August 22, 2019
Real estate must-have customer journeys
Working in the real estate industry is tough. Real estate professionals like yourself face a different set of challenges not seen in many other industries. In addition to the long hours, high-stress situations, and managing clients on emotional rollercoasters, you’re also required to be proficient in sales, account management, and business development — all while continuing to find new clients to help your real estate business grow.
Adding fuel to the fire is the effect that digital technology is currently having on the real estate sector, thus giving rise to the PropTech industry. The PropTech industry has resulted in businesses such as Zillow change the way in which homes are being bought and sold. We’re witnessing the likes of Rentlogic trawl through publicly available data to provide ratings for over a million apartments in New York City, providing tenants with more bargaining power. We’ve also seen start-ups coming up with creative ways to make property ownership available to more people.
Customers have definitely benefited from the disruptions caused by PropTech. On the other hand, real estate agents have seen their jobs become increasingly difficult. Thanks to the increased competition from new market entrants, real estate agents are under more pressure than ever to clearly articulate their value proposition and offer a superior customer experience as a point of difference.
Improving the real estate customer experience with customer journeys
In an industry built on relationships, providing a remarkable customer experience is crucial for any real estate professional wanting to succeed. By focusing on the customer experience, your real estate business can benefit from increased customer satisfaction and retention levels as well as be in a stronger position to grow. The secret to getting started on improving the real estate customer experience is by customer journey mapping.
A customer journey map is a diagram that tells the story of your customer’s experience: from initial contact, through the process of engagement and completing their deal — and hopefully forming a long-term relationship that will benefit both parties. Like an aerial map showing your neighborhood’s hot spots, a customer journey map allows you to see how and why your real estate customers move through your sales funnel. This, in turn, will help you identify opportunities to enhance their customer experience — and put you in front of your competitors in this tough industry.
In this article, we outline 3 real estate must-have customer journeys that all real estate professionals should familiarize themselves with to ensure that they’re not missing out on opportunities to attract, engage, and form long-term relationships with valuable leads.
1. Form capturing
As a real estate professional, chances are that you have a website featuring a blurb about your business, a listings page with details on your current properties, and an inquiry form. When a user fills out an inquiry form, it may go straight to your inbox, where it will share inbox space with thousands of other unread emails and promotional spam. Alternatively, you might have a CRM such as Pipedrive that will take the information from a form and create a new prospect file (or deal, as it’s known in Pipedrive).
Speed, efficiency, and convenience are key it comes to comes to improving your real estate customer expensive. This means that you mustn’t take too long to respond to queries or your lead will look elsewhere. To avoid letting your potential leads go to waste, use Autopilot and your CRM together to automate your lead capture and follow-up process, keeping your leads engaged until they’re ready to chat.
As you can see in the template below, this journey is triggered when a lead fills out a form on your website. They are automatically added to a deal in Pipedrive and a follow-up call is scheduled. The lead also receives an email, confirming that their inquiry went through successfully and that someone will be in touch shortly. The lead is also added to a Facebook custom audience for retargeting purposes so that your business is kept top-of-mind.
To see this journey in action, watch the video below.
2. Scheduling and following up appointments
Not all forms are created equal, especially when it comes to real estate websites. You may have a standard form like the one in the journey above, or you may have a form that comprises drop-down lists with options to select or an additional field that allows leads to add optional notes.
The journey below focuses on the second type of form and is designed to help you keep track of all new website inquiries, send them to your sales team to secure an appointment, send reminders for the appointment, and ensure the contact is followed up with after the appointment. To make things easier, the journey is divided into three components: 1) scheduling the appointment, 2) sending reminders about the appointment, and 3) following up after the appointment.
In the scheduling component, the contact is routed to the relevant sales person based on the rental price bracket they’ve selected on the form. Contacts that have selected the highest rental price bracket (more than $601 per week) are given priority by being scheduled a meeting urgently.
In the reminder component, contacts with an appointment in the next five days are sent an SMS reminder via Autopilot’s Twilio integration. This is to ensure that they actually show up to the inspection at the scheduled time. After all, nothing annoys a real estate professional more than a no-show!
In the follow-up component, contacts that attended their scheduled appointment will be sent a follow up based on their level of interest. Contacts that showed a specific interest during the appointment will be prioritised with a thank you SMS and be followed up personally.
To see this journey in action, watch the video below.
3. Lead nurturing
Real estate is not an impulse buy. Helping potential property owners travel the long road toward finding their dream home or apartment can be a long process, one that can potentially take years rather than months. Thus, it makes sense that the more leads you have, the greater your chances of closing these sales. This is where an email lead nurturing strategy will work its magic.
According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors, 94% of real estate professionals prefer to communicate with prospects via email. Since you’re already using email on a daily basis, keep your communication streamlined by utilizing the opportunities real estate email marketing presents by connecting with hundreds or even thousands of people at the same time. In short, a lead nurturing email journey is an excellent way to keep track of, and in touch with prospective buyers until they’re ready to buy.
In the journey below (designed by Autopilot customer, Motii), leads that sign up to your real estate newsletter are sent a welcome email following a 24-hour time delay that acts as a safety net. From there, a series of nurture emails are sent, each one comprising useful and informative content to provide value to the reader, thus increasing the customer experience with your brand (and their trust towards you).
All in all
The shift towards customer experience in real estate reflects the impact that technology has had in the industry as well as the ever-changing needs and expectations of renters and buyers. Speed, efficiency, knowledge, and trust are critical components for helping your real estate business create a remarkable customer experience — and customer journey mapping is key to helping you get there.