Want to know how the best real estate companies support and retain their customers? Find out in this real estate retention handbook!
Buying a home is often the most expensive investment a customer will undertake in their lifetime. And so for good real estate companies, the deal is only done when money is in the bank and the keys are in their customer’s hands. But for the great real estate companies, that’s when the deal just begins.
For the highest-grossing agents and companies, the end of a sale is just the beginning of a new one. And that’s for two key reasons:
- Retaining clients is the most essential part of growing a real estate business. One part of retention is referrals, which is how 68% of customers chose the company or person they buy from in 2021.
- The second part is retention; being able to keep a customer. The cost of acquiring a new customer is 25 times more than selling to an existing one.
Being the first company that comes to customers’ minds when they’re thinking of investing in a second home, selling their current one or referring a new one to family and friends is key.
More often than not, these will be the easiest sales you’ll ever make.
So how do you go about ensuring that you give your customers the right mix of support + engagement?
Jump to whichever section you’d like to know more about –
It goes without saying how personalisation can be a big reason why your users prefer and choose to stay with your real-estate business. After all, who doesn’t love individual attention?
1. Send thank you letters
When real estate companies send new customers thank you letters after a sale or after a customer has moved in, it shows that the company cares. Some companies leave housewarming gifts or goodie baskets – segmented by predefined buyer personas.
It’s also important to remember, that while a gift does go that extra mile in showing your gratitude, you don’t need to buy the clients’ loyalty. Sending these letters and baskets is more than just a polite gesture, it’s the first step in building a more lasting relationship with a customer.
While handwritten letters are always appreciated, a timely sent WhatsApp message also goes a long way in building customer relationships.
2. Reach out for special occasions
As you get to know your customers, you’ll find out a lot of things about them. Birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, holidays and more. Encourage your team to proactively make a note of these dates and feed them into a database.
Nothing says, “I’m a part of this family” like a well-timed well-wisher.
While holidays are a little overdone in terms of celebrations, personal events like birthdays or anniversaries are considered personal and thoughtful. For example, you can add these details to your CRM system, which can be integrated with your conversational AI solution. This would even let you send them greetings on special days and automate personalised campaigns.
Also check out: Holiday Season Support: Optimising for Speed and Surge in Demand
3. Leverage economies of scale
As a company, you intimately know what customers are looking for in a home. You also know what they wanted, but could not get/afford. As a business, you have the ability to leverage economies of scale and by allowing customers to incrementally update their houses or interiors, you keep them loyal.
Clearly communicate these business processes to establish trust and ensure you are on the same page as your customers. Ask them to discuss their expectations and concerns up front to show them that you have their best interests at heart. Onboard your users with a personalised workflow, asking what they’re looking for and outlining some of the ways they can expect a great experience with you.
Treat customers like humans, not numbers
Imagine yourself in your user’s shoes. As a real-estate buyer, wouldn’t you want your seller to treat you like they care about your big investments? There’s nothing more customers dislike than to be treated like just leads and not actual people. Here’s how to ensure that doesn’t happen.
1. Get to know your clients personally
Build a relationship with a customer that doesn’t constantly orient around financials. Your ability to retain your clients is determined by the relationship that you establish with them from day one.
Customers want to feel that they’re part of a large family, which is why frequent communication is a must. It’s harder to keep in touch post-deal if you’re not actively communicating through the sales and pre-sales process. While filling out forms is a prevalent way to know them better, most customers today want a shorter, more interactive way. Conversational chatbots can yet again make this process easier by asking for details as and when they are relevant during the conversation.
Get to know your customers by asking them about their families, future plans and interests. Remember, most people stay in a house for an average of seven years.
2. Give them what they need and want
As a real estate company, you need to respond to not just your customers expressed needs, but also their unexpressed needs.
But be patient with clients. They don’t always know what they want. In such cases, try to help them figure out by asking leading questions.
If they like getting updated by phone, do that. If they prefer emailing back and forth, do that. More often than not, customers want to talk to companies on platforms they’re already on, like WhatsApp. Clients will appreciate your efforts.
3. Keep them engaged
As a business, your job is to help customers solve problems. Running a home is difficult and any help a company provides makes an impact. Tie up with third-party providers and offer discounted deep cleaning services, painting, pest control or furniture rental to keep customers hooked. This builds trust and lets customers know that you have their best interests in mind, even at a cost. This will make their post-sales experience more seamless.
4. Collect regular feedback
It’s one thing to provide buyers with the information they need, and the other to know how well you did it. Proactively looking for feedback, say after a customer support interaction, lets your customer know that you care about their opinion and experience. It lets them know that you are open to change with critical feedback. While there are ways to get it manually through offline surveys, you should have the right technology handy to do it in 2022. This brings us to our next point…
Use technology to your advantage
While treating your customers well is a no-brainer when it comes to retaining them, technology has opened new doors for real-estate companies to boost customer loyalty. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can use technology to your benefit.
