Does your Estate Agency outsource its live chat, or are you thinking about live chat to generate leads & valuations?

Live chat outsourcing (or managed chat) seems gloriously convenient. On the surface, it promises a golden offering of extended support hours and lead generation, without extra employee strain. By assigning your live chat customer service to an external vendor, you can take a step back and give your team one less thing to worry about– be this during or outside of normal working hours. Convert all those leads and watch the business roll in…….

Unfortunately, this lack of worry may be short-lived. While live chat outsourcing is an easy option, it comes with business-critical risks. Placing your chat sessions with outsourced agents means placing customer care outside your direct control. And that’s a dangerous dice to roll in any business. For many organisations, outsourced chat will often mean “capturing” a lead and emailing it to your respective sales or service team to follow up.

The concept of “Managed Live Chat for Estate Agents” exists because most Estate Agents are not contact centres. Estate Agents outsource, as they simply cannot respond to every potential lead within 30 seconds. Why 30 seconds you ask? Well, live chat is a synchronous form of communication. The customer is tied to your website and the chat window is a temporary chat environment for you to reply & engage. If you don’t respond, the customer moves on. This is why you have no choice but to outsource. Plus, if your nearby competitor uses live chat, then you often feel compelled to copy, just to keep up with the Jones’.

So, your outsourced live chat provider captures your leads, and then emails them to you……But just think this process through……you are effectively turning live chats into email and emailing them to your sales teams. Then how will you follow up your leads? Play telephone tag and leave voicemails with each other. Send an email to a Hotmail account and wonder why you don’t get that many replies? The challenge of many agents is not just the quantity and quality of leads. The challenge of many agents is not just the quantity and quality of leads – the challenge is following them up and actually engaging with the customer. And if your negotiators are using their personal WhatsApp to follow up leads, this is a GDPR breach, as well as violating WhatsApp’s terms of business – click here to read the blog post on this article. 

Ask yourself a question……is your personal email account a place where you would arrange an evening out with friends? I would expect that the answer is likely to be no, and that is because we, the consumers, are “messaging” centric, we’re not email centric.

Here’s a second question for you…..do many of your negotiators tell you that its harder to speak to people these days? This demonstrates how we, the consumers have changed our expectations over the last few years.

Let us think about the “customer journey” here…….it goes something like this:

The Customer visits an agent’s website, as they are thinking about selling their house. Out of picking up the phone, sending an email, completing a form, they choose to start a live chat believing it to be the easiest direct form of communication, only to be told the person they need to speak to is not available. Their details are taken down and told they will be contacted when the correct person is available. In a recent survey, this is how this customer experience was rated:

Still better than forms right? It would be understandable to be thinking surely it is better to have outsourced live chat than no live chat at all?

We’re not questioning the ability of the UK’s leading outsourced chat providers here – we’re questioning the concept of outsourced live chat for Estate Agents.

So, Estate Agents, you now have an alternative. No, it’s not some faceless automated bot. It’s something we, the consumers, already have access to and use daily in our personal lives, it’s WhatsApp, or more specifically, its WhatsApp API.

What’s the difference between Live Chat and WhatsApp chat you ask? WhatsApp is asynchronous, which means the customer is not tied to a browser. The chat is within a messaging app already installed on their phone (and used several times a day). You, the Estate Agent doesn’t need to respond within 30 seconds, meaning you can now manage the whole process in-house. And you can respond to your customers in-channel! No more telephone tag. No more firing off emails that never get replied to.

Worried that you won’t be able to manage in house? Just look at this statistic 81% of customers don’t expect a reply within 10 mins.

Your customers just want a reply, in the channel they enquired in, from a person who can help them.

Furthermore, your negotiators need a customer focused communication channel to engage with prospects & customers in . Just look at the stats: 

Consumers check WhatsApp 23 times a day

 

95% of messages are read within 3 minutes

 

98% of messages are opened, compared to 20% of emails

Worried about message volume? This is where some intelligent automation helps. We can qualify your website, portal enquires, to weed out the time wasters. Nothing overly complicated – just a few simple qualifying questions, that will ensure leads are dealt with correctly by the appropriate members of your team.

There’s more.

You can’t use Live Chat for sales progression. You can’t use Live Chat for outreach marketing. You can’t use Live Chat to arrange a viewing with your vendor.

WhatsApp API becomes a platform for engagement, sales progression, and marketing. Got a new property listed that you want to fire out to your contact list over WhatsApp? We have a tool for that, with an open rate 7 times that of email, plus with media rich 2-way conversational features that SMS can’t match, WhatsApp is the way for you to reach out communicate with your customers and prospects.

Quite simply, WhatsApp is a combination of Live Chat, Email, and SMS – all in one.

So the question I need to ask you is, are you really making the most out of your web chat?

 

To explore the range of WhatsApp API solutions offered by Stitch, please contact us at anytime.