Mystery Shopper Business: Estate Agency
Mystery shopping is a growing industry in the UK. More and more companies want an idea of what their teams are doing when they are left unsupervised to deal with the general public. There are scores of mystery shopping providers in the country. Each has groups of clients that they help to provide mystery shopping programmes and customer service measures for. A mystery shopper business could really help an estate agent.
I know from past experience that Rightmove will sometimes do aggregate mystery shopping exercises before their local meetings and conferences. This is used to highlight the contact issues that estate agents have in relation to Rightmove leads. It’s always been seen as a way of Rightmove telling estate agents that they’re not making the most of the leads that they provide. Like a kind of pre-emptive strike before the complaints come in about the high cost of using the property portal. It takes the form of Rightmove placing a “dummy” lead in the account of every local estate agent. Then letting the conference audience know that 25% didn’t respond at all, 45% didn’t respond in the first 2 hours and 63% didn’t respond in the first hour or other such figures.
But I’m talking about a mystery shopping programme that goes beyond this basic level information. I’m thinking about a multi-site estate agent putting together a genuine and far-reaching mystery shopping programme that measures that quality of service that you get and the compliance that is used.
Quality of service
This can start with a phone call, email, web enquiry of visit to the branch. Actually anything that prompts a response from one of the team. From there the quality of service measures should be looking at something of value. I think that the way in which the customer is approached is the first measure of value. A mystery shopper business would really help an estate agent to get to grips with what they offer.
The measures can be around-
- Talking about the soft facts first
- Getting customer buy-in for further contact
- Discussing other services, such as mortgage and conveyancing in first discussion
For me, these are the basic tenets of how to deal with your customer on first contact. Finding out their story and then getting permission to contact and discussing what you can so for them are three guiding principles that would transform your offering to customers in one basic step.
Mystery Shopper Business: Compliance
The range of your compliance will depend on the makeup of your company and each setup will be different. From my time in corporate estate agents, there were always the disclaimers surrounding the link between the estate agents and the mortgage adviser. And the referral process that involves. Registering buyers property with full contact details would also be an internal compliance issue for many estate agents I’ve worked with. Having sketchy details and finding phone call after phone call unanswered was something that made many branch managers I worked with quite angry. Having a procedure in place to counter this would work. A programme to measure whether it’s happening would calm some nerves. And make sure that collecting the right information happens as a matter of course.