How tech is solving problems in the property industry

There is a misconception that great ideas solve problems. Arguably, a lot of great ideas today simply use technology to enhance customer experiences. WhatsApp is a great example. Instant messaging was available before; it just wasn’t as good.

As modern life continues to be filled with more and more distractions, services which provide convenience are gaining popularity. Aggregating is how a number of tech companies, which hadn’t even been dreamt up 15 years ago, are now go-tos for everything from train tickets, takeaways, flights, hotels, you name it...

Ain't no place like home

Property plays a role in everyone’s life and for most of us, buying a house is likely the largest transaction we’ll ever make. Despite this, technology is yet to impact customer experience like it has in other sectors.

gettyimages-509553578.jpg

So, perhaps unsurprisingly, property technology, or PropTech, is pretty hot right now. Forbes and CB Insights recently reported that venture capital investment in the sector was set to top $3bn globally in 2017, reflecting a 36 per cent year-on-year growth. Unsurprisingly, with all that money, there are some pretty exciting services emerging from online estate agents to virtual reality viewings!

Whilst it hasn’t had the same impact as other sectors, undoubtedly technology plays a role in many property experiences today. The aggregators Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket are a first port of call for many but thereafter, it’s a lot of people power to close deals. And once you’ve spent the day moving boxes, you’re through the door, you’ve unpacked the kettle and realise you don’t have any internet and there’s a bunch of bills to pay…

It’s a dirty job but someone’s gotta do it

The best deals on utilities are for people that switch and there are more utility suppliers available to consumers than ever before. The growing popularity of comparison services, like Money Supermarket and uSwitch, show some consumers are benefiting from this increased competition however, official figures from the energy regulator ofgem suggest 60 per cent of UK households are still not.

gettyimages-515968676.jpg

Our research suggest this is because people are apathetic and who can blame such attitudes; bills are pretty boring. But what if there was service that took the pain out of setting up those bills? Once your direct debit is set up, it’s plain sailing but no one wants to spend an evening researching day vs unit rates and average download speeds by provider in their area.

KeyNex is a PropTech service which takes the pain out of set up by using technology. For movers that opt-in with their estate agent, we go and find the best deals based on the tenancy information (number of bedrooms, move in date etc) and make it easy to sign up to essential utilities including water, council tax, energy and telecoms.

We are currently delivering best in market offers to tenants via email whilst we develop our web-application that will enable set up of all essential utilities in less than ten minutes on a mobile phone. And it gets better, the service is free because we earn make our money from commission on the utility sales, which is the same model as the switching services.

You’re only as good as your team

Whilst KeyNex makes it easy to sign up, the service is an advertising platform and our users become other companies’ customers. Whilst we’ve seen tech start-ups revolutionise customer experiences in other sectors, big business dominates the utilities sector and the consequently, technology has not had the impact on customers experience it has elsewhere. However, that all might be about to change as more and more disruptive challenger brands emerge…

gettyimages-803192850.jpg

One of these is Urban Jungle, a London-based InsurTech company designed for urban renters, currently offering home contents insurance and tenants liability insurance. Urban Jungle’s CEO, Jimmy Williams, articulates what they’re doing as simply “modernising the way that insurance works for renters by making more relevant products and using technology to make buying cheaper and easier.”

From a quick visit to their website you’ll how they’re delivering the vision with quality mobile design, clear language and simple pricing. But Urban Jungle are much more than a pretty face, they are harnessing the power of big data to minimise friction during the sign up process, which leads me nicely to my final topic…

The machines are coming

It is clear we are undergoing a technological revolution and the pace of change is accelerating. Big data is already playing a key role in this rate of change and I believe its impact on customer experience is likely to be more significant than many other leaps we’ve seen to date.  

I suspect equal numbers of people are approaching this with trepidation and excitement but at KeyNex, we’re really excited about what these insights can do to enhance the experience for our users and we very much look forward to making painful utility set up, a thing of the past.

This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details. Thumbnail from gettyimages.

Comment

Our Companies

Quick Links