The new resilience: How the customer is king


The 2018 RealService Customer Experience Index suggests property companies need to do more to adapt to a new landscape
BEING resilient in a disrupted market is something you would think the property industry would be well used to.
For resilience is still about avoiding building in earthquake zones or on flood plains. It is also about being able to ride the waves of financial boom and bust and the unpredictability of global politics. But now it’s also about adapting to the new world order where the customer – fickle, savvy and demanding – is king.
Coping with the changing customer landscape is the new resilience.
With all this going on it would seem obvious that property companies should be doing their utmost to keep their clients happy, to engage with their customers and earn their loyalty.  After all, research has proven that companies who take that route enjoy increased economic returns and it is the sort of investment that can pay dividends whatever the prevailing economic climate.
Yet, surprisingly, the Net Promoter Score for property companies – the NPS being the benchmark by which the research industry measures customer loyalty, or a willingness to recommend – has dropped over the past 12 months. That suggests property companies are not doing enough to keep their clients happy or loyal and are therefore risking their ability to be resilient.
While the likes of Amazon and John Lewis typically enjoy extremely high NPS ratings, the mark for the property industry, as researched by RealService, a customer experience consultancy based in London, has fallen from 27.0 to 21.7 over the last 12 months.
The RealService Customer Experience Index is based on 35,000 responses to questions put to residential and commercial clients over the last two years, covering eight core areas and incorporating overall Net Promoter Scores. These combine to create the Index, which Real Service managing director Howard Morgan hopes will become a standard measure across the industry.
“It’s an improvement tool which sets a benchmark across the industry,” he said. “Companies are starting to put the customer at the forefront of their thinking and it is important that we have a means of measuring their progress in that regard.”
RealService clients can analyse their own data and compare their RealService CXI score with their peers in the property industry.
Published annually, the Index recognises that becoming resilient to changing consumer demands is a key concept in the property business and not something which can be targeted briefly and then put on the shelf.
“Resilience in the property industry has transformed to include not only the physical resilience of buildings and the ability to withstand economic and political shocks but also now the changing nature of the customer,” said Morgan.
Some companies are leading the way and have looked to future-proof their business by finding ground-breaking ideas to introduce positive customer experiences – and keep up with the newest trends.
For example, Storey, a brand of British Land, now offers flexible workspaces that reflect the tendency for shorter leases, while The Crown Estate are also about to launch a London-based serviced office product.
In addition, these and other RealService clients have also commissioned projects to investigate customer priorities and levels of satisfaction. The results of these ventures have helped guide policy.
“We admire these companies for realising that that they have become brands who need to connect with their customers if they want to increase their resilience in this new and fast-changing landscape,” said Morgan.
In the current business environment, companies must innovate to survive. Giving customers positive experiences, earning their trust and consequently improving brand loyalty and reputation is only going to help.
And if your company is tough enough keep going when the going gets tough, the time invested in becoming resilient, in adapting to the needs of your customers, will be time well spent.
This article is written by Claire Middleton, RealService.
For more information please contact:
Howard Morgan, RealService founder and managing director:
Tel: 0203 393 9603 or 07801 628554                E: howard.morgan@real-service.co.uk
Claire Middleton, journalist and RealService senior consultant:
Tel: 0203 393 9603                                                E: claire.middleton@real-service.co.uk
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For images or RealService Customer Service Index charts, please contact Claire Middleton.
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RealService is a London-based consultancy founded in 1999 by Howard Morgan, a chartered surveyor. Its core business is conducting independent client/customer research for leading property companies while also offering consulting, training and networking opportunities. It helps its clients to improve the 3R’s of real-estate – revenue, retention and reputation – through better customer experience.
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The RealService Customer Service Index is based on research gathered through interviews with owners and occupiers of commercial and residential properties across the UK.  Interviewees are asked to comment and then rate the performance of the property company in a variety of areas. They are also asked for a Net Promoter Score, a research-industry standard mark which translates into customer loyalty or a likeliness to recommend.
Ratings from eight core questions, common to each interview, and the Net Promoter Score is then amalgamated into the RealService Customer Experience Index.
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