Industry view: Blending the old with the new
By Andy Morrison, leasing manager at Town and Country Apartments Leasing
Customer service may be based on traditional virtues, but the task facing every business is in marrying those great “old-fashioned” values with constantly evolving technology. With the right investment, financially and in terms of time, it is a challenge to be embraced.
At Town and Country Apartments and our sister company Town and Country Leasing, we work in customer-focused sectors. The reality is that no matter how much energy we put into ensuring the face-to-face customer experience is a good one, the first point of contact is increasingly through digital means. Whether that interaction is through websites or social media channels, the concept of customer service is expanding for every business.
The property market is a wonderful example. Not so long ago, printed property journals were the first reference and anyone interested in finding out more would make a trip to the estate agent or leasing company’s office to pick up a schedule and find out more. Early in the process, there was the one-on-one opportunity to build relationships.
Now, the internet is the first port of call for the vast majority of house-hunters and every detail of a property is available through online schedules. Only if those are just right will the face-to-face contact follow, so making a positive first impression is more and more important. As a relatively young company, we recognise the benefits to getting our digital house in order and we’re constantly evolving. From our leasing website, with daily updates and schedules available to download, to the apartments site with its new online reservation system, there is always room to move forward.
We have invested in the latest version of the internationally recognised Guestline booking system to cater for apartment reservations. It is a system which replaced our original inquiry and booking system and allows Town and Country to cater for increased demand and repeat corporate bookings. Those are advantages to us as a business, but, more important, it ensures a hassle-free experience for customers – especially larger corporate clients and travel bookers.
That really is the driving force and has to be for every business with a consumer flavour. It doesn’t matter how good your product is if potential customers are turned off by a bad online experience before they have even made the initial contact to find out more. Getting it right isn’t always straightforward. We did extensive research and tested a variety of systems before choosing Guestline, but we’re confident it will prove to be time and money well spent.
Traditional standards will always have a place at the very heart of every good business – and expanding that to new platforms can only help to ensure customers get the first-class service they deserve.