Call Back


Estate agency and property services group, Connells have signed up to technology which alerts staff to customer emails by a phone call.

Staff picking up the phones hear a message that gives the name of the enquirer, and the nature of their query is displayed on screen.

They can then press a button to call back the customers immediately – usually so quickly that the enquirer is still in front of their screen.

The technology has been provided by Callwell, a company that specialise in turning emails into phone calls, so that companies can connect with clients and potential customers within seconds.

Callwell managing director Bob Scarff said that communications between agents and customers have changed dramatically.

He said: “Everyone in the industry knows that customers no longer walk in as they used to; that’s why there are so many different approaches to ‘physical footprint’ these days, but attitudes towards email traffic are moving much more slowly.

“The move from phone call to email as the customers’ first preference may be slower but the implications are similarly profound.

“In 2010 it was still just about possible to believe that only customers who were ‘not that serious’ would email rather than phone.

“But customer behaviour has moved and a lot of agents have been slow to recognise it.

“A customer in 2020 is far more likely to send a viewing request by email than would have been the case in 2010, yet according to Rightmove statistics,  an email is twice as likely to go unanswered as a phone call.”

Scarff said: “The origins of Callwell lay in precisely that dynamic. We recognised that if someone walks in then they get dealt with; if they ring up they get dealt with; but if they email in then somehow it’s ok to ignore them. So, Callwell makes the phone ring every time that an email comes in.”

Scarff rebuffed suggestions that someone who sends an email to an estate agency would prefer to be answered by email rather than by phone.

He said: “All our experience is that customers are so impressed by being telephoned within a few seconds of pressing the Send button, that this simply isn’t an issue.

“However, if they really do not want to be called, that shows up in the display seen by the agent.”

David Plumtree, Connells Group estate agency chief executive, said: “Today’s consumer expects an immediate response.

“By making the phone ring in the branch when an email comes in, Callwell enables us to deliver precisely that, every time.



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