Personal relationships are still the heartbeat of business success, despite the increasing use of technology. Personal relationships convey how we value one another. Personal relationships enable us to have empathy with one another’s situations.
In his seminal book, “How to win friends and influence people,” Dale Carnegie wrote:
“If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.”
Business relationships are as much about understanding the challenges we all face in our daily encounters.
The search industry has seen significant changes in recent years. Massive consolidation has seen so many of the traditional search companies swallowed up into larger corporates. We have to find ways of differentiating our service offerings, building that trust in client relationships, and delivering services which conveyancers feel add value to their business.
Don’t get me wrong, consolidation has brought with it huge advances in technology and customer experience. Gone are the days of endlessly calling suppliers to order reports, collating them manually, printing off reams of paper and hand delivering the search to the office…. and good riddance too! With the exception of local authority searches, most of the reports are now available same day, with many returned in minutes.
The delivery platforms are slicker, smarter, more intuitive and spot potential risks that might need to be accounted for, and errors in search requests. But some of this technological advancement has come at the expense of good, old-fashioned customer service. The personal touch.
Do we rely on technology too much? Are chat bots, apps and portals what our clients really want and need? What happens when things go wrong? People need reassurance, they need to be able to pick up the phone, or send an email, and feel as though somebody is taking a personal interest in resolving their issue rather than “chat” to a faceless bot or send messages via portals.
I recently won back a client from a rival supplier. When I asked what it was that brought them back to us they said that they felt as though they were a number, rather than a client. It was the personal touch that was missing from their communications; they didn’t feel as though they ever spoke to the same person twice. There wasn’t a familiar voice at the end of phone when things went wrong (as things inevitably do in conveyancing!).
In our experience 90% of orders go through with little to no intervention required. But that 10% is where relationships are made and broken. This is where knowledge, experience, and expertise really make a difference. Recognising that the conveyancer is almost certainly under pressure, whether it be from the client, agent or the other side, and being able to take that weight off and deal with the issue through to completion is a critical part of the business relationship.
Whether it’s a query on a report back which requires clarification, or chasing up an expedited service. It’s about trusting that the job is going to get done right, first time.
The challenge when introducing technology is that you take a step back from that personal touch. You risk losing the experience and expertise provided by the people when you are over-reliant on the technology. At Geodesys we have people who have been with us since the start, 25 years (and counting!), and no amount of technology will replace their understanding and expertise. They are an integral part of our account management and customer service offering. They know the search industry inside out.
The key is getting the right combination of technology and people.
Going back to Dale Carnegie’s quote; the organisations who can empathise with the clients, and understand how to respond, will be the best at winning friends and influencing others.
Kay Toon is an Account Manager at Geodesys
This article was submitted to be published by Geodesys as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Conveyancer. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Conveyancer.