Ofcom's Communications Market Report 2018 shows that we’ve reached the point in technology development that the number of phone calls we’re making is falling (figures show they dipped in 2017) while our use of data soars. Although the rise of the machines is no big news, the fact that people actively prefer to interact using their smartphone or tablet rather than speaking on the phone presents both a challenge and an opportunity to the lettings industry.
Challenge of Changing Communication Preference
You can blame it on Uber (this instant gratification phenomenon is actually known as the Uber effect) but we are now programmed to want things immediately and we’ve lost the ability to wait. For the lettings industry this means tenants want access to their agent around the clock. Which, as margins tighten under the lettings fee bans, can be challenging for agencies. Unless they turn to the very technology that’s leading the shift in the first place. Which brings us to…
Opportunity for Agents to Stand Out with Technology
It’s no surprise that, as a leading repairs and maintenance software reporting system, Fixflo is banging the technology drum. But the facts and figures back us up. While the number of phone calls drops, use of data is massively on the increase, with the average user spending 2 hours and 28 minutes on their smartphone (not making calls!) every day. Meanwhile, almost half of the respondents in a recent survey by the BBC named their phone as their most crucial gadget, while nearly the same number admitted they spent too much time online. Which is exactly where agents should be interacting with them.
Repairs and maintenance software like Fixflo allows tenants to contact their agents with issues and concerns 24/7 (particularly relevant given that recent research indicates tenants would prefer to report a problem online than deal with someone face-to-face or on the phone). But that’s only the beginning of the ways in which agents can communicate with the tenants using technology. Broadcasts, mail outs, webinars, effective Instagram and Facebook campaigns are all ways to engage and build a system of communication that benefits both agent and tenant.
And then there’s how you package it. With its emphasis on interactivity, use of colour and abundance of fresh posts and information, Facebook’s widely accepted as the master of how to format and package information in an engaging and user-friendly way (did someone say addictive?). Although you might not have this web giant’s giant budget, there are definite take homes.
Even those agents who don’t want to dip their toes into the world of apps and advertising must accept that how we use technology is going to define the next decade and well beyond. So don’t call me baby. And don’t get left behind. For more information on how you can make technology work for you, why not check out Fixflo’s repairs and maintenance management software?
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