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Putting your customer front and centre is not a strategy, it's our vision!

What does good customer service look like in 2023?

Reading time: 3 mins read

With over 25 years in the lettings sector, we know a thing or two about how customer service has evolved during that time. Here’s what we have learned about what customers need from agencies today and tomorrow.

In times past, businesses would offer a service and customers would start using it. Service levels were pretty similar. Customer service was reactive and was mainly concerned with responding to customer-generated queries as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Over time, the adoption of technology in all of our daily lives has meant that a customer-centric approach is now essential.

For TBL, customer experience has always been our most important goal. When we started, technology was often seen as an auxiliary function, something installed on a server in the back office that people didn’t think about much.

We still made a name for ourselves with our bespoke approach to property software: we have always taken the time to engage with our customers, even sitting alongside them to see how they work both with and without our software and services. 

We did this because we wanted to deliver real value for our customers, and that meant understanding not just what they wanted, listening to what they told us, but also what they needed: by seeing the gaps in their business where they were inefficient or where our technology could help. 

We differentiated ourselves by resourcing for change and improvements, releasing updates to our Enterprise-grade software multiple times a year, and ensuring that every customer could choose to run their business their own way. We delivered what our customers needed: malleable property software on a rock-solid information management platform. 

The result: 25 years of continual investment and innovation, bringing the property industry on in leaps and bounds. Game-changing offerings to the market.

Nowadays, agencies understand that tech is something that is critical to growth and retaining market share. In a highly competitive marketplace, what makes agencies stand out is excellent customer service. The only way to do that is by harnessing the power of technology.


How to create a customer-centric offering

 Our approach to helping our agency clients to give outstanding customer service looks like this:

  • We focus on continuous improvements to our products. This enables our clients to also continuously improve and to scale their businesses easily.
  • Our relationships with clients are based on trust. We improve their customers’ experience through an open, honest dialogue and continuous analysis of their business, which allows us to target our development work to solve their problems effectively.
  • We encourage collaboration. To build a better more human relationship with their customers, we encourage agencies to learn from their clients, using the insights to make their processes and workflows smoother and more efficient.
  • We help agencies to hold and analyse accurate, rich data that makes strategic decision-making better because it’s no longer based on guesswork.

It’s clear that a key area for focus is for customers and service providers to work in partnership to achieve individual and common objectives. This is plain common sense. Why would you guess what your customer wants when you can ask them? Why would you assume when you can observe the customer to see the problem in action?

Making your customers’ problems your priority is something that TBL has done throughout our quarter of a century in the lettings sector. 

For us, tech is all about solving human business problems. We talk to functional leaders and tech leaders in our client’s businesses and we also take time to observe their teams operationally to understand their day-to-day issues and frustrations, which is clearly visible in the evolution of our flagship product, PropCo. 

Our clients and we invest our time and resources into discovering and solving problems and developing improvements to the working lives of property people and their customers. As a result, we’re able to constantly create tech-enabled solutions that improve human lives.

Although tech is the backbone of TBL’s services, our commitment to the customer experience means that we recognise that one size does not fit all. That’s why, back in 2008, we established Kaypio, our back-office outsourcing division, which works as an extension of our customer’s teams to fill any back-office gaps and to create special projects. 

Need a gas safety or negotiator commission audit doing? No problem. Just acquired a large portfolio and need temporary help to integrate the resulting data? We’ve got you covered. Planning an exit and want to explore a lean model with efficiencies? We can help you. Overwhelmed by HMO applications? Our team can support you in clearing the backlog.

Flexibility and an absolute commitment to solving our clients’ problems have meant that we are constantly looking at what’s on the horizon and pre-empting issues wherever possible. Over the past few years, the compliance burden has seen an avalanche of admin work swamping agents. 

That’s why TBL created CheckDocs, which is designed to automate, streamline and reduce the compliance burden created by EPCs, Right to Rent and HMO Licensing, freeing up agent time for more enjoyable, more profitable work.


What does the future hold for agents?

Breakthrough innovation will undoubtedly come through increased collaboration. Between agencies and their tech provider, but also between agencies and their own customers. As we navigate an ever more tech-enabled world, the collaboration will enable a joined-up approach that gives customers what they really need rather than what we think they need.

Data-driven decision-making will help agents to better understand their business and create best practice models based on reality, not guesswork. Moving forward, this will also facilitate the adoption of AI into more agency-related processes for maximum efficiency and effectiveness.

Ultimately, the irony about tech is that it exists to make the human experience better. The tech takes care of boring, time-consuming, error-producing admin tasks so that people can focus on the customer experience. 

As we continue to innovate and adopt new technology, we need to make sure that customers enjoy a more human experience backed up by time-saving, convenient technology. Human interaction is always going to be at the heart of outstanding customer service that genuinely puts the customer first.