CRS Data’s MLS Tax Suite enhancements benefit real estate professionals across the board
Change should be inevitable, especially when it comes to technology. But when a critical piece of software that’s used across an entire organization undergoes significant updates, it can be a challenge for both users and the organization.
So how can MLSs and REALTOR® Associations stay on top of software changes and ensure that their members benefit from important new product enhancements? We talked to Dezmarie Tovar, MLS operations manager at the Fresno Association of REALTORS®, to find out.
Fresno’s property data and tax solution, CRS Data’s MLS Tax Suite, recently overhauled its prospecting tool—in the middle of a pandemic, no less. The changes were innovative and impactful, and the company wanted to ensure that the upgrade was seamless for users. Here’s how they worked with the Fresno Association of REALTORS® to optimize the transition for their membership.
Prospecting in a Pandemic
Prospecting tools are an essential part of a REALTOR’S® arsenal, and that’s been especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Business is changing and everything’s online, and that goes for prospecting,” says Tovar. “Some agents would previously meet prospective clients over coffee, but right now, that’s not really an option.”
Fortunately, the streamlined changes that CRS Data made to their prospecting feature in the MLS Tax Suite made the tool easier to use, and, according to Tovar, their members have benefited from the upgrades.
“The updates have been very helpful in making the tool a lot more seamless. It’s just so much more convenient for our members.”
Helping Members Adapt to Change
Aside from larger updates, like to the prospecting tool, CRS Data’s MLS Tax Suite undergoes updates throughout the year. “Our product update approach is strategic,” says Kari Autry, CRS Data’s director of product and marketing. “We take into account that our MLS and association partners would prefer incremental improvement over a complete product overhaul every few years.”
When updates occur, organizations need to keep their members in the loop. For the Fresno Association of REALTORS®, this comes in the form of online training, and they look to their partners for support. The association is currently offering training sessions in partnership with CRS Data.
Fresno also leans on CRS Data’s expansive library of tutorial videos, which are all easily available in the product and on Vimeo. “When we converted to CRS Data’s MLS Tax Suite from another product, those tutorials were my best friend,” says Tovar. “They helped me learn the product, and every single aspect of what CRS Data has to offer. With the membership, if they have a question on how to do something specific, our answer is always, ‘Oh, there’s a tutorial for that.’ So they’re very helpful. The short and concise nature of the videos is such a positive.”
How Updates Can Keep Members Engaged
Some software changes can intimidate users—they overly complicate things or change a program so radically that it drives users away. But when an update is done right, it can actually keep users interested in a product.
“In the past, we’ve had a lot of the same products for a while,” says Tovar, “so when members get in their groove of using a certain feature within a product, when it’s enhanced or colors or font sizes change, I think it’s keeping the flame alive. It does increase interest.”
Product enhancements create an opportunity for membership outreach as well. “It’s really helpful for us in regard to keeping the membership interested,” says Tovar. “We can say, ‘Hey, these are your member benefits. And these are the enhancements they’re working on diligently to improve the product and make it more user-friendly.’ There’s been excitement and a positive response to the changes.”
“No matter the update, we will customize our training and correspondence for the MLS. We are always thinking about making the life of our end-user more enjoyable,” says Autry. “Our commitment to innovation comes to life in a product that is simple to use, elegant in aesthetic and empowering for agents across the U.S.”
Centering Customer Feedback
CRS Data’s MLS Tax Suite is thoughtfully updated in a way that adds to the customer experience. A huge part of making a product that’s easy and enjoyable to use is listening to customer feedback; therefore, customers are invited to weigh in throughout the year.
“Our customers and users are our No. 1 source for product innovation and new enhancement ideas,” says Autry. “We bring ideas back to the team from training sessions, Help Desk calls and one-on-one meetings that we hold regularly. Listening to our customers is our greatest asset as a team and speaks volumes about our culture.”
Tovar backs up this statement. “CRS Data is always reaching out: What can we do better? What do you love most? I had the opportunity to attend their retreat earlier this year. The main goal of that retreat was to get together the staff and executives of various MLSs and associations with CRS Data staff. We put our heads together to ask, what is the product like now? In the future, what could be done to continuously update and continuously make the product better?”
However, for Tovar, the No. 1 way that CRS Data listens to its customers is through its customer support. “In the event that we or a member has any questions or needs some clarification, the support is there,” says Tovar. “We’re never without an answer. We’re always getting responded to as well as getting updates. Compared to our product before, that was just nonexistent. This has been a great change as far as support and user friendliness.”
“It reminds me of great hospitality. Even though we’re all virtual—we only talk on the phone and through email—you can feel CRS Data’s willingness to help, the team’s willingness to be there and make it right, and improve as they can.”