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Driving tech adoption in the housing sector

The housing sector is in the midst of a national crisis.

A growing population coupled with rising house prices is driving demand for affordable housing, there’s a shortage of suitable land to build on, and these challenges must be met whilst balancing the safety and security of residents.

Where other industries have wholeheartedly embraced tech to enhance the digital journey for customers (think online banking in the financial sector) the property industry has traditionally been a slow adopter. This reluctance has led to inefficiency, human error, a lack of data and no real-time delivery – but we see this as a huge opportunity to break away from the competition.

As customer preferences and habits change, it’s clear that the organisations who are going to thrive are the ones who embrace technology now, and better position themselves to deliver excellent customer service.

Innovation in property

With the UK PropTech market worth up to £6 billion annually, the digitalisation of processes and operations is no longer an ‘optional extra’.

Two emerging trends are accelerating this digital transformation. Firstly, remote working has provided access to a new talent pool, so enabling flexible working has become a necessity in the recruitment process. Secondly, remote working has disrupted the way we make decisions, meaning decision makers need access to systems with real-time information that drive the right decisions and limit risk.

This has fundamentally altered the way the sector interacts with buyers and tenants, and vice versa.

Virtual viewings arose during the pandemic because of social distancing guidelines and now are essential to how the industry operates. This tool gave buyers and renters access to a 360-degree view of the property, instilling confidence in developers that they could sell their new homes and carry on building more.

The widespread adoption of chatbots has meant that buyers have an instant answer to whether or not they can afford a property. Instead of requiring employees to manually check applications, the chatbot collects relevant information from the customer and gives them an answer within minutes.

And for existing residents, the development of tenant apps have addressed a longstanding pain point. They can in effect self-serve many of their queries and transactions, with platforms allowing them to check rent balances, log repairs and locate contractors, in a quick and easy way.

Streamlining the lengthy documentation process

The process of purchasing or renting a property is long and arduous; it’s plagued by huge amounts of tedious but necessary paperwork. Many of us at 6B have first-hand experience with this and know just how frustrating it can be.

But it doesn’t have to be this way, nor should it be.

At 6B, we have the in-house cloud capabilities to host and manage your data and applications, streamlining the process. This approach provides your business with a secure and transparent network that can facilitate payments and protect sensitive customer data. At the same time, it helps mobilise your workforce, ensuring they have access to a centralised system as they travel from site to site, creating efficiencies and enhancing productivity.

Cloud-based portals expedite the process and deliver results in real-time, ensuring everyone from lawyers to mortgage providers and tenants to property agents, remain informed and have access to documents when they need them.

The cloud not only makes the purchase of commercial and residential properties quicker and easier, but it’s also of great use in the lettings market. Between deposit schemes, credit rating checks, contracts and tenancy agreements, it can all feel a bit overwhelming. With the cloud, all of this can be stored digitally, giving landlords and tenants instant access to this information 24/7.

Automation is at the heart of change

Nowadays, automation plays a pivotal role in any sector, but in such a data-intensive and time-sensitive industry like property, it’s especially important. The adoption of automation frees up your workforce to focus on tasks that actually require human intelligence or the “personal touch”, creating more efficiencies and reducing human error.

We recognise the value of artificial and human intelligence – the two can, and should, complement each other.

Technologies like Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can schedule and track inspections and repairs via apps and checklists built to your specific business needs, automatically generating reports. By utilising RPA in this way, you’re proving more attentive to the needs of residents and delivering an enhanced digital journey, which makes your customers more likely to turn into brand advocates.

In an industry where vast sums of money change hands every day, automation is integral to ensuring payments are made seamlessly, in a secure and reliable way. Automated chatbots are equipped to assist tenants with paying rent – and where rent hasn’t been paid, businesses can issue automatic reminders to recoup missed payments.

But automation does so much more than simply manage existing tenants; it can be an invaluable asset to help generate more leads and attract suitable tenants in the first place. CRM tools can be synced with property search platforms to help generate more leads, tracking the activity of users and allowing agents to personalise their approach to different customers.

Also, with physical space at a premium and commercial properties commanding higher rent prices, automated land assessments can be used to uncover suitable developments for affordable housing. These tools are made up of large data sets and can automatically discount unsuitable sites, whilst assessing transport links and proximity to town centres for those deemed appropriate to build on.

Catering to modern residents

An increasingly tech-savvy population demands a personalised and convenient service in every facet of their lives – from ordering a taxi within seconds on Uber to product recommendations based on previous purchases with Amazon. Repeat custom is built on the foundations of a personalised and seamless digital customer journey, and the housing sector is no different.

Providing an optimal customer experience can be the difference between getting a sale over the line or losing one completely. The process of buying, selling or renting a property is undoubtedly stressful, so customers expect a partner who can deliver a hassle-free experience. If they aren’t impressed with the service they receive, there are countless online competitors where they can compare features and take a virtual tour of the property.

But no two prospective customers are the same. Understanding these nuances and what makes different clients tick is what we excel in at 6B. We undertake comprehensive user research of all the clients we work with, so we can create bespoke digital solutions that resonate with their target market and solve specific needs.

Are you ready to upgrade your digital offering?

We’re passionate about helping our clients solve business challenges with great tech.

 

If you’d like to optimise your user journey and online offering within the housing industry, take a look at our sector expertise in more detail…

More about our work in Housing

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