To be high-touch with your clients, you sometimes also need to be high-tech. It’s no secret that face-to-face interactions are most fruitful when building customer relationships, but it isn’t always convenient or practical for many of your clients. As more aspects of communication and business transactions move online, a growing number of products is surfacing to help you foster stronger ties with clients on multiple platforms.
Technology can help you enhance your response time, better coordinate and target your customer follow-ups, and make thoughtful gestures to win more business. In fact, many of your clients demand that you be technologically savvy: 55 percent of consumers ages 37 to 51 say they want a real estate agent who uses technology, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2017 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report.
But you have to be purposeful in the way you use technology to improve client communication, says Helene Kelbaugh, director of technology at Keller Williams Legacy Metropolitan in Baltimore. “When a lot of people hear the word ‘technology,’ they think set it and forget it,” she says. “But many people depend on it for communication matters. Some of my touches are face-to-face, but a lot more are occurring online or over text. It’s harder to get people on the phone nowadays.”
Some of the tools she uses are basic. For example, Kelbaugh uses a function on Facebook to segment friends into groups such as vendors, past clients, and future clients, relying on Facebook to build her relationships before and after a transaction. That way, she can tailor her communication to her friends based on their situation. But Kelbaugh turns to more sophisticated tech to improve her customer response time. She uses Market Leader, which enables her to set up instant responses via text or email when a prospect submits an inquiry on her website. Market Leader also logs the time of day prospects visit her website and what they’ve viewed or saved.
Kelbaugh also uses Referral Maker Pro, a customer relationship management system that suggests lead-generating activities to do with each contact based on their likelihood of referring you to their network. The CRM provides insights into when and how to get in touch with contacts. There are plenty of tech tools geared toward fostering better customer relationships. Here’s a sampling.
|Bananatag||Free to track up to five emails per day; paid plans also available||This email marketing tool will tell you when, where, and how your contacts are interacting with your messages. You can track emails directly from your provider (such as Outlook or Gmail). View real-time analytics on opens, clicks, contact behavior, and trends. Use it to pinpoint the most engaged customers and the topics they’re most interested in.|
|REALTOR® Content Resource||Free to NAR members||HouseLogic, NAR’s consumer-facing website, gives members access to articles covering various aspects of homeownership—from maintenance to remodeling—which you can use in your marketing and as handouts. You can also add your own branding.|
|SurveyAnyPlace.com||Free basic plan; $49 per month for professional plan||Build customer surveys, or create a quiz on buying and selling—complete with your logo—for your newsletter, website, social media, and blog. This survey platform is compatible with any device. The interface is simple, and building a survey or quiz takes just a few minutes. You can also add images, video, and animation.|
|Homekeepr||Starting at $19.99 per month||Send your clients home maintenance reminders via text or email, including tasks such as changing air filters and replacing the smoke alarm batteries. Invite clients to download the app and respond to 10 quick questions about their home to start receiving alerts. You can provide recommendations for local vendors and service providers. The app is available in the Apple Store and on Google Play.|
|Relola||Plans starting at $49 per month||This tool enables real estate pros to create content for their social media pages around local listings. Use this app to post insights about the homes for sale in your area to LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. You can upload your own photos of listings, too. You can also use Relola to share information about demographics, sales, and communities. Relola is part of NAR’s REach class of 2017.|
|VocalReferences||Plans starting at $24.99 per month||Record audio or video testimonials from past clients, and upload them to the app for indexing and to increase your search traffic. You can then embed the testimonials on your social pages via a customizable widget. Add “capture testimonial” buttons to your website so customers can submit their own testimonials about your real estate services at their convenience. The app is available on the App Store and Google Play.|
|HubSpot||Starting at $200 per month||This inbound marketing software syncs with your CRM so you can track your contacts’ behavior online. The system will automatically upload leads who submitted online forms via your website and include a complete backlog of the person’s browsing history, including page views, submissions, emails, and more. It also will assign a score to your leads based on behavior that you deem to be central to your sales and marketing strategy. The integrated platform includes other tools for blogging, sending email, monitoring your social media, and creating landing pages for your website.|