Revisting a series that we first ran in 2019 exploring the new ways professionals are working in the property industry, Kristjan Byfield, reflects on progress and plots his wishes for the tech solutions we are yet to see.
Describe the progress of tech in estate agency in the past three years
Adoption of tech across the residential agency sectors has continued at a steady pace. Covid has forced many organisations off the fence whether that be to be more efficient, to be able to operate more remotely or to improve job satisfaction- or all of these
Is there tech that you rely on daily?
The obvious answer is a CRM, however key partners or components we use on a daily basis include:
- digital documents & signatures
- 4k virtual tours
- tech-led tenant referencing
- our landlord & tenant app & portals
- Facetime and Google Meet
- tenant enquiry management applications (LeadPro & Area)
- Social media management and targeting platforms (CCT & Spoke)
- The Depositary (our tenancy conclusion automation platform).
How has tech impacted your role?
Using the right tech enables us to operate with around one third less staff than many of our competitors whilst also delivering our team a streamlined and more enjoyable role. Double whammy winner as they get better job satisfaction and we get better profit margins- all whilst our clients & customers get a modern, digitally led journey with us.
Have your expectations about the benefits of tech changed?
We have been on a mission for a while now to automate/use tech to handle any and every part of the process where a human doesn’t add specific value. There isn’t enough tech or good enough tech yet to facilitate this, but it is constantly evolving so we will get there. A critical part of this is a seismic shift by CRMs to become genuinely open creating a more singular eco-system. We’re not there yet but we are getting there. Im quite excited about where we should be in around 3 years’ time.
What is on your wishlist for tech, is there a problem you wish tech could solve?
I don’t think there are any areas that stand out as being unserved by tech- however the quality and standard of some tech leaves many wanting, and some is increasingly old with a need for a complete rebuild. This and the (already mentioned) radical improvement of CRM integrated eco-systems.
How does your organisation approach innovation, find new tech solutions?
Primarily we start with an issue or challenge we want to solve and go from there. This is usually established as a team or operation with us highlighting any or all issues and objectives, drilling down as a team to establish our key targets and then going through a research, tendering & implementation process. However, it is vital that you revisit products and reinvest in ongoing training to understand everything a product can do to ensure you are squeezing every bit of juice from each tech lemon.