Solving 3 common challenges for Real Estate Brokers

real-estate-broker.pngAs is written at http://www.realestatewiki.com, “The Swanepoel Trends Report discusses numerous strategies brokers and agents can follow to increase their income and maximize the opportunities created by the shifting market conditions.”  The first strategy they list is:  Maximizing Technology and the Internet to the Fullest.  With that said, here are a few industry challenges, as well as the solutions that empower real estate brokers and agents to utilize technology to increase their productivity and maximize their business opportunities:

 

Challenge: The agents own the relationship with the clients.

Your clients are calling their agent’s cell phone, not their business phone.  When an agent leaves your brokerage, so do his clients.  What can you do to protect yourself from losing your client base when the agent leaves?

Solution:  SimiPlex Cloud Based Solution has a feature called Mobile Twinning, which automatically and simultaneously rings your desk phone AND your mobile phone for ALL calls, ALL the time!  Because it functions automatically, it is simple to use, and reliable.  It works all the time.  With Mobile Twinning, your agents hand out to their clients a single phone number, their office number.  When the agent leaves, the phone number is assigned to a new agent, and the client remains within the brokerage.  As an added bonus, Mobile Twinning grants agents the freedom and flexibility to balance their work life and personal life.  With Mobile Twinning, you can answer calls from anywhere.  You can take a vacation and customers won’t even know that you’re gone!

 

Challenge: How to fax a mobile workforce?

Real Estate firms still rely heavily on faxing to transmit signed documents.  With the prevalence of mobile agents, how can technology be leveraged to bridge the gap between accommodating the need for faxing and embracing their mobile workforce culture?

Solution:  SimiPlex Cloud Based Solution includes Internet Faxing capabilities with each extension.  You can send and receive faxes from any computer.  When you receive a fax, an alert is sent to your email, so you know the second the fax arrives.   As an added benefit, all internet fax mailboxes are secure and confidential.  No more dealing with an insecure fax machine that anyone can just walk up to.

 

Challenge: Scalability.

As a real estate brokerage firm grows beyond their initial location, and expands to multiple offices, they need their communication system to grow with them and adapt to their changing needs, as opposed to holding them back.  With legacy premise based phone systems, some of the challenges growing firms face are as follows:

  • Disparate systems at each office with no ability for interoffice transfers. – Calls can only be routed to agents who are currently physically at that location.
  • In house expertise is required to manage and maintain the phone equipment. – In order to make any changes to your phone system configuration, you need to have someone on staff that is capable of making those changes. This is an added expense to running your business.
  • Toll charge when making interoffice calls. – Collaborating with your staff and coworkers incurs an expense every time you pick up the phone to talk to them.
  • Lack of brand uniformity across offices.

 

Solution:  SimiPlex Cloud Based Solution grows with your business.  Let’s address each of the challenges listed above:

  • Disparate systems at each office with no ability for interoffice transfers – Since its connectivity is to the cloud and not to a physical location, it is able to easily scale to the needs of your business. If you add new offices, just add phones and you’re done!  All the system programming and routing intelligence is stored and maintained in the cloud.  Therefore, the ability to route calls between offices, is no more complex than routing calls down the hall!
  • In house expertise is required to manage and maintain the phone equipment. – All phone system user management changes are made via our online portal, and is so simple to use, that anyone can do it! Alternatively, our helpful support staff will be more than happy to assist you with any system administration you require.
  • Toll charge when making interoffice calls. – Since all your offices will be running on a single cloud based system, there are no toll charges when calling between offices. To reach a person, anywhere in the company, just dial their internal extension, even if they are on the other side of the world!
  • Lack of brand uniformity across offices. – Since all your offices will be connected to a single cloud based system, all system and automated attendant greetings will have a uniform voice and call flow. Furthermore, you can easily setup a distributed contact center, where agents are load balanced across all your locations.  With included comprehensive call analytics, the SimiPlex Cloud Based Solution will help you provide your customers with the true world class service they deserve.  With service like this, you will knock your competition out of the park!

 

My question for you is, what are you doing in your business to enable you to deliver world class service to your clients no matter which office they call?  I’d love to hear from you, please leave a comment below.

