Is a fully-digital home moving process right for the …
Tech is a fantastic enabler, but in my opinion it should never be a complete substitute for the human interactions that add real value to travel.
We see AI increasingly replacing human interaction in our daily lives. We use online banking to transfer money from one account to another instead of going to branches, and we’re more at the Amazon checkout than the main drag.
Convenience is key, and automating everyday tasks like this gives us more time to focus on the things that really matter or to get more done in our day so that no harm is done.
Should the way we buy and sell real estate follow suit? I would say yes and no. As the founder of a company built on finding the next tech solution for real estate agents, the no may come as a surprise – but listen to me!
Buying or selling a home is an emotional experience and there are interactions along the way that simply cannot be automated – in fact, it could make the experience worse.
Take a transport delay, for example. When this has been delivered to a buyer through an automated message, they may not get the full picture or feel reassured that there is a plan in place to move things forward. Most of the time, it would be better if the broker here takes the lead and explains the robbery so the buyer knows it’s in the hand.
Or how about the offer phase. This gives agents the opportunity to add real value as they use their experience to advise sellers on the best buyer and the options available to them. An automated list of offers from which the seller can choose independently would not be enough for most people to make an informed decision.
Don’t get me wrong, there are many parts of the moving process that cry out for digitization and thereby improve the experience for everyone involved in transactions.
Take customer onboarding, for example. What if this was automated, with buyers and sellers completing their own onboarding journey digitally and proving all information upfront using an online form? We know that this alone would help reduce agent administration time per transaction by around two hours *.
That’s two extra hours from just one transaction that can be spent on areas that add real value to the company, such as: B. Arranging sales and securing new leads. It is also quick and easy for the customer and can be done from the sofa – in the interests of comfort.
Automations like this are the parts of the process that agents and consumers want to see digitized. They are at the heart of movebutler – a digital onboarding platform that we developed to digitize the admin-heavy parts of the transaction that agents normally take away from their clients.
We always create technology as an enabler and not a substitute for all face-to-face interactions, which are still very important in many aspects of the process.
Consumers are demanding better experiences and expecting smooth transactions, which increases competition and creates bottlenecks. As suppliers, we have to respond to the need for innovation and new ways to relieve the agents so that they can provide the service elements of the transaction and inspire their customers.
Finding the right level of digital processes and human interaction on the journey is a balancing act, but movebutler hits the mark.
(* Calculations based on 30 minutes of onboarding time per buyer / seller and 32 minutes per customer offering and tracking brokerage and mortgage services.)
* Ben Ridgway is Group Managing Director of iamproperty