As a real estate firm, getting many calls is a sign of good business.
The more people call, the more chances you have to close deals. But, a constant stream of calls can be overwhelming.
Engaging the services of a telephone answering service company can be beneficial.
First, your team can focus on the more critical parts of closing deals. An answering service can also guarantee that there’s always someone to pick up calls. Plus, they can ensure a pleasant experience for each caller.
Why Hire a Telephone Answering Service?
Anyone in the real estate business knows how daunting it can be to pick up phone call after phone call. You need to answer inquiries, nurture buyers, accommodate sellers, and everything in between. It’s exhausting, but that’s just a regular part of being in the business.
The problem is, that’s not the only thing you’re expected to do. There are plenty of other tasks competing for your time. That includes paperwork, viewings, networking events, and overseeing repairs. Calls tend to interfere with all that, not to mention any personal time you thought you’d be able to take.
Sure, you can always opt to keep office hours for phone calls. You can turn your phone off when you’re ready to call it a day. But, that also means turning away plenty of potential business.
Why would you do that when it’s completely unnecessary?
Hiring a telephone answering service allows you to take only the calls that require your personal attention. Properly trained agents handle everything else. Additionally, your business will be able to accommodate calls 24/7 so that you and your team can sleep soundly at night. You can enjoy your personal time away from work. Plus, you can do all that knowing you’re not letting any potential clients slip away.
The benefits of working with an answering service company are obvious. The problem is that anyone can pick up incoming calls. But, not everyone can handle those calls properly.
So how do you find an answering service that will surely handle every call professionally and effectively?
Qualities of a Good Real Estate Answering Service Company
1. Quick Response Time
One of the things that can set a good answering service apart from a poor one is a quick response rate. After all, this is crucial to your real estate firm’s reputation. With a minimum wait time, you immediately show your company’s competence and professionalism.
One of the most important considerations in an answering service is response time. Make sure your call center has the capacity to handle the volume of calls you typically get. If not, they might end up keeping callers waiting or missing calls entirely.
Additionally, make sure the answering service you’re considering offers 24/7 services. In real estate, many calls come outside office hours. That’s when you’ll really appreciate having a professional service to handle your calls.
Of course, expertise and experience are what many clients look for in a real estate firm. But according to a recent study by RedFin, those aren’t the most important values. Based on their survey, almost 50% of real estate clients value responsiveness above all.
With an excellent answering service, you guarantee not only responsiveness but also competence. When expertise and experience become crucial, they’ll be able to direct the calls to the right people in your team.
2. Customized Service
There’s a minimum standard of service that all answering agencies can provide. They can all pick up incoming calls and respond to basic questions using a script. But, the best telephone answering services offer customized packages.
The processes between real estate firms vary. That means a one-size-fits-all approach won’t necessarily work. Of course, previous experience in the industry helps. But, what’s most important is how they can tailor their offerings to suit the specific needs of your business.
Can they undergo rigorous training about your company? Can they handle conditional forwarding? Can you freely access all your recorded calls and account data?
When looking to hire an answering service, don’t just think about what they’ll need to offer to take that task away from you and your team. Think of the specific details that could form the ideal service for your company. Chances are, you’ll find a call center that can give you just that.
3. Trained and Experienced
True, responsiveness is critical to a real estate firm’s reputation. But that doesn’t mean that competence shouldn’t be just as important. It’s one thing to answer a call quickly. It’s another to give the caller a pleasant experience.
You’re not looking for a call forwarding service. You’ll need to make sure that the people who answer your calls undergo specific training. Of course, they should be able to answer questions on real estate and property management in general. But, they should also be able to answer specific questions about your company and your offerings.
Apart from knowing how to answer questions, the company you engage should train for excellent customer service. At the end of the day, the treatment of a caller is more important than the answers given to them.
4. Transparent Billing
It goes without saying that how much they charge for the service is really important. Every real estate firm has a budget. You’ll want to make sure you don’t end up spending more than you can afford.
But, what’s more important is that you find an agency that’s upfront about their fees. Be wary of those who present a basic package rate and then add on as you go.
Before you sign on to a service, ask them specific questions about the cost. Does it include off hours, weekends, and holidays? Does it charge per minute or per second? Will you need to pay for services you can’t use?
Generally, you can easily make back the cost of hiring an answering service. They make you and your team more efficient, and the business they bring in will definitely make up for the cost. What’s troubling is when you’re made to pay more than you should. Even worse is when you’re billed more than what you were made to expect.
5. Security, Confidentiality, and Privacy
It’s easy to think that the most important part of the service is how they handle your calls. But security, confidentiality, and privacy are just as crucial. Make sure you take a look at the behind-the-scenes service of a contact center before you hire them.
For security, they’ll need to guarantee uninterrupted service. Also, find out how they will protect your data and how often they back up.
Confidentiality is definitely expected but make sure it’s specified in your contract. Are they allowed to talk to your competitors about your business? Can they discuss what you do with companies in other industries? Information about your calls, processes, and data should be restricted to you. The agency you hire should explicitly agree to keep your dealings confidential.
Lastly, the privacy of your business, as well as that of every caller, should be respected. In real estate, your clients entrust your business with plenty of sensitive information. A professional answering service will explicitly state that they will never share, sell, lease, or give away your data to anyone. Make sure you can trust your call center team as much as you would your regular staff.
There’s no doubt your real estate firm has much to gain by engaging the services of an answering service.
The question is not in whether you can benefit from one but whether you’re choosing the right one.
AnswerFirst has a proven track record in offering all of the above qualities you need in a telephone answering service. If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help your business flourish, get in touch with us today.
We connect people with answers.
Updated May 25, 2019