How to boost real estate customer experience with digital customer journeys
As customers increasingly move their interactions into the digital realm, it’s crucial for real estate companies to understand what makes up a good digital customer experience and how they can use digital tools to improve said experiences.
By implementing digital tools and strategies and embracing digital transformation, real estate businesses can grow and expand their customer base. However, many real estate companies struggle with this and fail to implement effective digital customer experience strategies into their own businesses.
In order to boost your business, it’s crucial that you understand what makes up a real estate digital customer journey and how they can improve your customer experiences.
What are digital customer journeys in real estate?
The first step to boosting your business is understanding what makes up a digital customer journey. The main components of any digital experience include:
- Knowing who the customers are
- Mapping out where they spend time online (and offline)
- Providing the right information at the right time on the right channel
- Finding and eliminating points of friction and pain in the journey
- Creating a consistent experience between all digital touchpoints
- Understanding customer feedback and responding their needs
By understanding what makes up a real estate customer journey, you can then begin to implement strategies in order to improve customer experience.
The first step of this customer journey involves establishing a destination with clear goals and expectations for customers. This requires an understanding of what makes your specific audience tick as well as what motivates them.
Once the destination is determined, it’s time to create a digital experience that will lead customers through each stage of their journey and ultimately result in an optimal outcome for both parties.
This might sound like a lot to manage when you add in all the other aspects of real estate business; however, by establishing clear goals and expectations for customers, real estate teams gain the upper hand when it comes to digital customer journeys.
To simplify things for now and focus on the components that make up digital journeys in real estate, let’s focus on three different journey types that all real estate businesses should take into consideration: pre-sales, sales and post-sales.
Pre-sales customer journey in real estate
Pre-sale customer experience is the first part of a real estate transaction. During this stage, prospects learn about property listings by using different digital tools such as websites, ads on social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram , etc.
It is important for businesses to understand that information gathering is the first stage of your digital customer journey and is extremely important for the overall experience despite the fact that it happens on platforms outside of your control.
Typical pre-sales customer journey
- A customer sees an ad for a real estate listing on a social media platform and clicks on it
- A customer is redirected to the broker’s website and starts browsing listings on an agency or brokerage website
- The customer finds a property that they are interested in and requests more information
- The real estate company sends the necessary information about the listing via email, text message or direct mail
You can now better understand your customers because digital customer journeys provide an easy way to collect information about what they are interested in.
Step three is the most crucial step in the pre-sale journey and can make or break the deal. There are many ways that businesses can improve digital customer experiences at this stage, including:
- Using real time data analytics
- Understanding how people interact with their content on different devices and screens (mobile, desktop, tablets)
- Using push notifications to send messages and updates
To make sure that process is frictionless and user-friendly, ensure that your digital journeys are fully optimized. Some journeys to pay special attention to:
- Buyer-agent agreement form
- Property information form
- Buyer questionnaire
Sales customer journey in real estate
The second part of your digital customer experience involves sales interactions with customers. These can include showing properties, negotiating deals and filling out paperwork online or offline to complete transactions using paper forms or digital tools.
It’s important for businesses to design cross-channel experiences during this time.
Special attention should be paid to digitizing parts of the sales journey that are still handled manually or via paper forms, such as contracts and agreement signing, because these processes are instrumental to completing a sale or transaction.
Typical sales journeys include:
- A customer finds a listing that interests them during the pre-sale stage
- They request an appointment with your real estate company in order to see the property
- Your agent sends them information about listings that meet their criteria via email, text messages or direct mail
- The customer decides on a listing and requests an appointment with your real estate company to see the property in person
- Your agent sends information about listings that match the customer's needs
- The process repeats until they choose to purchase or lease a home or other type of property
- The customer orders a pre-sale home inspection
- The customer applies for a mortgage for the purchase of property
- The agent collects all necessary forms and requests all necessary documents
- Contract signing and deal closure
As you can see from this example, digital customer journeys in real estate can be very complex during the sales stage. However, by understanding how your customers are interacting with you digitally, you can identify many ways to improve digital customer experiences at this stage, including:
- Collecting customer data and signatures digitally
- Replacing manual processes with digital tools
- Replacing PDFs and clunky web forms with responsive digital journeys
- Allowing customers to share their information directly with lenders, inspectors or other individuals involved in the process via digital tools
- Using chatbots and digital assistants to provide self-service tools throughout the journey
As you can see there are many ways businesses can improve customer experiences at this stage of a real estate transaction by using data collected from digital journeys. To make sure that process is frictionless and user-friendly, ensure that your digital journeys include the entirety of the sales journey.
Some steps within the sales journeys to pay special attention to include:
- Mortgage calculator
- Mortgage application
- Commercial rental agreements
- Contract signing
Post-sales customer journey in real estate
Post-sales are the final stage of any real estate customer journey and it consists of everything that comes after someone buys something from you, including things like property maintenance.
This provides another opportunity for businesses to continue providing great digital experiences to their users/customers so they don’t lose them as future customers.
Some digital customer journeys at this stage might look like:
- A new resident moves into an apartment complex that you manage
- They receive a welcome kit with information about your company, the local community and any other relevant details
- The resident contacts you for recommendations on services
- Resident must update his personal information you have on file
As you can see, digital customer journeys are not only valuable during pre-sales but they extend into post sales as well. Customers might need assistance finding contractors, booking appointments for their new home or simply want to stay updated on the neighborhood they are living in.
There are many ways that businesses can improve digital customer experiences at this stage, including:
- Collecting customer data and signatures digitally for any ongoing maintenance issues
- Booking appointments digitally
- Providing access to update information online without having to contact anyone
- Providing self-service journeys instead of making customers wait on hold in order to talk to a real estate agent
As you can see, digital customer journeys in real estate are complex but they don’t have to be as long as businesses put some time into mapping out the best way for their customers to interact with them online.
By having access to these insights about how your customers want to interact with your real estate business, you can begin creating a strategy to improve customer experience and boost conversions throughout all three stages of the customer journey.
Improving real estate customer experience with digital journeys
Keeping your digital customer journey strategy fresh and up-to-date is an important part of boosting real estate customer experience.
It’s easy to see why digital customer experiences, specifically when it comes to pre-sale, sales and post-sales processes, are becoming more popular with businesses because they provide many benefits that can help you boost your business.
Here are some of the ways digital journeys improve your ROI:
Close contracts faster
Contract signing is a very important part of any real estate transaction. Optimized digital journeys allow real estate agents to close deals faster and more efficiently because documents can be signed online. This means that customers don’t have to sit in an office for hours waiting on their paperwork or scanning, signing and emailing it back over which takes much longer than signing everything digitally.
Increase sales opportunities
When digital customer journeys are created , businesses can do a better job at selling their products and services because they will have access to customer data that can help them understand what buyers are looking for.
Digital customer journeys can help you track and identify what content and processes are working vs. not working when it comes to converting more people into customers.
This means that businesses will be able to compare their conversion rates from one digital journey to another and see where they can improve.
Increase brand loyalty
Digital journeys can help you retain more customers. Think about it: what are the things that people remember most after buying or selling a property with your business? Many will say good customer service, which is why digital experiences like these are so crucial to businesses because they provide excellent support for their customers.
Digital transformation in real estate
Don’t miss out on sales opportunities because of poor digital experiences. By creating a better customer experience, you can acquire and retain more customers and make them happy with their real estate transactions.
Digital customer journeys in real estate are complex but they don’t have to be, as long as businesses put some time into mapping out the best way to interact with their customers online and create a strategy to improve the digital experience and boost conversions.
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