I had an interesting conversation with Stephen Hayter of MyHomeMove last week. He highlighted how, in the majority of cases, the email contact details for an estate agent are info@(estateagentname)

We noted that this is also, more often than not, the email for all portal and other enquiries too, which presumably means that at many estate agents, there’s one incredibly bloated inbox that contains near enough everything from a general enquiry through to a request for urgent information required to effect an exchange of contracts.

Many commentators have highlighted how an exchange of contracts is now taking 14 weeks on average from an offer being accepted and whilst there are all sorts of enquiries, initiatives and new proptech propositions to try and reduce this back to the 8 week average of the 1980’s, surely having an identified person/team for sales progression with a dedicated email address would be a simple yet significant step in the right direction?

Indeed, as we seek to find a solution to this really tardy performance, perhaps we should remind ourselves of Sir Clive Woodward’s excellent presentation at our event a few years ago when he highlighted that both the England Rugby World Cup winners and Team GB Olympics both found success by 100×1% rather than one sweeping change.

I do feel though that there’s an even bigger issue with the info@ email address, one that perhaps goes a long way to explaining why too many agencies are underperforming.

I highlighted last week how over half of all estate agents have as their “differential” that they’re “independent, professional and long established”. Dig deeper and the majority also claim to offer a “highly personal service” but a quick review of 160 agents websites, (those that feature in a search for within 10 miles of Leatherhead in, shows that in 158 of cases the contact details are either info@, enquiries@, sales/lettings@ or name of town@ And how “highly personal” is that?

Instead, may I suggest that for each branch there’s an individual highlighted as the principle contact, ideally with both a dedicated email and phone number too. That this person be focussed on delivering a brilliant “first touch” experience and thereby creating the right first impression. That this individual be the face of the brand, someone who represents the values of the company.

There is one estate agency that is doing this. They highlight each individual for an area. You can email this person directly and also click to facetime with them or call them directly. This company is PurpleBricks – as you can see here for a search in Leatherhead. A number of “traditional” agents label PurpleBricks as “onliners” or “callcentre agents” but from consumers’ first contact they appear quite the opposite, indeed “highly personal” even.

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