Inman

How automation can help you nurture old leads

By May 17, 2017 No Comments
REPOSTED DIRECTLY FROM INMAN NEWS. THIS CONTENT HAS NOT BEEN MODERATED BY WFG NATIONAL TITLE.

This is an unsolicited tech review based on Redefy’s own experience. Redefy pays for Scale’s services and gets nothing in return for the review.

What’s the worst part of an agent’s day?

Making calls on old leads.

Some offices and high-producing agents use call centers to avoid this cumbersome task.

So, what’s the worst part of the call center’s day?

Yup — you guessed it — calling stale, old leads.

Real estate brands using an in-house call center to field customer inquiries and vet leads for agents waste countless hours paying highly-trained associates for low-value tasks. New technologies are providing options to minimize wasted time and improve efficiency.

As associates try to keep up with incoming calls and high-priority leads, older contacts that need follow up start building in the queue. These are often folks who aren’t ready to buy or sell; or people who are just curious. Regardless, these low priority leads still need to be engaged.

Outsourcing call center operations is common practice for all kinds of businesses. But it’s tricky for real estate, given the high degree of training associates needed to handle inquiries.

No one wants to hire more staff only to have them sit around during slower seasons. Temps take too long to train and are costly.

Automating microtasks

The solution is a tech-empowered productivity tool with a human interface. Bay Area-based Scale was founded on the idea of handling microtasks that bog down in-house call center associates with a large on-demand workforce of contractors.

They created a simple yet genius API to automate repetitive functions, such as making phone calls.

The key difference is that these conversations can be limited and fully customizable to stay within a prescribed scope. Redefy tested and implemented Scale to simply gauge interest in older contacts, some as much as a year old.

Because the product was designed to integrate into existing software, we were able use our custom CRM to send out as many contacts as needed that fell within certain parameters.

With just a few very specific and targeted questions, Scale callers — with no real estate training — could quickly find out the contact’s current status and redirect interested buyers or sellers back to our in-house call center with detailed notes.

Understand that if you use this service, you’ll need a prioritization software to ensure that a new lead doesn’t fall to the bottom of your queue again.

The system is extremely efficient but the complexities of conversation and triggers will need a developer to tweak the specifics, and monitor and manage the workflow.

However, the manpower saved by automating low-value tasks to free up trained associates for high-value tasks is worth the effort.

The beauty of Scale is it can be turned on and off as needed, saving costs and keeping our queue under control.

Big call center or small, the service lives up to its name and scales to meet the need, plus usage costs go down with volume.

Setting realistic goals

If you’re looking for a high degree of lead conversion, you will probably be disappointed.

It’s more realistic to understand that the goal of automating this particular task is to keep your queue manageable so that trained associates can focus on high-value calls.

Although we’re always interested in converting older contacts into leads, we know that a high percentage of the contacts we send to Scale are probably going to be people who were never really interested in the first place.

Sifting through the volume of old leads quickly and for less money has done two things: First, every one of the folks we contact through Scale hears our name again, keeping us top of mind. Second, no one gets left behind — we can easily stay in touch to re-engage older contacts who are ready to buy or sell.

Scale has broadened its repertoire to include highly technical on-demand microtasks with a range of human-plus-machine-learning tools that can be applied to real estate.

Just a few of their developer-level automations include:

  • Image recognition (from mapping and satellites to smart drone tech)
  • Audio transcription (podcasts, video captions and more)
  • Categorization (image tagging, support ticket triage and more)
  • Comparison (search relevance, algorithm checks, redundancies and perception-based rankings)
  • Data collection (think lead research and data collection that’s automated)

When it comes to automating microtasks to free up trained sales associates, Scale is a valuable tool.

Smart companies like Houzz and Alphabet (Google) are listed among their customers.

I expect to see more real estate platforms find value in managing old leads and other microtasks through human-powered automation.

Chris Rediger is the co-founder and president of Redefy Real Estate. Learn more about Chris and Redefy on Twitter or Facebook.

The views and opinions of authors expressed in this publication do not necessarily state or reflect those of WFG National Title, its affiliated companies, or their respective management or personnel.

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