Use POPIA to build trust with your real estate clients

A vector image showing two parachuters to depict the concept of trust
A vector image showing two parachuters to depict the concept of trust

Use POPIA to build trust with your real estate clients

Client data is the fuel that keeps the real estate industry running. With the introduction of the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA), your business is compelled to make protecting this data a priority. Instead of seeing it as a spoke in the wheels, POPIA is an opportunity. Showing you care about your clients’ rights can build trust in ways that have a profound impact on your business’s success.

The importance of trust in real estate

Forming a client-agent/broker relationship built on trust is the foundation of a long-lasting relationship. Making trust your business’s core value is a good start, but it’s more important to actually embrace it across your operations. Doing so will produce these benefits:

Get repeat business: When your real estate business is genuine, credible, and consistent, your clients will enjoy the service you provide. Trust is like depositing money into a bank account; every cent added into your clients’ accounts will pay interest through repeat business, referrals, and an increased chance to explore your other real estate services.

Attract new clients: Happy clients give back through word-of-mouth recommendations and online reviews. This increased exposure only helps elevate your business higher, boosting your sales and service uptake.

Stand out from your competition: Your rival real estate agencies and brokerages may sell the same types of property, operate in the same areas, and even offer the same services. Being known as the most trustworthy can make you the go-to brand.

Improve your recruitment: Embracing trust will also help create a positive company culture. Employees, especially millennials, want to work in a company that does good in the world. With a reputation for transparency, you can also find it easier to recruit new talent.

Trust is built in the way you deal with your potential clients, current clients, and your employees. In an industry defined by data, treating their data with respect is an important part of building trust.

Data protection’s role in building trust

In 2020, credit bureau Experian experienced a data breach. It exposed the personal information of as many as 24 million South Africans and 793 749 business entities to a suspected fraudster. The unfortunate event trended on Twitter as locals reacted sharply to the news. It’s clear that consumers care about their data and how it is used and protected.

Here are two studies that reveal the extent of this:

Study 1: Research conducted at the University of South Africa found there’s a huge disconnect between the privacy that consumers expect and are legally entitled to, and what organisations are doing to meet their obligations. A survey done as part of the research discovered that:

64% of the participants know someone personally whose personal data has been misused;

83% were concerned about the protection of their data;

about 94% were especially worried about safeguarding their identity;

and 92% expressed concerns about the security of their financial data.

Study 2: Another study found that South Africans do care about their personal data privacy. Many people appear to be aware of the dangers that can emanate from misused or compromised personal information and are anxious that their privacy or reputation may be affected as a result. They also have low confidence in organisations that collect and process personal data to safeguard it.

What is clear from these studies, is that people are aware their data is an important asset. They know how it can be misused; being a business that values data security and privacy can help you be seen as more trustworthy in the eyes of potential and current clients.

POPIA, the chance to push forward with trust

POPIA protects people from having their personal information mishandled or misused. It strengthens every individual's right to privacy as afforded by the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. As a real estate business, you are legally required to implement the minimum requirements defined by the Act.

To ensure this takes place, POPIA outlines eight general conditions for the lawful processing of personal information. This includes accountability, processing limitation, purpose specification, further processing limitation, information quality, openness, security safeguards, and data subject participation. The Act also establishes a new role in your business; the Information Officer is tasked with championing the aims of the legislation — and compliance with it.

By showing people you are meeting these requirements, you will grow trust as a business committed to a culture of compliance with the law.

Prop Data POPIA changes are helping you build trust

In response to POPIA, Prop Data has implemented a number of ecosystem modifications to help our clients comply with the Act.

Website updates:

1. Cookie consent
2. Revised privacy policy
3. Revised website enquiry forms
4. Revised consent and subscription profile management
5. Direct emails point to the profile page for profile management
6. Request for information held page
7. Changes to consent and subscriptions will be notified to the data subject, branch agent, and dynamically update Prop Data Manage and your HubSpot CRM

Prop Data Manage updates:

1. Dates and times of user-managed consent and subscription updates
2. A record of consent for direct marketing channels
3. Printable “view consent” link
4. Double opt-in emails for manually captured new client records, portal-fed leads, and social 5. and campaign-fed leads where no consent is provided
6. Default bulk contact status update from 1 July 2021

HubSpot feed:

1. Bi-directional consent feed between Prop Data Manage and HubSpot CRM

Consent drip campaign:

To continue marketing to your database, POPIA requires full consent. When you sign up for our promo campaign, Prop Data will send your clients four automated emails. These will help nurture client subscription compliance for your mailing list subscribers, leads, and alerts.

To see an example of each mailer, view them here: Mailer 1, Mail 2, Mailer 3, Mailer 4.

To find out more about the campaign, click here.

Closing thoughts for real estate businesses

POPIA is here, but there’s no reason to panic. The Act is backed by a solid intention to ensure data privacy and security. The requirements provided are exactly what any principled business should be doing for their clients. Read up on the Act, put a plan in action, and work on getting your processes in place. And remember, Prop Data’s helping to make the way you capture, store, and process leads compliant. Contact us for more information — we’re here to help.