The challenges that Covid-19 has thrown at all of us over the last couple of months has truly been unprecedented. For Kay & Burton this has focused our efforts on supporting our clients while maintaining the health and safety of our team and the community we serve.
Australians should be incredibly proud of the way we have responded to this crisis and the results from our strict compliance to the “stay at home directions”. The decision by the federal and state governments to classify residential property transactions as an “essential service” has proven to also be correct by the demand for real estate services during the restrictions. At Kay & Burton we have listed a similar number of properties this March and April to 2019 and received nearly 4,500 buyer enquiries.
The biggest impacts on the real estate industry have been from the restrictions on Open for Inspections and Auctions, the working from home directive and how to practice social distancing while viewing property during private inspections.
We believed the key to success in these times was to make it as efficient as possible for sellers to list and promote their property, buyers to inspect it and to continue to engage the market in a caring and entertaining way. To achieve this outcome, we put all our energies into the following four focus areas:
New Films and Property Tours
New Luxury Property Tours provide buyers with a walk through of the house complete with a comprehensive overview of the key features of each room provided by the agent. Additionally, we introduced 360 Degree Virtual Tours to enable buyers to view the space at their leisure, measure for furniture and get a “dolls house” view of the properties’ dimensions.
New Online Private Inspection Booking System
Buyers can now book a private inspection with an agent 24/7 utilising our new online booking system complete with SMS reminders.
Livestream Property Tours
International buyers were treated to a live tour via our Juwai international real estate partners.
New Digital Marketing campaigns
We have amended our market leading Digital Marketing campaigns to make them longer (45 days) and with new advertising formats such as Canvas Ads to drive increased buyer enquiry.
2. The Sales Process
The move from public Open for Inspections to private appointments has resulted in a greater need to pre-qualify buyers. Doing so effectively has reduced the volume of inspections but increased the inspection to offer conversion rate.
We continue to use Expressions of Interest as a preferred selling method and these have remained very popular in this environment.
Process improvements were critical to ensure we maintained our famed high levels of customer service while all of our team members worked from home. Within days of the work from home directive we had all support team members set up to work with remote access to our new Zendesk workflow management system.
This ensured that all requests were trackable, and all sales files actioned immediately. To date we have had over 500 requests go through this system with no issues reported.
4. Communication and Engagement
There was so much communication as a result of the fast-changing nature of the Covid-19 crisis. In order to deliver this effectively we developed a dedicated section on our website to distribute the volumes of content we were required to share with our clients as the Covid-19 crisis took hold.
The ever-evolving impact of Covid-19 on Landlords and Tenants was one of the biggest areas of interest and concern from our clients. To help them sift-through the flood of news, information and opinion we developed a Frequently Asked Questions section. We followed this up with a Livestream presentation from Carolyn Purnell-Webb and our key Property Management leaders, providing expert advice on the national Landlord and Tenant legislation. Carolyn’s qualifications as a Lawyer with an MBA has been invaluable for our business and our clients during this time.
Our recently launched Concierge division has really come into its’ own during the Covid-19 crisis. A service designed to assist clients with any of their home requirements was always going to be hugely valuable during the “stay-at-home-directions”. Kay & Burton Concierge has provided recommendations on everything from home delivery services, financial advisors, how to save money on your utilities and emergency home repairs.
With a plethora of distressing news, it was important to lighten the mood and provide some relief for our clients and their families from the boredom of isolation. We developed an #AtHomeWithKB campaign that included an instructional series featuring “how to survive lockdown” advice from leading businesses in our communities, an Easter Colouring Competition for the kids sponsored by Sisko Chocolates and a #SendMumLove Mother’s Day Competition sponsored by Organic Crew.
Lastly, we wanted to capture the mood of our team and our clients in a film during this unprecedented time. Something that picked up on the awakening we were sensing in our communities. You could say the silver lining in a very dark cloud. We felt that people had come to understand during this time what is truly important to them. Their family, their friends and their home and we hope to be a part of that journey with them in the future.