Why Hasn’t Tech Met the Needs Of Housing Consumers Yet?
NEW YORK – From Silicon Canal to Silicon Slopes to Silicon Prairie, tech cities continue to pop up across the nation. As long as the consumer continues to evolve and demand, tech gurus will be there to respond. Although many sectors have found success among this rise in tech, it seems others have tried and missed the mark. Now, the reasons why a business or technology was not successful is not what we are here to discuss, and for time’s sake, we won’t. But what I want to discuss is one major area in technology that more than often gets overlooked: comradery.
As we all know, buying and selling a home is a very emotional transaction for more than 85% of the nation’s housing consumer population (due to financial capabilities and experience). This emotion drives brokerages to specialization, which encourages consumers to need a human connection and coaching, not just A.I. This is what many tech gurus fail to recognize and easily overlook. However, we have been trained to expect new and modern consumer experiences. Let’s call this Pre-Desire-User-Experience (PDUx). The concept is easy to whiteboard, but much more challenging to deliver.
A new set of expectations
Simply put, consumers have a new set of expectations based on other contemporary consumer experiences (think Amazon, Uber, Grubhub, Apple, Airbnb, etc.). The idea is to provide the consumer with what they need and want at the moment or before they think they want it. If your customer’s inner-speak is, “I need and want … and where do I start …?”, the question then becomes, how does the housing industry respond?
Unfortunately, as a whole, we haven’t.
When consumers buy and sell a home, they are required to complete this transaction while navigating many different industries – real estate sales, real estate financing, moving services, home products and services, security, energy and utilities, warranty, insurance, and more. Let’s refer to each of these industries as kingdoms, all of which are vying for the consumer’s attention but operate quite competitively and separate.
Today, most technology strategies are focused on staying within each of these various kingdoms, and often the gurus themselves establish their careers within that sector. The individual industries that make up the Housing Market are a somewhat esoteric set of knowledge. And more consideration needs to be on the actual result. We must all ask the question, are we responding to our customer’s needs? We need to look beyond the traditional Net Promoter Score and Social Surveys, asking, “Were you satisfied with the lending experience?” What we need to ask is, “did you enjoy selling and buying a new home?” Unfortunately, that answer is most often unequivocally, “No."
Managing the outcome
Housing consumers gauge met expectations based on two very straight forward outcomes: Was it easy or difficult? And was it fair? When consumers are forced to work with multiple, disjointed industries to complete a single transaction, each of which is complex, it makes it nearly impossible to meet these trained and ingrained expectations. This disjointedness also dramatically increases the overall cost of housing.
As a whole, regardless of what industry career path you operate within, you need to start asking some new questions: Do you satisfy our client’s overall housing expectations? And are you doing it in a way that supplies delight when buying a home, while at the same time providing PDUx and saving your customer money in the process? If you want to respond positively to these questions, it may be time to expand your current technological strategy. There is a way to come together as an industry to create this type of comradery, save money, and streamline processes while unilaterally making it easy for all parties involved.
The technology is here and readily available amongst all industry kingdoms. It’s time that we work together to supply real estate professionals with predictable and sustainable career experience, while at the same time finally meeting our clients’ overall expectations. We can delight them if we work together and think together.
This article originally appeared in the REAL Trends Newsletter and is reprinted with permission of REAL Trends, Inc., 2019, Dave Zitting.