A little bit about SimiPlex.  We create simple solutions for all your telephony problems. Our goal is to ensure you have the best experience possible, while ensuring security, reliability, and excellent customer service. Above all, we work hard for you as well as providing affordable solutions. Check us out today!  http://www.simiplex.com.

Mobility and the Cloud

mobility-and-cloud.pngLet me ask you a question.  Have you ever been in a situation where you knew that you had an important call coming in, but you didn’t know when the phone was going to ring?  There are so many other things that need to get done, and it seems like such a waste to just sit by the phone all day, waiting for that important call.  Yet, if you didn’t answer the phone when it rang, your whole day was just wasted!  Did you ever have one of those days?  What are some options you can apply to this situation?

Let see:

(1) You can ask your best friend to sit by your phone and transfer the call to you when it rings.  If you ask nicely and offer to buy him some pizza, I’m sure he’ll agree!  –Not too practical.

(2) You can bribe one of your kids to do it.  Pizza does wonders for kids.  –Also, not too practical.

(3) You can forward your calls to your cell phone. — Getting warmer.  The challenge with this option is that you have to remember to turn the feature on and off.  Otherwise, you run the risk of missing calls.  Suppose you know your calls are forwarded, and you walk out of the office.  However, in reality, you forwarded your phone YESTERDAY, but then turned off the forwarding when you came back into the office.  Now, you’re 200 miles away from the office and you remember that you forgot to hit that Forward button!  By now, I’d be ordering pizza for my best friend.

When it comes to features and functionality, my rule of thumb is Keep It Simple!  If you want seamless functionality, it has to be simple.  The less user interaction you have, the simpler it is!

For this, I present option (4) Mobile Twinning!

Mobile Twinning is a feature that automatically and simultaneously rings your desk phone AND your mobile phone for ALL calls, ALL the time!  The key word is “automatically”.  Sure you can turn it off.  However, that would defeat its purpose.  Because it functions automatically, it is simple to use, and reliable.  It works all the time.  With Mobile Twinning, if you’re waiting for an important call from a VIP client, but you have your son’s soccer championship to attend, you no longer have to choose between work and family time.  You can have it all!  No more missing out on those formative years!  You just can’t beat that!  Or, can you?

Believe it or not, there is one thing better than having Mobile Twinning.  Have you ever travled Internationally?  Say, to Italy?  How much do you think it would cost to call home on your cell phone?  Or, how much would it cost to receive that “important” work phone call on your American mobile phone in Italy?  I would venture to say, alot of money!  How much would it cost to rent an Italian SIM card?  Probably alot less than international roaming, but still more than if you didn’t have to rent a foreign SIM card in the first place!   In that case, Mobile Twinning doesn’t do you much good.  However, there is an element to Mobility which is inherent to Cloud Based Phone Systems.  That is the ability to connect back to the cloud via a mobile app using your phone’s data or WiFi connection!  Several US carriers provide free global data.  Even if you don’t have global data, there is always WiFi at an Italian Starbucks.  With a Mobility App, also known as a Softphone, you can make and receive calls over a mobile data (or WiFi) connection, as easily as if you’re sitting at your office in New York City!  You can use the app on an iPhone, Android, and even an iPad.  Congratulations!  Mobility has now kicked into overdrive!

With full blown mobility, you never have to miss a single call.  You have the peace of mind to do what’s most important to YOU.  You can go about your business with ease, even when you’re working across the globe!

My question for you is, what are YOU doing in your business to enable you to be productive in any setting, no matter where it is?  I’d love to hear from you, please leave a comment below.

A little bit about SimiPlex.  We create simple solutions for all your telephony problems. Our goal is to ensure you have the best experience possible, while ensuring security, reliability, and excellent customer service. Above all, we work hard for you as well as providing affordable solutions. Check us out today!  http://www.simiplex.com.

Scalability For Startups

Technology.

One challenge that is near and dear to my heart, is the one the every startup goes through, and that is, scalability.  It’s a chicken or the egg kind of thing.  Do you make the leap of faith and invest, or do you first grow organically, and only when you’re confident that you can support the growth do you grow.  The challenge is that you need one for the other to happen.  So, short of playing chicken (no pun intended), what comes first, the chicken or the egg?

