According to research conducted for Retail Week in June 2017, a third of UK adults subscribe to Amazon Prime. In January 2018, Amazon offered 370 million products, consolidating its reputation as a one-stop shop and helping the online retailer soar in popularity by allowing members to browse a virtual shopping centre from the comfort of their home.  

As people became increasingly reliant on the service, as did the demand for instant gratification.  While Amazon still offers various delivery options, Amazon Prime allows subscribers unlimited one day delivery on millions of eligible items and unlimited same day delivery on certain items to select postcodes.

The subscriber rate of this service can be seen as a reflection of two types of consumer:

Consumers who leave shopping to the last minute

Consumers who demand rapid delivery

As these traits become more commonplace in consumers, it is up to businesses to find innovative new ways to serve these demands.