Do you have a safety strategy in your company? What I mean is, have you a policy for protecting your clients, their home and your agents? Many companies are introducing great systems to make their team and clients feel safe. Take Uber for example, this taxi company’s app informs customers of the taxi registration number who will be picking them up, together with a photograph of the driver. The driver also receives information on the customer, as to use the app you have to register. This makes both parties feel secure in the knowledge with whom they are meeting.
There are so many video technologies available at the moment, that we could use with our clients from Facetime, Skype, Periscope, Meerkat and Property Vox, to name a few. But how many of you use these with the thought of safety in mind. Thankfully we are blessed to only have the odd rare incident that rattles our industry. Most recently, the story of the peckish agent who stole a bar of chocolate during a property viewing hit the papers. The incident was caught on an in-home security camera which also highlights our Clients wishes of wanting their home to feel secure during a viewing.
Our clients often don’t worry about giving us keys for viewings, then we don’t make a fuss about it either, but maybe we should! Our client’s property is the most expensive thing they own, shouldn’t we be showing how much we value this responsibility. Wouldn’t having a policy that we talk them through regarding keys and viewing their home? It would also go a long way to building trust. It will also show your agency as caring and professional.
But should we care?
I met a friend of mine the other day; his parents are selling their home. They are retired but still very active, they are not particularly safety obsessed and live in a beautiful village. But a situation had arisen that had confused him. His parents had decided to take the key away from the agents and they wanted him present at viewings. Of course this caused major issues in availability for viewings. He realised there was a real trust issue between his parents and the agents and probed into the cause. He went on to tell me, “I know estate agents take the keys off owners every day, but it was the apathy of the agent towards the responsibility and trust my parents were giving the agent that unnerved them. There are so many scams around at the moment, fake utility operators, cowboy builders etc, not that they were putting estate agents in this league. But I think that as professionals they expected a professional approach into something so important.”
This got me thinking, yes we can’t plan for every eventuality but surely we should put some simple measure in place for peace of mind?
Open houses are becoming more popular in the UK, a service which our realtor friends across the ocean have been using for years. Back in March a shocking story surfaced in the US where a real estate agent had been sexually assaulted during an open house. Again these incidents are extremely rare but should never be forgotten. We are asking our team to constantly meet with ‘strangers’ in homes, building sites and commercial properties. It costs nothing to show you care about their safety and put an easy system in place. There is no doubt that we would never live with ourselves if we didn’t and something happened.
Why not talk to your teams and seek their ideas on what would make them feel safe on a viewing? With the incredible wealth of technology available today, feeling safe is one problem that is relatively easy to solve.