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The Consumer Experience- Real Estate

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Mapping the Consumer Experience

You as a real estate professional know an understand that you’re great at what you do. The knowledge you bring to the table is invaluable in your eyes, simply because you do what you do, every day. Add to the top of that your ability to reach out online to the consumer- you’re a superstar agent.

Now, lets think about all the ways in which you touch your client before they’re actually clients (Vendors should take notice as well.) We begin with your message to the broad consumer. You’re attempting to reach out to as many people as you can with a solid message, or are you? Are you trying to say to many things to to many people? Or are you clean and concise in exactly what you can and will do for them? Look at all levels of marketing when doing this.

Next would be your website. Again, are you all things to all people? Or are you clear on your area of expertise? Are you delving into so many areas that you are confusing the consumer at the first experience?

Next look at the mechanics of your site. Is the copy easy to read, is the site simple to navigate, and have you defined your product or service?

Do the mechanics work? Is your idx program the best for the consumer? Is it buggy, is the data on time, does the program really work the way it was intended now being blended into your site? Would you use your site in a demonstration to sell this idx feed if you had to? Would your idx vendor use your site as a demonstration to a crowd to sell their service? Are the controls within it easy to use, simple to navigate, and does it function properly? Last but not least, do you ask for the sale?

Once the buyer attempts to reach you, what is your response time? Are systems in place to allow for the consumer to ask questions, talk to you, or at least reach a human when the mood has struck them to respond to your advertising and marketing? What about problems with the site? Is assistance easily reached while avoiding the tendency to sell?

Lastly (but only for this post), are you willing to test your answers with real time consumer response? Have you asked a client to take the experience and asked for constructive feedback at the time of closing? Are you everything you cracked yourself up to be? Or could you improve the quality of the consumer experience?

The experience doesn’t end with your marketing and advertising, it begins there. It actually ends with you. The same efforts we put into marketing and branding should be put into the service we as professionals deliver. Do you have a comment line? Do you have an impartial consumers complaint department? Do you have your own professional standards policies in place on your site? If you don’t, why not?

Defining your business is part of being in business. Remembering to elevate the consumer experience in your practice keeps you in business.

Larger brokerages need to take heed in what I’m laying out here. I realize that agents are not your employees and that distinction is very important. However, having standards as part of the practice and releasing those agents that do not rise to the level of those standards is important and practical. Selling is not the most important thing to a selling business, the client is- we all live this reality every day, employed or unemployed.

The excuse of being an independent w/little budgets is no longer an excuse. These questions are answered easially within yourself. Are you willing to realize the consumer experience you offer and shine a light on it? Does it pass the test? These are some basic ideas on places to look where problems may be presenting unknown to you. I hope that you’ll begin a personal and or corporate map of the consumer experience you offer.

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Daniel Rothamel

    February 27, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    This is very good advice for agents and brokers everywhere. The things you are talking about evaluating are things that we have recently put more emphasis on, in order to do a better job in measuring in our business.

    Even doing simple things like asking the question, “how did you find out about me” (or something similar) can open the door to a meaningful discussion and increased understanding of your business.

    I think that agents in general (myself included), even the best ones, might do an excellent job of serving their clients and customers, but could do an even better job by taking the time to ask questions and gain input from those same clients and customers.

  2. Teresa Boardman

    February 27, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    Nice post. i know that sounds lame but you hit so many of the basics. i remember when I first started as a Realtor, the biggest mistake I made was trying to be all things to all people every where. I am much more focused on my market and so are my web sites. Most agents are afraid to do that becasue they think they will lose business. if I am losing business it does not matter becaause I am getting the business I want.

  3. North Georgia Homes

    February 28, 2008 at 6:19 am

    It’s always a good idea to put yourself in the customers shoes when evaluating how your business is doing along with customer responses can help you best to only improve on what you have already implemented and remind one to stay on task.

    Customer service and finding your niche in the business and hard, honest work can only bring wealth and success.

