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How can a telephone answering service improve your estate agency?

Poor communication was the top complaint made against sales agents in estate agencies, and the second most common complaint levelled against letting agencies in 2020.

That’s according to the new annual report published by The Property Ombudsman.

Given that communication and relationships are such a key part of real estate and leasing properties, these are worrying stats.

But often, it’s not the estate agency’s fault, or that the letting agent is purposely ignoring calls.

The truth is, you just don’t have the time to get to every call as quickly as they could.

Because of the state of the property market, it’s important that agents are out ‘in the field’ more often. Whether it’s hosting viewings for sales and lettings, or finding new deals, agents need to be out of the office to be effective.

And that means the office phone isn’t manned.

Biggest issues for sales and lettings agents

Running a sales or lettings agency business requires a lot of organisation and administration.

You’re taking appointments, arranging valuations, hosting viewings, networking, organising paperwork, registering new buyers and sellers and dealing with a tonne of other administration tasks.

Plus, because most estate and letting agents now have an online element, you’re managing your website and enquiries coming through online as well.

And on top of all that, you’re expected to answer every call that comes in.

This is a big problem because of the amount of money involved, and the potential lost revenue when you miss a call at an estate or letting agency.

Consider this.

The average property in the UK is valued at £254,624 and the average estate agent fee is around 1.42% of the final selling price.

That’s £3,615.66 on average you’re potentially losing from one missed call.

How a telephone answering service can help your estate agency

If you can’t answer the phone when you’re with buyers, sellers or renters, you have three options.

The first is to use an answer machine to take messages.

But that’s highly unreliable and can put your revenue at risk.

When someone is looking to sell their home, they want to use someone who’s reliable and will stay in communication with them during the selling period.

If their first interaction with you is an answering machine, they’ll just go somewhere else. There’s no shortage of options.


You could hire a full-time receptionist to man a desk and answer the phone.

But receptionists are expensive.

You’re typically talking an annual salary between £18,000 and £30,000 a year.

Plus tax, plus benefits, plus holidays, plus sick pay, plus employee admin.

Do you really want that expense and extra work? Especially when the point was to reduce your administration?

Plus, receptionists can only deal with one customer at a time.

And if you’ve ever worked in a busy agency, you’ll know customers very rarely come to you one at a time.

Thirdly, you could use a telephone answering service such as

With a call answering service, you get a team of virtual receptionists – led by a specialist in the property industry – who can handle all of your incoming calls professionally.

When you sign up they work with you to understand the common types of calls you deal with and how you want them to be dealt with.

Your call answering team will ensure you always get the information you need from every call, and can forward urgent calls to you direct.

Plus, you get the call answering service you need, without the expense of a full-time or even part-time member of staff.

Rather than pay a wage (which you pay regardless of whether your receptionist is answering calls) you only pay for the calls or time you use the service.

You can also use your call data to forecast how much service you’ll need and scale your requirements based on how busy you are.

And you’ll be able to have calls answered while still allowing your sales and letting agents to get on with finding and closing deals and doing the kind of work that’ll make you money.

Improve your agency’s communication with a dedicated telephone answering service

There are more than 20,000 estate agents in the UK.

Which means if you’re not answering the phone when it rings, your customers have more than 19,999 other agents to get in touch with.

With so much money on the line with just a single lost deal, can you really afford to take the risk of letting your phone go unanswered?