A recent study has suggested that there remains real value in the high street presence of letting and estate agents, as over half of UK consumers prefer to communicate and meet with agents in person. A survey commissioned by estate agents Winkworth questioned over 1,000 people and discovered that approximately 56 per cent would choose to communicate with their agent face-to-face.
16 per cent of respondents claimed they prefer contact over the phone, whilst 15 per cent would choose email. More modern technology however, did not prove as popular, as just 5 per cent would choose to communicate via online chat and 2 per cent would choose text and personal apps. Among the 35-44 and 25-34 age groups, online conversation methods were the most popular. Respondents aged 16-24 favoured face-to-face or telephone interactions, whilst 0 per cent in that age group would choose no conversation at all between themselves and their agent.
Respondents aged 55 and over stated that they would prefer in-person contact with their agent. This age group also had the highest percentage of people which opted for zero contact at all with their agent. New reports have indicated that tough times lie ahead for estate agents, as the market stagnates and the popularity of online agents continues to rise, which correlates to a decrease in property sales for estate agents on the high street.
However, this study confirms the overwhelming desire that the public has for in-person interaction with letting and estate agents. Dominic Agace, CEO at Winkworth, explained that this research has demonstrated how much of a draw having a physical office is for clients when selecting a letting or estate agent. He explains that this is no surprise, as with selling, buying or letting property, one of the largest transactions and investments people make, to be able to visit an agent’s office whenever needed is reassuring. When separated by age group, the survey results reflect generational differences. For example, the highest number of votes for communicating through personal apps or dashboards were given by the 16-24 age group, at 10 per cent.
The results demonstrate the importance for landlords and letting agents to adapt to the change in attitudes of tenants, by offering flexible services where clients are able to contact agents using a method that suits them. It is obvious from the feedback given that a client’s preferences are driven by their familiarity with technology and their lifestyle. As communication methods continue to evolve, it is essential that agents with a high street presence do not neglect their digital and online presence.
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