Technology and real estate: let go of the fear
Change is scary, being left behind is even scarier. Embrace new ways to use technology to improve your business
Despite the hype and fear generated in the media and shared across the industry, technology cannot replace agents in real estate transactions.
What it can replace is outdated or inefficient processes and procedures. And getting rid of these will only strengthen your offering as an agent and agency.
So, in fact, technology is actually going to help us better service our clients. And that’s what real estate is all about: helping our clients make the best decisions regarding their most valuable asset.
To explain how tech and real estate can work together, we chatted with REINSW Deputy President and Managing Director of Realtair, Peter Matthews.
REINSW: What type of technologies should agents and agencies be adopting?
Peter Matthews: Agents and agencies should always be keen to utilise technology to improve their customer service.
The difficulty is that there are so many options available, particularly when it comes to CRMs and apps, and especially when these technologies don’t integrate with each other.
The best advice I can give is to really understand what you want from technology and then find a system or platform that best satisfies your needs.
There are also middleware platforms that integrate many of the software options. Using these platforms can streamline processes, improving productivity and increasing savings.
Additionally, and critically, agents and agencies must leverage social and digital media to promote themselves and their properties, as well as to build a personality around their brand. This is what will connect people to your brand.
REI: How does technology improve the client experience?
PM: Communication is the area that best assists the agent-customer experience. With access to so much information at our finger tips, speed is the new currency.
Being able to respond quickly, efficiently and professionally in a timely manner is so important to today’s client.
Many agents are now either using or investigating AI technology and chatbots that enable active communication with clients at any time, day or night. These technologies will often generate leads and guide you on the best way to engage with them.
REI: What will happen if agencies don’t adopt technologies? How will it impact their service offering?
PM: Unfortunately – and this might sound brutal – agents and agencies that don’t utilise existing and future technologies will find themselves out of business.
The focus of any successful business is to exceed customer expectations. The real estate consumer – whether seller, buyer, landlord or tenant – has more access to information than ever before, and they need a trusted advisor to make sense of it all. Agents that utilise technology to provide this service will successfully meet their clients’ needs and build stronger relationships.
REI: What do you think the future of real estate looks like?
PM: The real estate industry has never faced such evolutionary change and, amidst it all, is the internal battle of increased service costs and pressure on professional fees.
Businesses will have to adjust the services they provide and offer greater value at a reduced cost – it’s just that simple. Technology will assist this, but it does come with financial and personnel costs in the short-term.
My advice is to invest in technology now and make small changes to keep in line with the rapidly changing environment. There is no bad news, only opportunities – to look at your offering, streamline your processes and improve your services. The other good news is that technology and AI can never replace what agents are inherently good at, for example complex problem solving, creativity, people management and collaboration. All these skills will be increasingly in demand as technology takes over the more menial and process-driven tasks agents perform.
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