In the pre-Uber era, there existed a world where you paid Rs. 2,000 for an early morning cab to catch a flight. Even then there were anxious moments of uncertainty before the cab actually arrived. What did Uber change? Let me try to answer that.
Cab drivers did two jobs – first driving customers from Point A to Point B; and second customer service which includes on time availability, price negotiation, car cleanliness etc. While drivers in general did a decent job of the first part, they sucked at the second. Uber’s model took over the responsibility of customer service, even as drivers continue to drive customers from A to B. That created magic!
Real Estate brokers, much like the traditional cab driver, are people we love to hate. Everyone has horror stories – of miscommunication, hard selling and unkept promises. These are real problems. But be that as it may, brokers are a necessity to the real estate system. Mining available properties in a neighborhood is a challenge and brokers do a good job at finding them, which requires some hustle. What they don’t do as well is customer servicing. Customer servicing includes everything from providing authentic information, pictures, scheduling visits and paperwork. If you can standardize this, magic can happen in real estate.
Standardization cannot happen just based on intent, it has to be backed by a far superior customer offering. Going back, Uber was able to drive standardization on top of a superior customer offering. App-based anytime-anywhere cab was a fundamentally superior offering, winning them customer loyalty and hence the ability to drive these changes in the market.
At FastFox, we are transforming customer experience through Open Houses – allowing customers to self-serve home options open for customer visits. Now, they don’t have to waste time for owner appointments or keys or deal with hard selling brokers. It’s a superior offering that reduces your home search time from days to hours.
Nevertheless, brokers remain a part of the solution. In real estate, inventory is not online (not tech adoption issue; will cover separately) and we effectively use broker partnerships to source inventory and create a world-class experience for the customers. We do not seek to eliminate brokers but rather partner with them to create supply depth. And use it to power Open Houses – a fundamentally superior customer offering.
Author: Pallav Pandey
Passionate about building tech-enabled businesses in emerging markets. Excited to work with young companies in their journey from 0 to 1.