The UK division of the world’s largest estate agency says that agents need access to internal training if service levels across the industry are to improve.
Keller Williams UK argues that training can help agents to foster lifetime client relationships – an approach which is ultimately more sustainable and profitable.
Compensation paid by estate agents to consumers is rising
According to the most recent annual report from The Property Ombudsman, consumers made a total of 1,165 complaints against sales agents in 2017.
The total compensation awarded by TPO was £360,178 (up 4% from 2016), with an average award of £532 (up 34% from 2016).
“There are a significant number of complaints made against agents each year and the amount of money being paid back as compensation to consumers is rising,”
says Ben Taylor, Managing Director of Keller Williams UK.
“In our industry, it has always been the bad agents that get all the attention, with many of the best businesses going unnoticed. However, it’s clear that there is work to be done to improve service levels across the board and staff training should be a huge part of that process.”
Sales agents will need a professional qualification
Earlier this year, as part of its plans to professionalise the industry and improve the buying and selling process, the government announced that it intends to require sales agents to hold a professional qualification in order to be able to practice.
This is on top of plans to regulate letting agents with a similar qualification and industry code of practice.
However, Taylor believes this is not enough on it’s own to improve service levels,
“Plans to professionalise the industry with a national qualification are welcome – although, I don’t believe this will be enough to improve the average level of service on offer,” says Taylor.
“As yet, there is no indication of when a government-led qualification will be introduced and we have no idea the level of expertise and knowledge it will require to obtain.”
“As an industry, we therefore can’t wait around for the government’s plans for professionalisation. We must look at our own businesses and improve our workforce through staff training,” he says.
Taylor says that agents need to be taught how to go out and create opportunities for themselves.
He adds that as consumer habits continue to change, agents also need to adapt their approach to be effective – something which can be achieved through good training.
Meanwhile, accomplished utilisation of technology and social media are key areas where agents can improve, says Taylor.
“On top of this, there should be a focus on creating a culture of ‘clients for life’ where the agent provides long-term guidance and is the go-to property person for that individual,” he explains.
Keller Williams UK provides its agents with daily training and mentoring opportunities. In 2017, Keller Williams was recognised by Training magazine as the world’s number one training organisation across all industries.
“We truly believe that in the modern market the only way agents can thrive is by empowering their staff through extensive training and investing in the very best technology solutions the industry has to offer,” Taylor concludes.
Keller Williams is the largest estate agency brand in the world with over 185,000 associates working in 34 countries. It currently has four market centres in the UK, the newest of which was recently opened in London Bridge.