Relationships matter in the real estate industry. Understanding your clients and what they need in a property is essential in building a successful brokerage.
As a real estate professional, you’re probably pretty good with people. You understand the importance of empathy, listening, and striking the right tone with every interaction.
(Check out our guide to providing great customer service over the phone.)
Setting up customer service for your real estate brokerage
Providing great customer service as a real estate broker is about more than those one-on-one interactions, though. A solid customer service infrastructure gives you a system to handle your inbound calls with maximum efficiency and minimal effort.
Here, we’ll talk about three essential components to your brokerage’s customer service system.
- A live answering service helps you respond to your clients 24/7/365.
- Lead capture forms make it easy for you to turn your website visitors into clients.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software integrations organize your customer data and put it where you need it to be.
24/7 live answering for real estate brokers
Real estate is a competitive business. Being responsive to your callers and website visitors is the first step in creating the relationships you need to build your brokerage.
If people struggle to get through to you and your team, they’ll probably look elsewhere for help buying their house or other property.
So who’s answering your phone? And how easy is it for your callers to reach the best person in your office to help them?
A 24-hour live answering service gives you an instant virtual receptionist, and more. Here are a few of the benefits of adding this to your customer service system:
You’re always open
A virtual receptionist service means your clients will never reach voicemail. Even when you and your team are busy showing a property or on the phone with another client, the virtual receptionist is there to greet every caller with a friendly, professional voice.
If you make your clients work hard to get in touch with your brokerage, chances are they won’t do it. Instead, they’ll call a competitor with stronger customer service and give their business to them.
If your marketing is working well, you’ll generate a lot of inbound calls. That’s good, but it can be a challenge as well.
Why? Because not all those inbound calls have the same value. Some are serious people ready to invest in real estate, while others may be just dipping their toe in the water. You’d like to work with all of them, but realistically, you have to prioritize.
A virtual receptionist helps you do that. The receptionist answers your phone right away, so your callers know their business is important to you.
But the receptionist also helps you respond appropriately to those calls. With a few simple questions you design, the receptionist can sort your inbound calls by priority.
The hottest leads get routed directly to you or the agent best suited to handle them. For less critical leads, the receptionist takes a detailed message so you can follow up later.
Quick call routing
As your brokerage grows, you’ll add more agents. That’s success! But getting inbound calls to the right person takes some thought and planning.
A live answering service can make call routing smooth and painless—for your team and your clients.
When someone calls your office, the receptionist who answers politely asks the reason for the call. If the caller is trying to reach a specific person with whom they’ve already had contact, they can be routed immediately.
If the caller hasn’t spoken to anyone yet, the receptionist can determine the type of call—maybe this relates to the kind of property they’re looking for, or the location. Once that’s been determined, the receptionist can handle the call appropriately.
Your callers reach the right person on your team without being bounced around or wasting time. And respecting your callers’ time is a critical element of great customer service.
Lead capture for real estate brokers
While many of your clients may come to you by phone, a complete customer service plan for your real estate brokerage should also include your online visitors.
You probably already have a website, where people can get to know your team and the kinds of properties you can show them. Maybe you even have a web form they can fill out to give you their contact information.
But what happens when they submit the info? Does their email address just get added to a list for your next newsletter? That’s better than nothing, but you can do more.
A 24/7 live answering service can help. When someone submits their contact info through your web form, it triggers an alert. The receptionist can then call the person to start building your relationship with that potential client.
CRM integrations for real estate brokers
CRM is your best friend, helping you stay on top of all your clients to provide personalized service. Connect your virtual receptionist service to your CRM for a silky smooth workflow
As you know, relationships are critical in the real estate business.
A good CRM (customer relationship management) application is your best friend when it comes to handling those relationships.
A virtual receptionist service can be integrated with your CRM, so that call data—who called, when, and why—can be pushed automatically into your system.
This helps you keep track of each time your brokerage has interacted with a client—even if different people spoke with them.
CRM integrations also put all the information you need about a client at your fingertips whenever they call. You know where they are, what kind of property they’re looking for, and any other important data you need to help them.
A CRM integration makes your customer service more efficient and more accurate. Your clients will appreciate how easy it is to do business with you!
Virtual receptionist scripts for real estate brokers
When someone calls your real estate brokerage, your virtual receptionist answers with a friendly, professional greeting.
Then, the script you’ve designed for your account helps the receptionist categorize the call and respond appropriately.
Let’s take a simple example. Here are some pieces you might combine to create your script.
The answer phrase is the greeting you specify for your virtual receptionist to use. It might be something like “Thank you for calling Home Sweet Home Brokerage. How can I help you?”
Your virtual receptionist service will help you choose a greeting that works for your brokerage.
Caller ID technology makes it easy to tell who’s calling you, in most situations. Your virtual receptionist should have software to identify your caller and auto-populate your message fields with their name and phone number, if they are an existing contact for your business.
If it’s a new caller, this is the stage where the virtual receptionist will verify the information to be sure things are accurate going forward.
Depending on your needs, the receptionist might ask the caller to spell their name and confirm the best number at which to reach them.
At the Call Type step, the receptionist categorizes the call into one of a few options you’ve chosen for your account.
These could be whatever works for your business. Most likely, you’ll want to keep the Call Type list fairly short, but it should include the most common reasons people call you.
Calls that don’t fit any of your most important types can be categorized as “Other.”
Most likely, the first thing you’ll want to know after confirming who’s calling is whether they need to buy or sell property.
When the receptionist chooses this call type, the Buyer branch of your script will appear with additional questions related to buying a house or other property.
If you wish, you can set up a rotation so that your brokerage’s agents receive these messages when it’s their turn.
As with the Buyer call type, the Seller call type allows you to include a series of questions or script statements related to this client need.
If you have specific agents or a team dedicated to assisting people with the sale of property, these messages can be routed directly to them.
When a client is already working with an agent on your team, they might still occasionally call the main office instead of contacting that person directly.
When they do, this call type allows you to take a message for the agent and tag it with their name, so they can respond as soon as possible.
There will always be calls that don’t fit any of your usual call types. Having a catch-all “other” category lets your receptionists bundle these calls together so you can deal with them when you are able to.
A customer service system helps your brokerage grow
When you have a solid customer service system in place to help your clients achieve their real estate goals, everything becomes a little easier.
You’ll be able to focus on client needs rather than phone calls, messages, or bookkeeping.
Have any questions about how a virtual receptionist service can help you build a great customer service flow for your brokerage? Give us a call!