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PropNex shifts focus to trustworthy service and self-regulation
Singapore Property Market News and Analysis


Latest Property Real Estate News - Published on 31/07/2008
On 31 July 2008, PropNex will change its tagline from “Singapore’s Largest Real Estate Company” to “Service You Trust”, a bold move that reflects a change in the company’s direction.
 
The new tagline is an embodiment of our previous motto and this new vision, combining people and service (the latter is not possible without the former) and where the idea of reliability is subsumed into the element of trust.
 
“There were many reasons for this change,” says Adam Tan, Corporate Communications & Marketing Manager of PropNex. “For instance, the term ‘largest’ is so transient and hard to define specifically. Ownership of such a term may not be permanent, and the fight for ownership leads the focus away from our customers.”
 
Indeed, in the wake of recent downbeat publicity about the real estate industry, PropNex’s new tagline is a tangible step towards a more focused vision, with an emphasis on their core values of honesty, integrity, ethics and respect. This in turn places a focus on the consumer. It is a move in a largely unregulated industry that favours quality over quantity.
 
“With our new tagline, we want to reassure our customers and our associates,” says Mohamed Ismail, CEO of PropNex. “We want to remind our customers that PropNex is a real estate company that they can trust to professionally conduct a transaction for them. We want to remind our associates that PropNex is a company that they can rely on to support them in their careers.” 

“It is all about professionalism in service,” says Ismail. “In fact, to show that we are wholly committed to providing service through responsible agents, we underwent a major exercise a few weeks ago to amicably terminate 2800 associates who were inactive for over a year. They are free to rejoin us, provided that they undergo a refresher course. This will ensure that they remain knowledgeable about the market practices and policies.”

Far from downsizing, PropNex is actually restructuring their operations to provide more cost-efficient customer service by taking a 22,000ft2 office space at General Magnetic Building along Toa Payoh Lorong 6 in addition to its current premises at HDB Hub. Renovated to the tune of $1m, these offices will provide greater support to both agents and customers alike.

And to further enhance professionalism amongst its ranks, all the remaining over 5,000 PropNex agents will be required on a compulsory basis to sign up for Professional Indemnity Insurance, covering a minimum of $100,000 each which protects the consumers in events of professional negligence and covers the likes of loss of documents.

All PropNex agents will also have to fulfil 12 points (equivalent to a minimum of 12 hours or more) of Continual Professional Development (CPD) annually in order to maintain the status of a professional agent in PropNex. Why CPD? This is not new and many regulated industries require such practice. For instance the insurance industry, under MAS requires all insurance agents to annual CPD. Thus PropNex’s move in an unregulated industry is certainly commendable to ensure the currency of PropNex agent to latest policies, market trends and ethical conduct of the business starting from 1 October 2008. Self-regulation at PropNex will also be driven forward with two self-issued certifications: the PropNex Professional Practitioner's Certificate and the PropNex Proficiency Test Certificate.The first is a compulsory certification that takes effect from 1 January 2009 which will be issued with effect from 1 October 2008 to all agents who has fulfilled the requirement. It requires that the certified agent has signed up for Professional Indemnity Insurance and is an active agent before it is automatically renewed every year provided all criteria are fulfilled.  
 
The second certificate is awarded upon achieving 75% in a multiple-choice test. Consisting of three parts, Code of Conduct & Ethics, HDB Market and Private Property Market, agents must complete Part One on Code of Conduct & Ethics in addition to a subsequent part of their speciality. This test is mandatory for all new agents and long-time agents who have become inactive. To further add on, PropNex has instituted many new initiatives to improve their service standards, like a complimentary Home Warranty Plan (capped at $200) for all new buyers from PropNex’s partner B&E Concept.
 
Customer Service Support will be also greatly boosted. All customers, following their transaction, will receive a call from PropNex service staff to give their feedback on their PropNex agent and to evaluate his or her performance. This proactive customer outreach programme will also help to raise awareness of other PropNex initiatives, such as our Certificate of Deposit Guarantee and our Customer Service Hotline.
 
PropNex also has in place a Mediation Board and a Disciplinary Board to further address our customers’ concerns.
 
Of perhaps more interest to the everyday consumer is the PropNex website, which has undergone a major revamp to better serve its customers’ needs. With redesigned search functions to better find their dream home, consumers can also track market trends and pick up some property tips on the website. In addition, visitors to the website can also sign up as PropNex Premium Members, at no charge, to enjoy regular updates on market trends, policy changes and more. 

For associates, beyond the extensive training programme that is already available to them, they can also enjoy more streamlined backroom processes that include GIRO payment of their commissions and consolidated forms for easier paperwork. They also have an Associate Support Centre to tap onto for any queries they may have. 

But Ismail cautioned that all these measures did not mean that PropNex was not concerned about being a big player in the Singaporean real estate industry. PropNex will continue to maintain its position as Singapore’s largest real estate company in terms of HDB and private secondary market share, with an emphasis on professional service.

“Just as many prominent brands do not need to shout about their size and accomplishments,” concluded Mr Tan, “PropNex will now be focusing even more on our customers’ and associates’ needs. Maintaining our market leadership will follow through.”



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