Joe Pepper, CEO of tmgroup explains how tm are helping law firms and estate agents offer a truly digital consumer experience.
It is a myth that all business have gone digital. Whilst consumers are used to instant online purchasing and interacting with a multitude of apps that manage everything from holidays to finances, many businesses are only at the start of becoming truly digital. They may have digitised paper into pdfs, converted mail into email and embraced digital workflows to create an impression of a seamless consumer journey, but look underneath the bonnet and you’ll find that most firms are peddling frenetically to maintain the façade.
Truly digitising processes creates challenges for any business
Truly digitising an end to end process creates a challenge for any business, and that challenge is exacerbated where a complex process, for example a property transaction, involves multiple parties operating across numerous platforms which are rarely integrated. The challenge is heightened where the process, itself, is urgently in need of re-designing.
A recent report identified that the average UK Property Transaction involved the exchange of over 300 emails between the various parties, including the sharing of 120 versions of document. There’s a clear and obvious impact on efficiency, with the average property transaction reported to take anything between 18 and 24 weeks. Ten years ago it used to take 12 weeks.
“Time kills deals”
The impact of this inefficiency on the consumer is significant. There’s an old saying in business: “time kills deals”; and this is absolutely the case with consumers wanting to buy a home. Once the excitement of choosing a house has worn off, being left in the dark for no obvious reason starts to leave the consumer vulnerable to a change of heart.
Between 30-33% of UK Property Transactions fall-through between the point of an agreement to purchase, and the exchange of contracts. This wastes money and places a huge strain on consumers, neither of which benefits the UK economy.
Putting the consumer at the heart of the transaction
In a property transaction, the consumer is everybody’s customer but they currently sit on the periphery of the transaction, often receiving different messages from each party they communicate with. It’s unsurprising that The Property Ombudsman ranks poor communication as one of the leading causes of complaints.
To provide the seamless consumer experience that embracing digital should deliver, the consumer must sit at the heart of an efficient, transparent process that provides accurate, relevant information and certainty. To achieve that we need to create a digital space which allows the consumer to access accurate updates on the progress of their transactions, removes duplication in the process and facilitates data sharing between multiple parties irrespective of the operating systems being used.
As a consumer, I should only have to complete one Anti-Money Laundering process and I should not have to provide the same information to several different parties at various stages. I should be able to share the details of the property I am buying with my mortgage broker or lender, who in turn should be able to see when I am likely to complete. I should be able to book a surveyor and see and share their report with all relevant parties. I should be able to complete any forms that are required by the estate agent or the conveyancer – including the recently proposed Property Information Questionnaire with information that’s sourced from third parties being automatically populated via data feeds. I should be able to demonstrate that I’ve completed required tasks, such as arranging insurance on the property, and crucially I should be able to send questions to the various parties involved and receive a response quickly, because everybody is working in the same digital space. I should, I should, I should… but I can’t!
What are tmgroup doing to turn ‘I can’t’ into ‘I can’?
At tmgroup, we are focusing on bringing the consumer into a digital space, and then developing the integration points to streamline the property transaction for the benefit of all. We’ve been helping consumers digitally interact with conveyancers for several years now through the tmconnect platform, from completing forms and sharing documents, to providing all parties with an accurate and up to date data portal.
Similarly, our new mio app allows the consumer to communicate directly with their estate agent, providing transparency around not just the progress of their own property transaction, but crucially how other parties in the chain are progressing with their own transactions.
For more information on how tmgroup are turning ‘I can’t’ into ‘I can’ and how this could benefit your firm, please get in touch with your Account Manager.