NOTE: This post first appeared on the website Estate Agent UK Networking under the headline “Bridging the high street branch with the digital world”.
Using live chat to greet customers online any time of the day or night creates a superb customer experience and generates great qualified leads.
We all know that a key to successful business is in building solid relationships with your customers, yet when it comes to online many estate agents and letting agents are missing huge opportunities to engage with potential clients as and when they are expressing an interest.
When a customer walks into an estate agent branch they are never ignored and may even get a cup of tea. But online it is completely different. Many estate agents have no idea who is spending time on their websites, and aside from the occasional lead or email, the website is all too often a passive virtual shop window seen as a luxury rather than a necessity.
There is a bit of a war of words out there between the traditional high street estate agents and the newer online low fee operations. Disruption and dragging anyone out of their comfort zone is guaranteed to cause friction. But rather than point the finger of dumbing down blame and make accusations of poor service, traditional agents would be better advised to look at what digital offers and then embrace it.
First things first: Online is not the sole preserve of the online agencies. Digital actually puts the customer in control, and handled well can create opportunities for traditional agents to present their expertise to a far wider audience than can be reached via the branch or established marketing channels.
The customer is in control
The idea that you can dictate to customers how and when they can interact with you can only be self-defeating. Those businesses that prosper are those that successfully place the customer in control. And that means helping them when they need it, not just when the branch is open.
Using text-based live chat agents can directly engage with web visitors. As people browse through the website they are presented with an invitation to chat with an operator. If accepted the operator gathers requirements and those critical contact details.
But this is not a job for the branch or to be done off the side of the desk. People will be on your website any time of the day or night, and once they want to chat you have 20-30 seconds in which to respond. Any delay, or complete lack of response, creates a poor customer experience.
Yomdel recognises this challenge, and Yomdel Live Lead provides free fully staffed 24/7 live chat. That leaves your staff to focus on lead conversion. Recent statistics show that 61% of all live chat engagements carried out by Yomdel on estate and letting agent websites take place out of hours, with 9% actually coming after midnight.
Live chat is not for everyone, but we know that 20% of people actually like to use it. You wouldn’t ignore 1 in 5 people entering your branch, so why would you ignore them online? Not convinced? Well having professionally executed live chat will see you:
- Capture vendors and landlords
Many people will passively search around local estate agent websites. Through using live chat you can engage with them and start to develop a relationship early in their journey. This helps develop trust and gives an advantage when competing for those critical instructions.
- Great quality leads
No more dealing with leads that don’t perform. Each and every lead that comes from live chat is the result of a conversation between two people. The customer is left knowing that someone will definitely be in contact at a convenient time. The ice is broken, now the agent can focus on the details.
- Offer personal service 24 hours a day
The Internet doesn’t follow office hours. People surf the web at a time that suits them. Peak times are typically evenings and weekend when the office is closed. Then there are the new parents with a screaming baby in the middle of the night who desperately need to sell their 1-bed and move somewhere bigger. If you can help them in their time of need you will be a friend for life.
About the author: Andy Soloman is a former foreign correspondent and the CEO and founder of Yomdel which offers the innovative Yomdel Live Lead solution for property businesses. The service delivers free and without obligation fully staffed 24/7 live chat for agent websites and charges a nominal sum for qualified leads.
Download a free white paper from Yomdel on live chat for property