The Residential Property sector has been surprisingly resilient during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the initial disruption to markets and project builds, the market is showing definite signs of recovery. The rental market, especially Build-to-Rent, is seeing rapid recovery – according to Savills, there has been a substantial £2.7 billion invested in Built-to-Rent properties as of Q3 2020.
The Residential Property sector as a whole has survived due to supply and demand and its robustness as an asset class. However, it has outperformed other sectors due to its willingness to adapt and embrace digital technology. When the impact of the pandemic began to have an effect, developers and agents were swift to adapt. Virtual tours and 360-degree videos quickly replaced in-person viewings, with agents showing properties digitally to potential buyers.
However, the growing popularity of online viewings is not indicative of a broader trend towards digital transformation within the sector. Despite the success of remote viewings, the rest of the value chain is still lagging behind digital innovation – and the industry remains slow to adopt new technology, with process-heavy and time-consuming tasks remaining the standard.
But customer and client expectations are already shifting – as they begin to make more and more transactions digitally, soon they will hold developers and agents to the same standard. Indeed, the rapid growth of the ‘Build-to-Rent’ model in the residential sector underscores the need for a thorough digital process – signs point to an aggressive recovery of the rental market, which is both high turnover and admin-heavy.
Developers and agents who are not willing to adopt a digital-first customer experience will be quickly outmanoeuvred by competitors who do. In order to thrive in a post-pandemic world, Residential Property businesses must embrace the possibilities digital has to offer. They must provide their customers and clients with a more transparent, flexible service that’s directly focused on their needs.
By making a committed switch to a digital-first offering, businesses can offer consistent customer and client engagement across the entire supply chain.
The first step in this journey is creating one centralised data resource across the company. By creating one universal point of truth, teams have access to consolidated and unified data on every partner, renter, or buyer. Every team contributes and benefits from this approach.
Consolidating and organising data creates a new standard of collaboration, encouraging greater internal transparency and breaking down silos within the business.
The new team has access to the same data and can seamlessly connect with the client, building on the knowledge and insight of their colleagues.
Internally, the business can track their progress in the value chain and build a clearer picture of each customer as time goes on. The process is much smoother from the customer or client point of view – whether it’s a residential property developer or a family looking for a larger home – because each team is equipped with the same data and providing one consistent service.
In an increasingly remote world, managing and fine-tuning this customer journey is essential to achieving strategic growth targets and deliver market-leading customer experiences.
This shift to a digitally connected value chain drives efficiencies throughout the lifecycle of a development. From site acquisition to the aftercare of an occupier, digital tools drive greater efficiency.
The most obvious examples are the resource-heavy routine tasks, such as the large-scale delivery and processing of forms, documents and applications. These can easily be automated and digitised, enabling customers and clients to submit their own documents online. AI can process and store this information without the need for human intervention, and flag any potential concerns or inconsistencies.
Teams are liberated from repetitive tasks and free to spend their time more productively – engaging directly with customers or proactively identifying opportunities for business development.
Everyday processes are accelerated when everyone is on the same page – coordinating teams is quicker and decision making becomes more dynamic. When paired with data and analytics, teams can streamline the sales process and identify broader industry trends and engagement opportunities for potential clients.
Analytics can even enable teams to be more proactive – as the market shifts, AI can identify impacted clients, which can lead to new opportunities to grow the business and effectively service clients.
When Residential Property companies have access to connected insight across their business, they can finally offer the customer-centric digital experience that will soon become the industry standard.
Salesforce has earned its reputation as the first-choice partner for digital transformation in the Residential Property sector. We support businesses in their journey to create a personalised, customer-centric digital experience across the entire lifecycle.
Equipped with our platform, property and real estate businesses can offer one unified experience throughout the value chain – from design and build to servicing occupiers. We enable companies to drive greater efficiency, and reorient their business to become more focused on the client – essential for success in the digital age.
Find out more about how Salesforce is helping the Residential Property sector build a stronger connection to their clients.