First off today, news from outsourced communications experts Moneypenny which is offering a free Digital Switchboard service for a limited period.
The offer will be particularly valuable to agents where reception teams can no longer be office based or they do not have the technology to manage the switchboard remotely.
Moneypenny chief executive Joanna Swash says: “Many agents are struggling to deal with the shift in call volumes due to the rapid switch to home working, and we’re on hand to make sure we can provide solutions to help maintain exceptional customer service.”
Moneypenny’s Digital Switchboard system is fully automated and operates just like a traditional switchboard, without the need for a receptionist. The system can answer high volumes of calls and field them efficiently, directing callers to the appropriate person or department.
The system features natural language speech recognition: in the event that the system doesn’t recognise a voice query, or an enquiry is more complex, the caller will be transferred to a failover option or a real PA at Moneypenny.
With no hidden costs, Moneypenny is inviting all estate and letting agents to find out more and use the service for the next three months. To find out more, including terms of the offer, visit this site or call 0333 202 1005.
Now news of an initiative by Josh Rayner, chief executive of Rayner Personnel and a well-known figure in the industry.
He's created The Property People Register to get you ‘market ready’ for when normal returns.
The Register will help you find you the property position you really want and deserve. Appreciating that this is an unsettling and nervous time for many, Josh is using his years of property expertise, sharing his industry knowledge to instil confidence and hope at this time of uncertainty and to give you the best chance of a new start.
A completely confidential service, the Property People Register is there to help those who have sadly been made redundant, those who have been with their current employer for less than two years, those furloughed and those who just want to take a little control over their career choices.
Rayner Personnel’s site offers great advice, handy tips and the occasional dash of Rayner wisdom to help you find and secure a new property role after Covid-19
You can register here.
Next up is news from epropservices, the parent company of Fine & Country and The Guild, which says Licensees and Members will enjoy access to the Pro version of Homesearch for free for the next six months.
Homesearch currently has comprehensive property information on all 28.8m and says it can provide the information and context about any property in an agent’s database or marketplace.
As agents cannot visit people’s homes, they need now more than ever to demonstrate their knowledge of the property, the street and the area to show vendors that they don’t physically need to be in the home to value it accurately.
“The Homesearch tool will allow our agents to carry on valuations remotely, which is a great addition to the virtual video viewing tool epropservices launched recently” says an epropservices statement.
According to Sam Hunter,chief operating officer of Homesearch, last year the software was used on over a billion pounds worth of market appraisals by the agents using their services.
“We are in a unique position in that our platform has more data on every single home in the country than even the government, including everything currently on the market. This, matched with demographic data on over 54m adults, gives an agent a complete picture of the makeup of their market” Sam adds.
Meanwhile there’s more official advice being released, this time by the Welsh Government for letting agents and others in the rental sector.
The guidance outlines that the Welsh Government is working closely with the Westminster-based Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to ensure that the specific implications for agents and landlords in the private sector in Wales are taken into consideration.
Therefore there is now a Wales-specific guidance document for the rental sector, with similar but not identical provisions to those issued by the MHCLG.
Guidance on social distancing is here;
Guidance on evictions - the Welsh Government says the MHCLG guidelines apply, as set out on ARLA’s site here.
And finally, just to repeat the good news that we reported earlier this week.
Some agents’ commission can now be included in furloughed pay, and you can get the full details here.