Channel 4’s hit comedy Stath Lets Flats shows the funny side of running a lettings agency but one of the country’s leading PropTech entrepreneurs says the sitcom also provides valuable lessons in the value of good customer service.
Neil Cobbold, chief operating officer of PayProp in the UK - an automated rental payment platform - says technology can free up agents’ time from many of their routine and time-consuming tasks.
This in turn allows them to instead focus on customer service - exactly what Stath lacks in the sitcom series.
For those who may not have seen it yet, the show stars, and is written by, Jamie Demetriou who plays the hapless letting agent Stath, working for his father's business, the fictional Michael & Eagle Lettings.
"Of course, the programme plays on the very worst stereotypes of letting agencies but it does raise some key issues" says Cobbold.
"There are recurring themes of poor customer relations, administration issues and consumer feedback being shared via social media. These are all things that the modern agent needs to think about."
Stath’s repeated pratfalls include saying inappropriate things, pushing a prospective tenant and forgetting clients' names.
"These instances show the very worst end of the spectrum and are far from representative of the typical letting agent. However, the writer’s consistent focus on customer service - or lack of it - reinforces just how integral it is to the lettings process and consumer expectations" says Cobbold.
"These are simple procedures which the vast majority of letting agents have no problem completing, but that's not to say administration is not still a key issue for many businesses.
"Automating certain administrative processes can free up time, allowing agents to focus on getting deals and impressing clients with excellent customer service."
Cobbold - a fan of the series - says the central character throws into relief precisely how impressive good letting agents can be, especially those who focus on customer relations, prioritise good administration and use technology to their advantage.
“These are the ones who will continue to prosper in the growing rental market” says Cobbold “and it's safe to say that Stath and his outdated practices won't be getting a job at a real letting agency any time soon."