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Aspasia Cloud Informational Series – No.2

publication date: Jun 1, 2010
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Last month, in the first topic in this series, we reviewed the general environmental pressures and changing trends that gave rise to the development of Aspasia Cloud and explained what we mean by ‘Cloud’. In this edition we look at one of the most crucial aspects of these pressures, namely the changing face of customer expectations and how our software can help agencies to meet these new demands.

The effect of the Internet

Until relatively recently we gathered information in a number of ways; reading publications, watching television, listening to the radio, visiting shops, etc. Although we still do these things, their relevant importance has been relegated somewhat by the ease of use of the Internet, which is often our first port of call.

Closer to home we have witnessed these changing trends by examples such as the rapid decline in the use of newspaper property advertising and reduced customer visits to agency branches in favour of web based information provided through portals or agency web sites. Now we are beginning to see customers expecting us to extend these services in the way other industries and, indeed, government are now doing.

Agents need to adapt in order to prosper in a future where traditional methods are likely to increasingly be found only in isolated pockets influenced by geographical or specific market sector requirements. It is the speed and ease of delivery of these new services that has marked them out often rendering traditional services such as, for example, the postal system to a role of largely carrying ‘junk’ mail.

Specific examples

Email has now taken over as our primary method of formal communication and, just like telephone conversations do, it has the ability to allow us to conduct our business with an immediacy and convenience that we can no longer live without. This is why we have integrated Google’s much lauded and sophisticated email system right into the fabric of Aspasia Cloud so that there is no longer a need to cut and paste emails from a separate system into our software. Emails are now generated from, and received directly into, the appropriate customer record within Aspasia Cloud with automated storage and an appropriate audit trail; a real time saver and a key aspect of this new age we live in. Of course, if you still want to print a letter you can do so, although we expect the printed word to be gradually phased out and replaced by email and SMS as is happening in other industries.

An integral element of these changing customer expectations is our increasing reliance on mobile devices as a means of communication, information retrieval and data storage. Whilst laptops, netbooks and devices like the new iPad perform a key role, it is the rapidly growing importance of the mobile phone, particularly the smartphone, that is indicative of the new era. Customers are expecting so much more from their constant companions than the ability to talk and send texts. The mobile phone is now becoming the first place many turn to for Internet access, interfacing with others and doing business.

Aspasia cloudAnother key requirement of Aspasia Cloud was therefore the ability for our agents to use their mobile devices in a really meaningful way and in turn for them to be able to communicate through the same medium with their customers. Aspasia Cloud can be used in its entirety (not just as a cut down app) on any Internet connected device that has a browser which includes all smartphones in addition to desktop computers and laptops.

Yet many customers have mobile phones that are not classed as smartphones and which cannot run a browser. We again turned to our integration with Google Apps so that all email items, calendar entries and contact information can still be used. Create a meeting event with a customer on your Nokia standard mobile phone and it will appear on your office computer in Aspasia Cloud. Wherever you are you will always have your diary, emails and contact information synchronised and available to you.

And of course there is the facility for agents to communicate between each other and with their customers by means of Instant Messaging or even Video Talk. Consider the cost savings if all inter-branch communications between agency staff were handled free over the Internet using Google Video Talk from their desktops or laptops which are, more often than not, now fitted with integrated web cams. This is another feature included within Aspasia Cloud.

Convenience

Perhaps most important of all, in this new world of enhanced customer expectation, is the ability for the customer to choose when, how, and to what extent they can do business with an agency. 2.00 am, can’t sleep, worrying about whether anyone else has made an offer, want to check on the condition of an inventory item, pay my rent, book a viewing, enhance my property particulars for my agent to check, and so on. This is what customers are expecting and is what ensures there will always be an indispensable role for an agent to play in this new and rapidly changing environment.

Aspasia Cloud lets agents focus on providing their professional expertise with the software itself automatically handling more and more of their administration and offering them and their customers a fully automated interactive service maintaining the highest levels of professionalism 24 hours a day. Moreover it will reduce an agent’s dependency on variations in staff competence and availability ultimately resulting in a more profitable and consistent business environment in keeping with rapidly changing customer expectations.

Further information at www.aspasia.net