For years, landlords, property managers, and agents have used digital solutions to streamline complex and previously offline processes, and now the COVID-19 pandemic has pressed real estate leaders to accelerate their digital transformation timeline.
It’s important, though, to recognize that these increased efforts shouldn’t just serve as a short-term investment in response to the pandemic: the forward-thinking steps tenants and customers see their service providers taking in response to this crisis will be a trusted ground for their long-term capacity to adapt quickly and be responsive to potential needs even once the crisis has ended.
In other words: if providers can’t adapt now, consumers revert to other providers who can, and that means digital innovation must be a top priority.
Considering the high expectations of the public and the even higher stakes of public health, one of the best ways to meet these shifting demands is through the use of Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) systems that enable more effective engagement at every stage of a transaction—from marketing and negotiation all the way to closing a deal or signing a lease.
Here’s why we at Twilio believe that cloud-based communications and customer engagement are the single most important key to staying relevant in the rapidly changing landscape of real estate.
- Effective solutions help create and maintain consumer trust. Decisions about real estate are some of the most complex ones that a buyer or tenant can make. Whether moving homes or searching for the perfect office space, these critical transactions are best facilitated by someone they know they can trust. One of the best ways to build lasting trust with clients and customers is through the kinds of strategic relationship-building that digital innovation provides. Whether through tailored SMS alerts about the progress of a deal, or the ability to facilitate near-instant follow-up calls on your leads like with Trulia’s click-to-call app, cloud-based communication solutions facilitate interactions that make a lasting impact.
According to the RealPage platform, unoccupied units in gateway cities are on the rise, leading to an increased need to retain renters and attract new ones. Property managers can remove potential obstacles or concerns and also build trust through the use of self-service tools like SmartRent’s cloud-based services. Their system uses cloud-connected hardware to grant contactless access to properties for self-guided tours that minimize health risks for prospective tenants and on-site staff alike.
- Omnichannel innovations meet customers where they are. In-person engagement has long been a pillar of the real estate industry. With the pandemic impacting the ability to have those face-to-face interactions safely, it’s crucial to stay ahead of the curve and connect with clients via the most effective alternatives possible. Omnichannel, cloud-based solutions, and APIs are bridging the socially-distant divide by giving service providers simultaneous access to SMS, push notifications, email, video, and more communication channels that grant the power of flexibility and choice to customers when they need it most.
In particular, it’s more crucial than ever to be able to quickly and easily get information to mobile devices. Over 95 percent of SMS messages are opened and read—which shows how transitioning your communication strategies to the devices and channels we’re all most likely to frequent can be an effective replacement for traditional interactions, giving you a lasting, competitive advantage even once those traditional interactions become a safe option once again.
- Virtual engagement services provide efficiency and customization. A CPaaS system can help create efficiency by automating basic interactions and tailoring them to your user’s specific needs, which allows agents to focus on more meaningful interactions that can build lasting rapport with clients.
Automated services to meet customer needs are the clear next step in cloud-based innovation: Gartner, Inc predicted 25 percent of customer service operations would be using virtual customer assistants by this year, and estimates also suggest the number of digital voice assistants in use will rise to an astounding 8 billion by 2023. CPaaS systems can enable all of these AI technologies and more, from intuitive chatbots to voice assistants that can manage complex tasks.
With the right tools and the drive to innovate, the property sector can emerge from this crisis stronger and more responsive than ever to the needs of customers. You can learn more about how Twilio is driving the future of cloud-connected spaces here, in addition to how we helped empower CBRE Spain make a safe post-pandemic transition back to their workspace.