As the market continues to change and evolve, if you ask any real estate professional to name one thing that remains constant throughout, they’ll most likely point to the fact that real estate is a relationship business. And fostering viable relationships with consumers is what keeps them coming back.
This was the main theme of RISMedia’s 19th Annual Power Broker Forum—held on Friday, November 7, during the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in New Orleans—where a panel of six real estate executives and brokers shared their views on how we can set the consumer experience bar even higher come 2015.
Moderated by John Featherston, president & CEO of RISMedia, this year’s forum, titled “Power Broker Strategies for Enhancing the Consumer Experience,” provided the 500-plus attendees with an in-depth look into the importance of maintaining an exceptional consumer experience—and how best to achieve this goal.
A Positive Consumer Experience, Every Time
For Glenn “Chip” Gardner, special initiatives director at GARDNER REALTORS®, enhancing the consumer experience comes down to one main thing: scientific data. In fact, when it comes to the company’s digital perspective, Gardner points to Tobii—the leader and pioneer in eye-tracking technology—as being an integral piece of the puzzle. “People go to real estate sites to search for real estate,” said Gardner, “and with the Tobii technology that tracks a user’s movement through our site, we’re able to enhance the consumer experience significantly.”
Not only does the technology track a visitor’s eye movement, it also tracks the content that’s focused on, in addition to any frustration moments that may occur. When combined, all of these things go a long way toward creating a more intuitive interface.
While implementing client services shouldn’t be taken lightly, Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate, explained that words and thoughts matter when it comes to finding success in this area. “Our core value is living life as a contribution, providing ultimate (the very best) client service,” said Scott. What generates ultimate? “It’s not being ordinary or average, but rather, extraordinary. Being in the conversation of ultimate is what will take you from good to great and great to greatness, and operating at the ultimate level is all about continually feeding yourself with positive energy.”
Raising the Bar, Enhancing the Experience
As consumers continue to evolve and demand more from real estate professionals, it’s more important than ever to have a plan in place so that each and every consumer has the best possible experience.
“Brokers are leaving the consumer experience level in the hands of agents,” said Harold Crye, president of Crye-Leike REALTORS®, “and we can raise the bar by putting certain things in place that will ultimately enhance the entire experience.” Here’s a look at some of what’s been done at Crye-Leike, REALTORS®:
– Installed an appointment center
– Installed a marketing department
– Joined Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®
– Brought in in-house loan officers
– Started a title/escrow company
– Installed a home services department
– Enhanced Internet customer care
In addition to implementing VoicePad and hosting an award-winning website, Crye touched on syndication—and whether or not it truly enhanced the consumer experience. “We pulled our listings off Trulia and Zillow in January, and we’re still standing,” said Crye. “In fact, our sales are up 14 percent, our marketshare has increased, we’ve seen an improvement in the ratio of list price/sales price, our in-house sales have increased and days on market have gone down.”
“Everything is about data now, and we’re working to give consumers options to bring them into our sphere in a lot of different ways,” said Matt Widdows, CEO/founder of HomeSmart International, who was inspired to create the company to better conduct real estate, while integrating technology. In order to integrate the different areas where buyers are looking, the company has created a consumer portal, with the main goal of consolidating information. Whether it’s call, click or text options, consumers are encouraged to come back. “We’re heading toward a virtual environment,” added Widdows, “one that provides a streamlined, seamless consumer experience.”