Customer-Centricity In Times Of Crisis How new-age real estate applications are delivering superior customer experience
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Despite the economic crisis, India's realty market is looking forward to optimistic prospects. This optimism is being buoyed by the rise of remote working, the pandemic-induced realization of property as a critical financial and security asset, favorable governmental policies, and availability of affordable homes in city outskirts and suburbs.
Another key factor keeping the country's real estate sector animated is the presence of digital real estate platforms offering customized, safer and convenient experiences to prospective homeowners. As highlighted by a 2018 PwC study, customers look for speed, efficiency, and knowledgeable and helpful employees with the expectation of receiving satisfactory customer experience and tech-enabled platforms are meeting these expectations.
The tech-tonic shift: Why is tech integration essential for real estate?
Technology is emerging rapidly and shaping the future of all businesses, including real estate. As the key to surviving and thriving in the pandemic, the adoption of cutting-edge tech has only accelerated in the post-2020 landscape. Enterprises are leveraging digital tools to overcome the existing challenges exacerbated by, as well as those emerging in the wake of, the viral outbreak.
For instance, the pandemic has highlighted the various limitations inherent in the traditional buying and selling process in the realty sector. Visiting a property in person is highly risky in the present context as customers need to take all precautions to minimize the risk of accidental transmission. This has boosted the trend that was already in motion even before the viral outbreak: the shift away from the offline modes towards online channels of home-search.
Besides the health and safety-related concerns, this dynamic is being transformed with the entry of millennials and post-millennials as the new class of real estate customers. This generation is not only more tech-savvy but also have higher standards of living. They now make up 66 per cent of first-time homebuyers and 99 per cent of them use the Internet to research properties when starting out on their home-hunting journey.
In light of these developments, it would be an understatement to say that the tech-driven renovation of India's real estate is no longer an exception but the rule.
Real estate redefined by technology
Digitalization in real estate is democratizing the processes related to listing, buying, or renting properties. Digital real estate platforms are offering improved exposure to property owners. At the same time, they tap into the power of smart algorithms to provide property seekers with the most relevant search results as per their needs and preferences. Powered by AI, modern real estate players empower the customers by offering features such as travel time search (which helps them understand best place to rent depending on kids' school, spouse's workplace) and rentometer (which helps them predict the correct rent of the property).
Digital platforms are also simplifying transactions and compliance processes for customers. All paperwork and financial hassles—be it token payments, registration agreements, deposit payments, or move-in documents—can now be managed at the tap of a finger. The advantage of digitalization, however, extends further than personalization and convenience.
According to recent reports, the inoculation drive in India will take approximately 12 years to end successfully. However, postponing one's plans of owning a home by a decade is not practical. Against this backdrop, online modes are empowering prospective homebuyers to search for their dream home from the safe confines of their homes. AR/VR-based advanced features offered by leading real estate platforms are replacing physical walk-ins with virtual walkthroughs, facilitating a seamless simulation of a real-life site visit for customers.
A major challenge that many Indians faced amid the nationwide lockdowns in the early months of the pandemic is procuring essential items. This is a challenge that people continue to face when lockdowns are implemented in their neighborhood. Moreover, those living in societies also struggled to identify and keep track of visitors and staff members who may accidentally and unwittingly be carrying the infection.
In view of these challenges and more, tech-enabled real estate players rose to the occasion and upgraded the society mobile applications with features aimed at enabling the customers to better navigate the post-pandemic landscape.
How society management apps are delivering superlative customer experience
By leveraging advanced society management apps, one can make it safer, securer, and more convenient for people living in residential societies. In the early months of the viral outbreak, for instance, many leading real estate players partnered with big grocery stores to help their customers get essential grocery items delivered to their doorstep.
Some of these apps are also integrated with Aarogya Setu to enable the health tracker feature. It alerts the user if a visitor has visited or passed through a COVID-19 "red zone,' allowing them to make informed decisions about whether to grant the visitor entry or not. Some apps use facial recognition technology to supplement or replace biometric-based systems at the gates to allow society managers and residents to enable better hygiene compliance. These apps can not only send real-time updates to users about the arrival of their staff but also enables them to mark the staff's attendance digitally.
Digital society management solutions eliminate the need for users to brave the pandemic to drive transactional activities. Users can pay their rent and bills related to maintenance, security, etc. over the app itself without putting themselves or their loved ones at risk of contamination. These apps also enable society members to communicate through features such as group chat, text, broadcast messages, and VoIP calls. This allows the residents to collaborate and organize in keeping with the social distancing protocol and the mandate to minimize one's physical contact environment.
These are just a few examples of how a smart integration of digital technologies can empower modern real estate enterprises to deliver better customer experiences. The future is undeniably digital – and equipped with the right tech-driven strategies and a forward-facing vision, discerning brands can ensure that it is safer, healthier, and more convenient as well.