A leading cloud-based software firm has said agents need to embrace the cloud and realise its full potential to thrive in an increasingly digital market.
Openview – Powered by VTUK, now part of the iamproperty Group, claims there are many benefits to the cloud, but certain misconceptions may be preventing agents from fully embracing it.
“Cloud-based working is nothing new – it’s been around for the last two decades. Since the pandemic, many agents have become more mobile – working from anywhere in some cases. Of course, most still have a high street base, but it’s becoming less fixed than that, and so the need to access data from anywhere, on any device, securely, has taken on more importance than ever.”
“Those who don’t get their head ‘in the cloud’ and use it to its fullest could be left behind by the competition and missing out on time-saving efficiencies,” Adam Rackham, Openview’s Operations Director, said.
“There are many benefits to the cloud for agents, including accessing their data anywhere, on any device with in-built security. But what’s more, agents can save and reduce on IT costs, support and hardware, and rely on data that is secure and backed up regularly.”
Rackham says agents can future-proof their business by fully embracing the cloud now and leading the way as the market becomes ever-more digital. But he also recognises the hesitancy and legitimate concerns of some agents regarding the cloud.
“There are a number of misconceptions surrounding the cloud which could make some agents understandably quite nervous. This includes the fear of their data being taken away from them, potential GDPR headaches and losing control over their data in the cloud. There’s also the idea that the data is used for marketing purposes,” Rackham said.
“To keep up with today’s market – and an ever-more tech-savvy customer base – agents need to embrace cloud-based solutions. The pandemic just accelerated this for us, it was inevitable, and we now need to keep pace.”
“Whether it’s business efficiencies, cost-benefits, or the competitive advantage it holds, the cloud can’t be ignored. Research suggests that 80% of the top real estate performers in the USA, for example, are using some form of cloud solution,” Rackham explained.
Winning more instructions
When it’s time for homeowners to sell their home, what is it exactly that makes them choose one estate agent over another? With over 19,000 estate agent branches in the UK, and hundreds of online agencies promising low, flat fees, the competition between agencies is fierce.
“Therefore, to help put your best foot forward, you could use cloud services to win more instructions. One popular cloud service is email marketing which is not only cost effective and simple to use, but also customisable, insightful, and reliable,” Rackham says.
“Perhaps one of the most beneficial features is real-time insights. It’s easier than ever to gain statistics about who’s opening emails, when they’re opening them, and what links people are clicking. This insight can help to deliver leads to agents, making it simpler for them to go out and win new instructions. Lots of forward-thinking agents are already taking advantage of this, but not nearly enough.”
Rackham says migrating to the cloud is going ‘to take your agency to the next level’. Estate agents can offer financial calculation tools, virtual tours, online form fills, customer service chatbots, omnichannel messaging, and the list goes on when it comes to cloud solutions.
“The goal, ultimately, is to make your services as seamless as possible in the future, which will help homebuyers and sellers to make informed decisions and, in the long run, foster strong relationships that lead to better reviews, a better reputation and a stronger business,” Rackham concludes.
Top benefits of cloud-based solutions to help busy agents
If you’re still not quite convinced that cloud-based solutions are the way forward, here’s Openview highlights benefits that estate agents can enjoy from getting their head into the cloud:
The cloud enables files to be accessible from anywhere and on any device as long as you have a functional internet connection.
This will certainly help when you are carrying out a client visit and can also showcase your recent work or upcoming projects as reference.
IT security is major concern for most businesses and implementing robust security can be both expensive and challenging if you have limited budgets.
Opting for the cloud can help resolve this issue in a cost-effective way. Cloud-based services, such as VTUK, utilise the most advanced tools to protect data and deploy next-gen firewalls with intrusion and malware protection to keep cyber criminals at bay.
With cloud computing, the latest updates are generally taken care of by cloud service provider. This leads to saving on investments towards maintaining servers.
Data recovery, insights, and control
Data is an integral part of decision-making, providing insights that can aid improved productivity, cost effectiveness, marketing, web design and more.
In case of emergencies, there is no real threat to data loss if you are operating on the cloud. Prior to the advent of cloud, agents had to send files back and forth before zeroing in on the final document, and often, data was lost during this process.
Now, with cloud computing, multiple users can access the same file from different locations and suggest changes in real time, thus leading to reduced error rate and less data lost.
Joined-up integrated working
API connections to other data sources, such as your own website, to make data available directly from your CRM to your Vendors, Landlords, Tenants, Applicants and even Contractors, all via your own website and in real-time. These connections can also a lot of the time be between industry suppliers, making your processes a lot slicker.
Disaster management and mitigation
Disaster management can be done effectively using cloud-based technologies which will greatly minimise the risk of unexpected losses that might occur due to a natural disaster.