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Agent Provocateur: A lot of noise about proptech – but it can be simple, affordable and genuinely useful

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So much happens these days outside working hours. Most surveys indicate that anything from 50% to 70% of customers would like to be able to interact with their agent when they are actually looking online – which of course tends to be the evenings/weekends.

Convention dictates leaving either a voicemail or email request for a contact the next working day – bear in mind that might be up to three days if the request is made on a Friday evening.

The average time taken to respond to these messages, according to the portals, makes for horrifying reading – I’m given to believe it’s up to five days!

Much is made about the opaque nature of Purplebricks’ actual success rates, but what no one can doubt is the success of its software.

It offers users the ability to keep up with what’s going on, book solicitors, viewings, get mortgage info [and monetise it in the process] etc, and do it all online via a simple dashboard.

Surely, this must inform us of the way many people need to keep in touch with all who are part of the property buying process in the future.

In the course of my new venture I’ve had occasion to talk to many suppliers looking to make the journey easier and more informative, and I have been really quite impressed with a few.

One introducing a classy communication tool, with added bells and whistles and well worth a look from what I can see, is Onedome.

To have the advantages of a full service agent and the ability to communicate in the same way as Purplebricks, without the vast investment, all for next to nothing, must surely give the high street agent a winning advantage – one to watch.

Bob Scarff’s Callwell does a great job of making sure that valuation leads that come in are fed to the right place, but one of the biggest whinges over the years about buyer/tenant portal leads has been their quality.

This may well explain the purported absurd response time averages mentioned above.

I was talking last week to the aptly named Property Technology who have developed what seems like a sensible answer to this.

As far as I can see, and for the first time, their LeadPro tool immediately auto-responds to a portal enquiry, simply qualifies them with some obvious tailored questions and then delivers a qualified lead to your inbox. As usual with this sort of info, it’s so much easier to gather at the point of enquiry rather than days later, as we all know.

I have talked before about how some of the independent agents who make up the vast majority of our industry can be left behind on taking up innovation, but just those mentioned above can give them a cheap, viable and genuinely useful way to bolster profits without unnecessary spending on investment.

Often ignored, technology really can be a win/win.

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