  4. Benn Rosales

    February 28, 2008 at 9:22 am

    You’re absolutely correct, and for anyone reading, customer service isn’t what we’re talking about evaluating- what we’re talking about is an evaluation of the actual servicing you’re offering. Low tech or high tech, a service is useless if the consumer doesn’t like it, and generally tweaking those services can make all the world of difference.

  5. Will Barnard

    March 9, 2008 at 9:06 pm

    Great post! Just to take it one step further, it is not only important to market your services in a multitude of fashions in an attempt to “get the word out” about and you your company, but to be in a position to follow through with the promises made to the clients or potential clients. In my business (real estate investing and marketing), it is imperative that we deliver on the promise and execute “the little things” not only during the sale, but long after. This encourages repeat business and referrals which is the backbone of all service related businesses.

    My company, Nationwide Property Investments, LLC, goes to great lengths to insure customer satisfaction, not only during the sale, but many years to follow. On the investment side of real estate, you are either a company after a “marketing commission” or a company willing to stand by the investment and services you provide in order to acquire a long-term relationship with that client.

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Business Marketing

How a Facebook boycott ended up benefitting Snapchat and Pinterest

(MARKETING) Businesses are pulling ad spends from Facebook following “Stop Hate for Profit” social media campaign, and Snapchat and Pinterest are profiting from it.

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Phone in hand open to social media, coffee held in other hand.

In June, the “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign demanded social media companies be held accountable for hate speech on their platforms and prioritize people over profit. As part of the campaign, advertisers were called to boycott Facebook in July. More than 1,000 businesses, nonprofits, and other consumers supported the movement.

But, did this movement actually do any damage to Facebook, and who, if any, benefited from their missing revenue profits?

According to The Information, “what was likely crumbs falling from the table for Facebook appears to have been a feast for its smaller rivals, Snap and Pinterest.” They reported that data from Mediaocean, an ad-tech firm, showed Snap reaped the biggest benefit of the 2 social media platforms during the ad pause. Snapchat’s app saw advertisers spending more than double from July through September compared to the same time last year. And, although not as drastic, Pinterest also saw an increase of 40% in ad sales.

As a result, Facebook said its year-over-year ad revenue growth was only up 10 percent during the first 3 weeks of July. But, the company expects its ad revenue to continue that growth rate in Q3. And, some people think that Facebook is benefitting from the boycott. Claudia Page, senior vice president, product and operations at Vivendi-owned video platform Dailymotion said, “All the boycott did was open the marketplace so SMBs could spend more heavily. It freed-up inventory.”

Even CNBC reported that Wedbush analysts said in a note that Facebook will see “minimal financial impact from the boycotts.” They said about $100 million of “near term revenue is at risk.” And for Facebook, this represents less than 1% of the growth in Q3. However, despite what analysts say, there is still a chance for both Snapchat and Pinterest to hold their ground.

Yesterday, Snap reported their surprising Q3 results. Compared to the prior year, Snap’s revenue increased to $679 million, up 52% from 2019. Its net loss decreased from $227 million to $200 million compared to last year. Daily active users increased 18% year-over-year to 249 million. Also, Snap’s stock price soared more than 22% in after-hours trading. Take that Facebook!

In a prepared statement, Chief Business Officer Jeremi Gorman said, “As brands and other organizations used this period of uncertainty as an opportunity to evaluate their advertising spend, we saw many brands look to align their marketing efforts with platforms who share their corporate values.” As in, hint, hint, Facebook’s summer boycott did positively affect their amazing Q3 results.

So, Snapchat and Pinterest have benefited from the #StopHateForProfit campaign. Snapchat’s results show promising optimism that maybe Pinterest might fare as well. But, of course, Facebook doesn’t think they will benefit much longer. Back in July, CEO Mark Zuckerberg told his employees, “[his] guess is that all these advertisers will be back on the platform soon enough.”

Facebook isn’t worried, but I guess we will see soon enough. Pinterest is set to report its Q3 results on October 28th and Facebook on the 29th.

