19 September 2018 | Harriet Garner
Here at Vaboo, we think the success of a lettings business pivots on an understanding of the people who rent from you. For too long, many operating in the private rented sector have been complacent towards customer experience.
To build a robust lettings business of the future, the smartest agents are identifying ways in which they can build a good renter experience into their existing services. With the impending tenant fee ban, the future of lettings lies in retention rather than churn, therefore finding ways of securing positive renter engagement with your brand is central to achieving it.
Renter retention serves as an excellent opportunity to upsell service add-ons that serve as additional revenue streams. To maximise this opportunity, agents must begin to really understand the wants and needs of their customers.
We had a chat with a few renters to see what they would like to see from their providers
"I would love to be able to feel as if I could make the place I rent more of my home. I think feeling free to paint or hang up pictures is one of the best ways to make somewhere feel like home" said Paula*,
"I actually think I would be more inclined to rent with someone who charged higher rent if they were flexible in their approach to minor interior alterations - especially if I was looking to settle somewhere long-term" she explains.
Long-term tenancy agreements have dominated a lot of industry discussions recently due to the government's consultation on mandatory 3-year tenancy agreements,
"As a young renter, feeling tied to a tenancy for a long period of time would most likely be a deterrent for me. However, I do understand their appeal for family renters," explains renter Greg.
"What I have seen from providers which have been really valuable is break clauses in agreements. Knowing that there is a flexibility when it comes to your tenancy length allows you to make quick decisions about where you're planning on living knowing that if it doesn't feel right, you can leave,"
"I do really think the longer-term tenancy you sign the more flexibility you should have with what you do with a property. I'm not talking about knocking down walls but feeling like you can make a space your own for a longer period of time can only be a win-win for the letting agent and the renter."
"If you're good tenant, look after a property and pay your rent on time then I think you should be afforded the option to make moderate alterations to the place you live without the fear of being reprimanded when you leave," says Gregg.
The change in the offering
The renting market is changing. Where homeownership was once the end goal, people are now reconciling themselves with long-term renting and with that comes an expectation of better service.
"Given the current state of the housing market, and that it's increasingly unlikely I'll ever be able to own my own home I think Build to Rent is a really appealing offer," says Paula.
“Being confident in a transparent agreement as well as access to amenities is definitely very attractive.”
Greg is an agreement, "To be honest, as owning property seems so far away, I'm really taken in with the idea of something like Build to Rent. Ultimately, if you're paying a higher price point for something that you would never be able to afford if you were planning on buying then committing to a lifetime of renting makes sense."
"I feel like if I got used to living in a certain place, I wouldn't feel particularly inclined to downsize or compromise on my renting experience for the sake of buying" Greg explains.
For traditional agents, there is still an opportunity to capitalise on higher priced rents in exchange for service offering and delivery that matches up.
Renting of the future
As time goes by, more and more renter's will expect a certain level of customer service and experience. Those who are not attuned to their customer's wants and needs and, who are not already looking for proactive solutions to tap into them, will find themselves on the back foot in the future.
We live in an era where service levels and customer expectation are soaring. In order for traditional letting agents to survive and thrive in this changing market, they need to be looking to get ahead of their competition and reap the rewards.
Our perks and engagement platform offer agents the opportunity to do just that. Request a no-obligation demo to find out what we could do for you.
*Renters names have been changed