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By Paige Tepping

RISMEDIA, Nov. 11, 2008-No matter what kind of market we find ourselves in, showing appointments are still a key tool in getting a listing seen by prospective buyers. And in this market, time is money; offering your clients added information, as well as convenience, is crucial. “The ability to offer our buyers and sellers showing statistics and other information is vital,” says Real Living CFO Bob McAdams. To that end, Real Living recently partnered with Centralized Showing Service (CSS) to streamline this process. In this exclusive interview, McAdams shares his thoughts on why partnering with CSS puts his company one step ahead of the rest.

Real Estate magazine: Centralized Showing Service (CSS) and Real Living have a relatively new relationship. Can you talk about the decision to partner with CSS?
Bob McAdams:
We decided to use CSS as a test in one of our markets in order to enable our agents to schedule their showings in a more streamlined manner. The agents who were involved in the test phase came back to us with rave reviews, giving us the encouragement we needed to move ahead and introduce the program to the entire Real Living company. After a lot of research and an attempt at setting up our own showing service, we decided to move forward with CSS as they could provide us with the tools and service that we needed.

RE: How has your everyday work changed since partnering with CSS?
Since partnering with CSS in June, our agents have seen the many benefits that come from working with a company that was specifically created to deal with one aspect of the real estate business. CSS has enhanced the showing-instructions process and reduced the amount of clarification calls that my agents regularly make. In addition, our agents have benefitted from the flexible online reporting that allows them to pull their own showing statistics and other information, which they can offer to their clients as well as keep for their own use.

RE: How does working with CSS help your agents better serve their customers?
We have been able to offer our clients a more well-rounded package when it comes to showing their homes. With six call centers located throughout the U.S., CSS has given us the ability to maintain consistent service with each of our clients. It is important for us as a company to be able to offer our customers an uninterrupted experience, and working with CSS has given us the opportunity to do that. The flexibility of the entire system has been noticed by our clients, and we have received positive feedback on this issue from the beginning.

RE: What advantages has using CSS given you and your agents over other real estate companies in your marketplace?
CSS has provided Real Living with many advantages over the last five months that have allowed us to stay one step ahead of our competition-which is crucial, especially in today’s market. One of the biggest advantages that CSS has offered our agents is the ability to pull up showing statistics on any listing at any time. Not only can these statistics be used during listing presentations, but it gives the agent a full overview of showing activity.

RE: What are some of the features that CSS offers that have been most beneficial to your company?
The customizable feedback, full-color photos and reporting activity are vital. The feedback feature that comes with the program has been extremely beneficial for our listing agents. Any feedback comments that they have received from agents showing their listings can be typed directly into the CSS website reports and then printed for the client. This gives the client feedback in a timely manner, allowing them to see what prospective buyers are saying about certain aspects of their home, such as the listing price. In addition, the fact that each agent is provided with one telephone number that can be used to schedule all of their showings gives the agent the ability to schedule 10-12 showings in less than five minutes. This saves the agent a lot of time, allowing them to better serve their clients.

RE: How has using CSS helped your agents streamline their business?
CSS was created in order to address the issue of home-showing inefficiencies within the residential real estate community, and they have done just that. The company has a very structured way of processing showing requests that is both concise and consistent. The consistency across the board reduces the opportunity for errors, giving my agents peace of mind in scheduling showing appointments as well as gathering feedback and sharing results with their clients.

RE: Can you sum up your experience working with CSS?
Since partnering with CSS earlier this year, they have been nothing short of professional, courteous and helpful. They have been-and continue to be-very responsive to our needs and changes. The company’s given our agents the tools they need to remain successful in the industry as well as a quick and simple way to set up their home showing appointments. The past five months have given us the opportunity to create a true partnership.

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