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Business Marketing

Cooler temps mean restaurants have to get creative to survive

(BUSINESS MARKETING) In the midst of a pandemic and with winter approaching, restaurants are starting to find creative and sustainable ways to keep customers coming in… and warm.

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Outdoor eating at restaurants grows in popularity.

Over the last decade we have seen a change in the approach to clientele experiences in the restaurant business. It’s no longer just about how good your food is, although that is still key. Now you have to give your customers an experience to remember. There are now restaurants that feed you in the dark, and others who require you to check all your clothes at the door. Each of these provides an experience to remember alongside food that ranges from good to exquisite, depending on your taste.

Now, however, the global pandemic has rearranged how we think about dining. We can no longer just shove people into a building and create a delectable meal. If you’ve relied mostly on people coming into your restaurant, you may struggle to survive now.

The new rules of keeping clients safe means setting things up outside is the easiest means of keeping large numbers of them from crowding inside. Because of this, weather has become a key influence in a company’s daily income. Tents that were a gimmick before, only needed by presumptuous millennials, are now a requirement to keep afloat. People are rushing to make their yards into lawns that bring some in some fancy feeling.

The ties to the sun in some areas are so strong that cloudy days have been shown to drop attendance as much as 14% for the day. This will become the more apparent the colder it gets. For me, I always mention hibernation weight in the winter, when all I want to do is curl up and eat at home. Down here in Texas we are already finding cooler weather, drops into the 70s even in August and September. We are all assuming a cold winter ahead. So, a bit of foresight is finding a means of keeping your guests warm for the winter ahead.

San Francisco restaurants have started with heat lamps during their cooler evenings. Fiberglass igloos have also been added to outdoor seating as a means of temperature control. A few places down in the Lonestar state keep roaring fires going for their outdoor activities. While others actually keep you running in between beverages by encouraging volleyball matches. This is the new future ahead of us, and being memorable is the way to go.

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Business Marketing

Healthcare during pandemic goes virtual, looks to stay that way

(BUSINESS NEWS) Employment-based health insurance has already been through the ringer with COVID-19, but company healthcare options are adapting for long term.

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Stethoscope with laptop, showing healthcare going virtual.

Changes in employment-based health insurance may end up costing employers more, but will provide crucial benefits to workers responding to the healthcare challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a recent survey by the Business Group on Health, a member-driven advocacy organization that helps large employers navigate providing health insurance to their employees, businesses will increase access to telehealth, mental health resources, and on-site clinics in the upcoming year.

Besides the obvious impacts of the coronavirus itself, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have also rippled out to affect other aspects of public health and how we engage with medical care. With so many people staying home to reduce their in-person contacts, there has been a significant increase in the use of telehealth services such as virtual doctor’s visits. According to the survey from Business Group on Health, whose members include 74 Fortune 100 companies, more than half of large employers will offer more options for virtual healthcare in the upcoming year than in the past.

The pandemic, resulting economic fallout, and dramatic changes to our lives have inevitably exacerbated peoples’ anxieties and feelings of hopelessness. As we move into cold weather, with no end in sight to the need to socially distance, this promises to be a particularly dreary, lonely winter. Mental health support will be more necessary than ever. In 2019, 73% of large employers provided virtual mental health services. That number will increase to 91% next year, with 45% of large employers also expanding their mental health care provider networks, making it easier for employees to find the right the therapist or other mental health service provider, and making it easier to access those services from home, virtually.

In addition, there will be a 20% increase in employers offering virtual emotional well-being services. Altogether, 9 out of 10 of the employers surveyed will provide online mental health resources, which, besides virtual appointments, could also include apps, webinars, and educational videos.

There has also been a slight increase the availability of on-site clinics that provide coronavirus testing and other basic health services. This also included an expansion of resources for prenatal care, weight management, and chronic health problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

These improvement won’t come free of charge. While deductibles will remain about the same, premiums and out-of-pocket costs will increase about 5%. In most cases, employers will handle these costs, rather than passing them on to employees.

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