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Rentright - the net connection

publication date: Jul 26, 2010
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rentright websiteMost dedicated letting agents will say that they are different from estate agents. Their work is different, their clients are different, their whole ethos is different.

They will say that they have a longer term relationship with their clients and invest more effort into those relationships.

They will say that their clients not only expect to enjoy what Barack Obama may describe as a ‘special relationship’ but that landlord clients need and expect a very high level of information, communication and, to keep on the right side of the law, regular persuasion that the compliant let is the only let.

Finally, they will say that with all this special relationship stuff, they truly need to have a different ethos, one which helps to keeps them relaxed about the 24/7/365 commitment to landlords and tenants because, well, that’s just the way it is.

Funnily enough, dedicated letting agents often feel that though they give the best service they can, they don’t always feel that the compliment is returned by their own suppliers. Residential lettings and management is, without doubt, a service industry.

Lettings awards always focus on service, good service, excellent service. So they deserve to receive good service themselves. But do they get it? Enter Rentright. “Rentright isn’t a new property portal, it was established in 2004 by Anthony Crow and Chris Courtis, IT specialists who hit upon the idea of providing an internet directory for letting agents” says Gill. “Landlords and tenants would be able to search the website for agents in their area. Simple. The agents would also be able to list their properties but the main thrust was that they would be easily found by potential clients.”

The agents who did upload properties to this relatively simple website received an unexpected bonus; the data from their listings was very neatly collected and spun into a really useful property rentals index. An index with real detail and functionality. As the website steadily became a portal, a larger ‘user’ was seeking this rental data.

rentrightThe HCR Group is one of the UK’s largest and most successful companies providing UK and International Employee Relocation and property related services. Originally part of Hambro, and then the Countrywide Group before a management buyout, HCR traded under the name Countrywide Mobility until 2006.

HCR’s worldwide clients need information to plan corporate relocations, either temporary or permanent; rental costs vary from town to town and they need to know how much their staff housing is going to cost. This data was not, at the time, readily available, which was a problem, until they found Rentright.

Rentright’s portal was unsophisticated but its back-end data was unique and invaluable. A relationship blossomed and the two companies decided that the time was right to develop a top class and top service dedicated lettings portal. With the HCR background for intense customer service and the specialised dedicated, data strong website, the perfect portal could be built.

Gill, a highly experienced portal professional was recruited from Rightmove to help create the ideal portal that combined a high quality user experience with superb data for its agents to use to help value properties and advise landlords. “But our other aim for this portal was to offer the letting agents something they don’t always get – that service standard that they give their clients and that they crave,” says Gill.

With echoes of Marks and Spencer’s ‘it’s not just a lemon tart, it’s a Marks and Spencer lemon tart…’ Rentright’s member agents are initially a little disconcerted to find that their Rentright client manager, actually telephones them on a regular basis to see how things are going; if there is anything they can help with; if there are any issues.

Gill MarkhamThis is a bit weird. The Rentright staff call their letting agents for a general update but they also offer extra services that can help with marketing all their properties or just specific needs.

They will write and send Twitter messages asking for landlords to contact the agent if they have, say, a four bedroom house to let in a certain school catchment area.

They will put out a tweet offering a new listing in a popular area. One agent needed a number of properties for a corporate client and one single Rentright Twitter message brought forth a whole block of new apartments that were perfect – but not on the market.

The developer decided he’d be daft not to let them on such a good contract and the deal was sealed. Such is the power of Twitter and, even more appropriately, of customer service. While the fees for listing on Rentright are extremely reasonable, the marketing services (for registered agents) like Twittering and sending SMS messages to landlords or tenants are – absolutely free. That’s what you call a special relationship.

www.rentright.co.uk