Agents: 9 messages to communicate to clients
Don’t leave home movers, landlords and tenants in limbo. Now is the time to devise a communication plan to keep in touch.
‘For sale’ and ‘to let’ signs spotted on your daily walk may serve as a reminder of transactions frozen in time but a lack of High Street business is no excuse for not keeping in contact with clients. There are thousands of anxious and frustrated buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants across the UK but sentiment is positive and can be kept that way.
In fact, a survey by reallymoving.com found 75% of those who were at the early stages of a home move signified that they still wanted to move as soon as possible, with a further 18% still hoping to move later this year.
The above findings illustrate how important it is to keep channels of communication open. Keeping chains together, providing a ‘hand holding’ service for clients and offering advice will go a long way to reassure people that you haven’t dropped off a cliff - and that you’re poised to get things moving as soon as restrictions are lifted.
The following should be areas of consideration when it comes to communicating with clients.
1. Don’t wait for clients to contact you
No home mover or landlord should be left to languish. Now is the time for exemplary customer care, and that means contacting all your clients to offer guidance and provide support. A quick call with an update or check up on how they’re doing shows you are proactive and working hard, despite your remote location.
Those who need your urgent expertise are those who have exchanged but not completed, renters whose tenancy agreements are about to expire and those who need to move urgently for work or isolation reasons. Others who will appreciate swift contact include those who have made an offer on a property; those who have mortgage offers in principle; landlords who have vacant buy-to-lets and sellers who would like to stay on the market.
3. Offer general help
Agents enjoy an enviable position in their communities and this can be used for the greater good. If you know of past and present clients who fall in to the vulnerable category, make contact to establish if they need help. Agents may also like to offer shopping assistance to those shielding, in isolation and key workers who may be short of time.
4. Communicate contact details
With branches shut, it’s important to let clients know how they can contact you. This is especially important if you have reduced operational hours or have switched to using mobile phone numbers. As well as an email or text, don’t forget to amend your details on social media, Google My Business and your website.
5. Utilise all channels of communication
If you’ve managed to bring home letter headed paper, formal posted communication is still a great way of keeping in touch but emails, telephone calls, text messages and updates on social media are worth their weight in gold right now.
6. Provide an emergency contact to tenants
Letting agents, especially those who work in a property management capacity, should reaffirm their out-of-hours and emergency procedures should there be an urgent maintenance or safety issue within a tenanted property.
7. Share financial support details
Cash flow will be an immediate concern for some and agents can provide a useful service to those who are struggling financially, especially if the branch has an IFA partner. Communicate that there’s help available for those who wish to apply for a mortgage payment holiday and invite tenants struggling to pay their rent to get in touch.
8. Let people know about property access
Social distancing and travel restrictions need reiterating to clients as they impact an agent’s ability to value and sell/let properties, as well as keep our communities safe. In lettings, however, there are still a number of reasons why a third-party may need to access a tenanted property, such as for gas and electrical safety, emergency maintenance and to conduct an EPC assessment. These reasons should be communicated to landlords and tenants.
9. Contact potential sellers and landlords
It’s never too early to court new business. Although it’s still possible to sell and let, many movers are waiting for lockdown to end before they commence. Now is a great time to tell prospects about improvements that will add value to their home and give their property kerb appeal. Agents can also remind movers that they can appoint an agent now so staff can prepare as much of the sales/lettings pack possible. This advance planning will allow the property to hit the market the moment restrictions are lifted.