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Property agents should prepare for demand after lockdown

Now that the end of the third national lockdown nears and new spring instructions increase – property agents must be ready for an influx of new calls, according to research from Moneypenny.

Moneypenny handles more than 2 million property calls and live chats each year for 16,000 property agents and house builders across the UK each year.

Its latest figures highlight a steady 5% average weekly increase in enquiry volumes since the start of February 2021 and also show the peaks and troughs of call volumes since the pandemic started in 2020.

Despite the property market being closed for business during the first national lockdown (26 March to 1 June 2020), calls only declined by a third compared to pre lockdown volumes.

But in the week immediately after lockdown, volumes had increased by a hefty 114% (a 92% increase on the same period in 2019).

The sector saw an average 37% increase in call volumes compared to pre lockdown volumes during the seven weeks that followed too –  as the property market bounced back and home buyers capitalised on the newly announced stamp duty holiday.

The second lockdown (4 November – 2 December) showed a much less dramatic picture as the market stayed open throughout, albeit with heavy restrictions in place.

Property calls were just 2% down during the four week lockdown (compared to the 2020 weekly average) and were only 1% behind normal volumes for the time of year.

Joanne Tattum, Head of Estate Agent Sector at Moneypenny said: “This data shows just how turbulent the last year has been for property agents and how difficult it has been for them to anticipate and meet demand from home buyers.

“The  data following lockdown two suggests that volumes will be more consistent as this lockdown ends – but Spring is here, which is one of the busiest times for new instructions so this could make enquiry volumes much higher.

“We’ve already been seeing a steady 5% increase in call and live chat volumes since the start of last month and we expect this to keep building.”

She added: “With the extension of the stamp duty holiday, renewed confidence from the Covid roadmap and the pace of the vaccination roll-out – consumer confidence is increasing which could mean a particularly busy few months for agents.

“The sector must be able to take this demand in their stride and ensure that any lockdown quick fixes that were put in place regarding customer care or communication, have now been resolved.”

This is particularly sage advice as earlier this year, Moneypenny  reported that 85% of people think UK businesses are using Covid as an excuse for long call and live chat wait times – rather than putting adequate customer service support in place.

While property agents were among the best performing business in the UK, they must not rest on their laurels according to Joanne.

Joanne said:  “Almost a year into the pandemic, consumers expect businesses across all sectors to have adapted and be able to prioritise excellent customer care.

“Any agents still missing calls, or with long call and live chat waiting times, are essentially saying to potential home buyers and tenants they are not important, which will lead to lost revenue and tarnished reputations.  They must take remedial action quickly.

“Meeting demand and ensuring a positive, timely, professional and efficient first impression is imperative to agent performance and capitalising on the current buoyancy of the market. ”

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