A vital property partner
Established estate agents are facing disruption at every turn - from new online-only brands, customers questioning the cost and value of services, ‘Generation Rent’ disillusioned with property ownership and evolving luxury mindsets informed by expectations of premium brands in other sectors. All this sits against a backdrop of a sector with an image problem and deep-rooted distrust. To future-proof itself and meet rising consumer expectations, Knight Frank appointed us to transform the customer experience across its UK residential business, empower their people as customer experience ambassadors and better engage, support and anticipate evolving audience needs.
After overseeing an extensive programme of research to fully immerse ourselves in the business - including over 30,000 customer surveys, mystery shopping & shadowing and stakeholder interviews - we defined a vision rooted in a fundamental strategic shift that took Knight Frank from a sales-centric estate agency to a consumer-centric brand. This inspired new customer experience behaviours across our six key pillars of brand engagement: purpose, personality, people, place, product and process. We prioritised projects across each that could be owned and championed by Knight Frank Partners.
Our customer experience vision united the business and aligned all projects with a laser-focus on the customers' needs.
We developed a new visual identity framing properties with a lifestyle point of view, with a new editorial look and feel that expressed a brand personality ‘full of life and insightful confidence’. This was part of a new suite of communications for the UK residential team, including digital storytelling, customer collateral, print advertising and sale boards all designed to have a bold, contemporary and consistent look and feel, and a tone of voice that ‘speaks frankly’ with confidence, friendliness and vitality.
With a mission to simplify and demystify how they can help and make the customer feel in control, we developed new service experiences such as value-add membership and digital tools - offering customers advice on anything property, whether in person or via their global network of property experts. In branch and online, Knight Frank’s existing services were made more visible and the benefits relatable and tangible, including help with mortgages, relocating abroad, removals, renovations and interior design.
We wrote briefs for the prioritised ideas that helped overcome pain points, differentiate Knight Frank from their market and add value to the customer journey. We also supported the creation of new training modules, digital tools, tone of voice, format strategy and an in-house ideas app.
As a visible expression of the strategy, we reimagined the role of space for Knight Frank as ‘useful platforms for people and adverts for exceptional service’. This informed an internal-facing ‘Living Lab’ - a dedicated in-house training facility, designed to empower innovative new CX behaviours - and a new branch concept, created as a feel-good, homely space with views into people, not property cards. Its aim is to inspire and invite customers in to talk about their next chapter in property, regardless of whether they were looking to buy, sell, rent, or were just passing by.
Key to the vision was highlighting Knight Frank’s people, their skills and how they can help you. In branch, we introduced them as ‘a voice you can trust’, showing their local insights, recommended partner businesses, schools and other lifestyle considerations when thinking about a property search.
We inspired the change from within, supporting the creation of a customer experience training programme and guiding a new approach to recruitment with strategic hires from out-of-sector, people who innately embodied customer experience and were aligned to the new vision. Together with the leadership team we co-presented the official business-wide launch of their exciting next chapter as a Vital Property Partner for their customers, empowering 1,400 members of staff as brand ambassadors to commit to customer experience in all they say and do.
“ Through a large customer engagement programme it became clear that a personalised CX experience was at the forefront for our customers and employees, both face-to-face and through a tailored digital experience. The last two years have seen our business make huge strides in our CX offering.” Andrew Hay
Global Head of Residential