“If there is one thing that Amazon.com is about it’s an obsessive attention to the customer experience.” Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, gave a now-famous interview to CNBC over two decades ago in which he emphasized that Amazon would win by obsessing over the customer experience. Bezos understood that what matters most is how the end-user thinks, and this understanding has helped Amazon grow into one of the world’s most powerful corporations.
Proptech firms, Opendoor and Airbnb, were two of the hottest IPOs of the year during the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020. Both of these companies were able to achieve enormous success by focusing on the customer experience in the same way. Despite the difficulties of the previous year, real estate remains a highly coveted asset class. Real estate investors are recognizing the importance of focusing on customer service in order to stay competitive.
The Importance of Customer Experience (CX)
No investor, large or small, can succeed without thinking about who they exist to serve. Real estate investors who buy and keep assets for decades without employing an aggressive, value-seeking strategy are in for a rude awakening. This was proven to be valid in 2020 across a wide range of industries. “The future of real estate is no longer about delivering four walls to tenants. Instead, it’s about creating a unique, personalized customer experience that fosters meaningful interactions, collaboration, productivity. Delivering this will require a unique combination of capabilities that seamlessly integrate across the physical and digital realms,” said Scott Rechler, CEO of RXR Realty.
The consumer experience will help real estate investors build better relationships with their end-users while also increasing their value proposition and net operating income. Investors would be better positioned for a prosperous recovery with a fresh perspective. What does the path to recovery entail? Emphasis on protection and belonging for the time being.
Across the board, real estate developers are making a concerted effort to keep their assets safe and clear of Covid. At this stage, solutions like regular cleaning and hand sanitizer stations are common across most CRE.
Indoor air quality is another place to consider. This is a crucial issue that needs to be discussed. According to a recent report, improving indoor air quality may be just as successful as having a 50-60% vaccine coverage in minimizing influenza aerosol transmission. While air purifiers alone are not enough to protect people from COVID-19, they have been shown to reduce risk when used in conjunction with other preventative measures, according to the CDC and the EPA.
Using high-quality air purification systems increases consumer value by lowering not only the real risk of infection, but also the customer’s fear of infection. When testing air purifiers, look for the following features:
Sans purifiers are used in our properties to ensure that our visitors breathe the cleanest air possible. Sans’ three-color lighting warning system — red = evil, yellow = caution, and blue = you can breathe easy — is one of our favorite features. We’ve discovered that this gives our guests peace of mind because the visual cue of protection provided by the blue light goes a long way toward making people feel protected.
Contactless technology is another field that has exploded as a result of the pandemic. Several technology firms have emerged with real estate investor/operator solutions. Companies who find out how to digitize the in-store experience while maintaining full safety will be the big winners in this space. We all need a sense of human connection. We require a sense of belonging.
When it comes to belonging, real estate developers and operators can be effective if they carefully blend the physical and digital worlds. Staff training to concentrate on delivering customer satisfaction and anchoring their motivation to customer happiness will not only please your clients, but will also reinvigorate your staff with purpose, at a time when so many people are questioning the point of everything. It’s easy to see why concentrating on CX is so critical—many people are exhausted and lonely as a result of COVID, and they’re searching for new ways to communicate with others in a healthy and straightforward manner.
Happiness can be delivered by focusing on these main principles:
- Make customers feel heard
- Make customers feel valued
- Make customers feel that their problem has been solved
Many digital solutions will assist onsite employees in providing satisfaction. The advent of CX management platforms, which assist investors and operators in capturing vital customer feedback and data, is one exciting field. Within the proptech industry, a slew of niche CX management platforms are emerging. A good CX platform would allow you to collect data from any customer-facing touchpoint that is important to your business. It will assist you by organizing, automating, and syncing data, allowing you to better service all of your existing customers, respond quickly to issues, and apply what you learn to keep current customers and attract new business.
Putting a focus on CX, whether you’re a property owner, an owner/operator, or a tenant, will help you get a better return on your investment in the long run.
Even though things are starting to look up, the path to recovery remains long. Investors in real estate, especially in the office, hospitality, and retail sectors, must do a lot of planning. Progress is still possible if you concentrate on the ideals of protection and belonging, as well as a dedication to providing the best customer experience.
Without a doubt, the real estate industry has evolved. The need to consider the “end-user” is as pressing as ever.
At POCKETLISTING we provide our agents all the technology tools required to provide the best customer experience for buyers and sellers.
If you are an agent that is looking for more support and more of your commission, reach out to learn more about joining the future of real estate.