Residential property expert, Centrick, has unlocked the key to success after launching virtual viewings in the wake of Covid-19. Just three weeks after offering renters and buyers the chance to see properties via their screen, the estate agent has already secured 42 new tenancies through the service.
As the UK headed into lockdown, Centrick mobilised its team to roll-out a brand-new ‘virtual viewings’ service, just in time for stricter social distancing and self-isolation measures. Covering over 140 properties in its portfolio – including both those to rent and to buy – initial success has seen Centrick convert 100% of virtual viewings. From those needing to upsize to care for vulnerable family members, to front-line key workers moving out to protect those at risk in their households; Centrick wanted to keep the market moving for landlords, tenants, buyers and sellers.
James Ackrill, Chairman at Centrick, comments:
“The team is always looking at ways to innovate and improve customer service, so we already had virtual tours for our larger high end properties, but Covid-19 gave us the push that we needed to extend the service and make personal virtual viewings across our portfolio… fast. We anticipated lockdown a few weeks prior and knew that, whilst thrown into uncertainty, there would likely still be demand for house moves. Especially those of key workers whose circumstances meant that they needed to be closer to work or away from families, to keep vulnerable members safe.”
These comprehensive video walkthrough tours are hosted on Centrick’s website and major property portals; however, prospective tenants and buyers are also able to book a bespoke live video viewing, hosted by one of Centrick’s expert team. Viewers are guided virtually through the property, using WhatsApp or FaceTime, answering any questions in real-time that they might have.
Alongside these Virtual Viewings, Centrick has devised a 100% contactless way of completing the key handover. Centrick has ensured it’s following all government guidelines on social distancing with a completely contactless reservation and move in process to protect its tenants and staff.
Majid Sayani is an NHS Pharmacist and has recently moved into a property in Birmingham’s city centre, thanks to Centrick. Majid said:
“The team at Centrick were incredibly helpful and efficient. The virtual viewings were a great idea and the lettings process was just as smooth as outside of the current crisis. Whilst everyone is working remotely and futures are uncertain, it’s great to have the ability to ensure my next home is secure.”
Family-run Centrick, which is headquartered in Birmingham and boasts five offices, prides itself on investing in its talent and technology. Throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, Centrick has continued to focus on the team, launching a virtual ‘pub’ where all team members are invited to catch up with directors, ask questions about the future of the business and what’s next for Covid-19, and socialise together during a pub quiz. Daily updates from the central team on Government guidelines, useful health and wellbeing advice, and perkbox treats are helping to keep the team together, even when based from home.
James Ackrill adds:
“Times like these really are sink or swim for businesses; not just financially but when it comes to employee engagement. Our directors and managers are coming together to ensure that everyone is up-to-speed with what’s happening in the business and wider industry; reaching out for new ideas and inspiration to keep everyone on board throughout the uncertainty.
With our own internal challenges happening at the same time, including our high street branches closing their doors to fit Government guidance, the virtual viewings have also been a great way to keep our team motivated. Whilst I wouldn’t, for a second, suggest that we don’t have some difficult times ahead; pivoting the business helps show our team that this is temporary and that Centrick is determined to come out stronger.”
Centrick, which was founded in 2005, employs over 130 staff and manages over 10,000 properties worth over £1.5 billion. To find out more about Centrick’s Virtual Viewings and access the free Instant Property Valuation service, visit centrick.co.uk.