Sealed packages and video messages may be the stuff of crime thrillers but it is keeping one agency going through the pandemic.
Centrick, which is headquartered in Birmingham and has offices in London, Solihull and Nottingham, has secured 42 tenancies using virtual viewings – made before lockdown – and contactless handovers in the three weeks since the coronavirus lockdown was imposed in the UK.
It even managed to help an NHS pharmacist move into a new rental property Birmingham’s city centre.
The family-run agency said it has another 40 tenancies in the pipeline.
Properties can be viewed through Centrick’s website or Rightmove and Zoopla using video tours created by its own staff.
Viewers are guided virtually through the property, using WhatsApp or FaceTime, answering any questions in real-time.
All documents are delivered, signed and returned digitally.
The key and the handover documents are sealed in a pack on moving day and deposited in a secure location, which the client is then given access to, with no human contact
James Ackrill, chairman at Centrick, said: “The team is always looking at ways to innovate and improve customer service, so we already had virtual tours for our larger high end properties, but Covid-19 gave us the push that we needed to extend the service and make personal virtual viewings across our portfolio fast.
“We anticipated lockdown a few weeks prior and knew that, whilst thrown into uncertainty, there would likely still be demand for house moves especially those of key workers whose circumstances meant that they needed to be closer to work or away from families to keep vulnerable members safe.
“Times like these really are sink or swim for businesses; not just financially but when it comes to employee engagement.
“Our directors and managers are coming together to ensure that everyone is up-to-speed with what’s happening in the business and wider industry, reaching out for new ideas and inspiration to keep everyone on board throughout the uncertainty.
“With our own internal challenges happening at the same time, including our high street branches closing their doors to fit Government guidance, the virtual viewings have also been a great way to keep our team motivated.
“Whilst I wouldn’t, for a second, suggest that we don’t have some difficult times ahead, pivoting the business helps show our team that this is temporary and that Centrick is determined to come out stronger.”
See an example of Centrick’s virtual video tour below.