CUSTOMER satisfaction in the Build to Rent market will one day be measured in terms of happiness and joy, according to an Experience Makers panel which gathered during the UKAA’s BTR Festival.
The panel represented a varied selection of professionals working in BTR, who gave their views in a Blankety Blank-style session, adding some fun and glitz to the festival line up.
To the question: 'In the future, successful BTR schemes will be measured in __________?' , the panellists separately came up with ‘happiness’, ‘joy’ and ‘well-being’, as well as the more prosaic ‘reviews’ and ‘carbon used.’
The panel members were Azelea Cheung (Brand Experience Manager At Get Living), Will Sandy ( Associate, McGregor Coxall), Nick Hammond (Head of BTR at Deverell Smith), Tim Stephen (asset manager at Amber Energy) and Adam Scott (Founder, FreeState)
Azelea said: 'More traditional measuring tools like Net Promotor Scores are not going to go away yet but I would like to see a world where we can measure how happy someone is. We are also in a world where people want things faster and with less hassle so maybe there should be an effort scale there too.'
“ Ideally I would like to be able to say that our customers are 99 per cent happy, with their effort levels at zero.”
Will Sandy and Adam Scott both filled in the blank with “well-being and joy” with Scott adding: 'Fundamentally, you have to run these schemes as though they are a constantly evolving show.'
“ We should learn from the entertainment industry, put the audience first and measure the success on a dollar-per-clap basis
'All the stakeholders should work together and constantly evolve so you get better and better and you use each experience to inform the next move.'
He added that measurement was crucial.
'In retail and brand building you measure every day, every week; it’s critical,” he said. “Within the built environment people do lots of measuring up front and often never do it again. You have to keep your product relevant for your audience, or they will move on.'
The panel was discussing ideas for the future of customer experience in Build To Rent and to see if diverse players in the property industry could find synergies with their views.
Harriet Jones, Producer at Experience Makers and event host says 'It shows how real estate is evolving.'
'' increasing alignment in understanding - particularly around planning from a customer viewpoint and the need to measure "
'There’s a much more diverse set of players in the conversation about what makes a successful BTR development. From the questions posed today, it seems there is increasing alignment in understanding - particularly around planning from a customer viewpoint and the need to measure.’
Other key takeaways from the session included:
Time is the greatest commodity
Future BTR customers will prioritise their time, responsiveness and sustainability while expecting their homes to be more flexible. The panel agreed that Covid-19 had made everyone revisit their relationship with outside space and working from home had illustrated the need for space to be more flexible.
Keep it real
The most important considerations around building community include authenticity, diversity and engagement. “Authenticity is about a tailored approach that responds to the local environment,” said Will Sandy
Don't forget employer brand
According to Nick Hammond, customer brand should align with the employer brand. He said: “BTR schemes can nail their customer brand but often they don’t think about their brand as an employer. If they hire the best people and do their best by them, the employees will look after your brand.
Back to basics
For Tim Stephen, it’s important to get the basics right. “There is no point trying to get to Version 3.0 if you’re at Version 1.0 in terms of basics. If you have a solid base, you can get to 2.0 and 3.0 more easily. You have to build trust.”
Look beyond the industry
The BTR sector will be ‘stealing’ people from hospitality, retail, airlines and the leisure industry. “These are sectors with high volume and high demand and the people working in them have an amazing work ethic. They also have customer experience in their DNA,” said Nick Hammond. “They are also people hit hardest by the pandemic. These are the people who can improve the image of the property industry.”