This, obviously, is an abstract challenge that applies equally to all industries.  As with the macro scalability challenge, the same challenge exists with a business’s communications environment.  In my opinion, startups (small businesses too, but especially startups) are microcosms of large enterprises.  Every challenge that a large enterprise has, has a micro version manifestation within a startup environment.

A large enterprise has a finance department for accounts payable / accounts receivables.  A startup has an Entrepreneur on Quickbooks.  An enterprise has a marketing department.  A startup has an Entrepreneur writing content.  Same need, different scale.   Now, let’s take communications for example.  A large enterprise needs to communicate, a startup needs to communicate.  A large enterprise needs a phone system, a startup needs a phone system.  That’s simple enough to understand.  Let’s take this comparison to the next level.  How about a call center?  A large enterprise typically has some form of a call center that handles a massive amount of calls per hour.  What about a startup?  They’re going to need some form of call center as well, since they’re doing the same things a large enterprise is doing, albeit on a smaller scale.  Wait, there’s more!

Call center is such a 20th century term!  In the 20th century, the only common way you can contact a business is by phone.  I say common, because they had fax; however, most people did not send off a fax every time they had an issue or need.  They picked up a phone and made a phone call.  Hence the term, CALL center.

In this day and age, we have so many more channels with which to contact a business.  There is email, chat, and social media.  Due to the availability of multiple channels of communications, contemporary “CALL” centers are now referred to as Multi Channel CONTACT centers.  However, it doesn’t end here.  Multi Channel Contact Centers are now being left behind, in favor of OMNI CHANNEL Contact Centers!  What’s that?  Like a multi channel contact center, omni channel contact centers support multiple channels of communications.  However, they take it a step further.  With Omni Channel, your contact center maintains a seamless and consistent flow of communications to the end user across two or more channels.  For example, let’s say you tweet a customer service department, they respond to the tweet.  You then hit them up on a chat session, then send them an email, then call them on the phone.  With omni channel, your entire interaction flow will be maintained in the contact center’s database.  Each contact center agent you interact with, on whatever channel you’re on at the moment, will be aware of all your previous engagements on other channels, regarding the issue you are contacting them for.

Why should this matter to you?  The answer is, that in this day and age, consumers are much better educated than ever before.  Customer Service is the new paradigm of doing business.  Your entire focus and strategy of doing business should be one thing, and one thing only.  To serve and delight your customers, so that they award you with their repeat business. If you’re not doing this, someone else is!  If that doesn’t convince you, consider the following:

As Gerald Sinclair writes in the inContact Blog, http://www.incontact.com/blog/multichannel-vs-omnichannel-and-its-impact-on-the-customer-experience, “Research done by the Aberdeen Group shows businesses that adopted an omnichannel strategy benefited with a 91% year-over-year increase in client retention rates compared to organizations that chose not to implement this type of interaction plan. Reducing the confusion of different messages across multiple engagement channels is a key attribute in retaining customers and increasing profits.”

If you’re thinking about what does it cost to deploy an omni channel contact center, think about what it costs NOT to!

Which brings us back to startups.  How on Earth does a startup jump on the omni channel band wagon without overtaxing their micro budget?  This technology sounds expensive!  The good news, is that it’s NOT!  Thanks to a trend calls SaaS, or Software as a Service.  SaaS is very sassy, because it levels the playing field.  SaaS enables a one man (or woman) startup to leverage the power of Enterprise grade technology, on a scale that is right for their business.  With SaaS, you tap into cloud based solutions to deliver the same kind of service that the large enterprises have been used to, only at a much smaller price point.  The reason being, you don’t have to purchase infrastructure, as everything is in the cloud.  You just pay for what you use.

Therefore, our startup’s cloud based omni channel contact center can now compete and crush the big company’s service departments, as long as the Entrepreneur is willing to put in the time, effort, and energy to succeed.  This is pure empowerment!

My question for you is, what are YOU doing in your business to differentiate your customer service experience from your competition?  I’d love to hear from you, please leave a comment below.

A little bit about SimiPlex.  We create simple solutions for all your telephony problems. Our goal is to ensure you have the best experience possible, while ensuring security, reliability, and excellent customer service. Above all, we work hard for you as well as providing affordable solutions. Check us out today!  http://www.simiplex.com.