1. Employ conversational AI
If you aren’t familiar already, conversational AI is the next step in the world of rule-based chatbots. Conversational AI is an AI-driven communication technology that can help you connect and understand your customer needs through intelligent chatbots and voicebots.
As we mentioned earlier, personalisation goes a long way in keeping your customers gripped by your business. You can train your conversational voice and chat AI on specific use-cases exclusive to the real estate industry. With a robust platform that knows the pain points and bottlenecks prevalent in real estate, your customers will feel heard and understood.
Using a chatbot
The top reason why you need conversational AI chatbots to cultivate better brand perception and more retention is that they are anything but robotic, which is one of the top reasons why people generally don’t like talking to one. This is no different in real estate.
For example, when your customer comes back looking for, say interior solutions, your chatbot can make this search simple. It can probe users to explain their specific requirements and offer the best solutions that match these filters.
Using a voicebot
A voicebot, as the name suggests, is an AI-powered conversational solution that connects with your users through vocal interactions. But how can you use to nurture better relationships with your users or even prospects?
Let’s take the same example of a user looking for home services. The interaction between your customer and voicebot would really just be like a support representative helping them navigate their options. The voicebot can ask relevant questions, assess the user needs like budget, scale interactions, etc to shortlist relevant vendors. Manual scavenging for the right options can be daunting, but a voicebot can make the search targeted in the shortest time possible. This avoids the user to jump onto a platform with a better navigational experience.
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2. Utilise social media
For companies that have typically had several hundred or thousands of customers, social media is a great way to keep in touch while advertising your services. Using these platforms to cultivate and preserve relationships with clients has become even easier.
Create campaigns that put your customers first and let them share it organically. Create campaigns on platforms your customers are already on – like WhatsApp. Build a conversational chatbot on WhatsApp that solves property-specific use cases. Send them outbounds that see open rates of above 75% and offer hyper-personal post-sales support and engagement. And not only WhatsApp, but you can also connect with your users 24×7 on other social channels like Instagram and Facebook.
- Get Started with Facebook Chatbot in Just 30 Seconds with Verloop.io
- Integrate Instagram Messenger API with Verloop.io in 30 Seconds
3. Establish an email marketing campaign
Although it is less personal, creating an email list for clients does wonder for keeping them engaged. Through email marketing, you can regularly remind former customers about your services and provide them with useful content that piques their interest and helps them navigate the world of homeownership.
The best part of email marketing is that it can all be automated, so you can stay in touch with all of your clients at the same time. With a good email service provider, like Mailchimp or Hubspot, you can create quality newsletters and streamline your communication, giving you time to close more deals and focus on the more challenging aspects of your business.
Also know: Besides email newsletters, a more engaging way to send out marketing campaigns is through targeted WhatsApp messages. Verloop.io’s Outreach feature lets you craft highly personalised campaigns to cross-sell, up-sell, and retain repeat users.
Split your time between trying to find new business and concentrating on the connections you’ve already made for maximum efficiency. By keeping up with clients after the sale, you’ll demonstrate that you’re a company that cares.
4. Quarterly market update
Homes and neighbourhoods are investments, much like any other purchases. Your customers chose you because you were the local expert; now you get a chance to prove it. The best way to encourage customers to make further investments is to keep them informed about the state of the market. The way to do that is by quarterly or biannual market updates.
Separate your email lists in groups by neighbourhood, and aim to send out an information email once a month/quarter about the particular community.
Make a list of local news resources or in-house research, and pull stories accordingly based on your customers’ area. It doesn’t require a lot of effort, but it can give significant results as the emails will continue to position you as the local expert.
You can set timely triggers on your WhatsApp chatbots to broadcast these updates to your customers – after all, the open rate for chat apps like WhatsApp is phenomenal.
Incentivise preferred behaviour
It’s a classic give-and-take situation. If you wish your prospects and users to stick with your business, you need to make it worth their while. And it doesn’t always have to be monetary in nature. Your reactive behaviour speaks a lot. Here are a few ways you can incentivise your customers:
1. Ask for referrals
A lot of companies or sales reps shy away from asking for referrals because they perceive it to be rude or unsightly.
But don’t forget that your customers’ friends, neighbours and family members are potential leads, too. Several enthusiastic, satisfied customers living in the same region are way more likely to call again, even years later, if they hear about your recent activities.
People talk and will often respond warmly if you ask them to put a good word in for you, especially if you follow up and thank them!
2. Communicate investment opportunities
Did a real estate tax law just change? Was there a new property that just entered the market?
One way to empower clients is to help them help themselves. Offering classes on financial literacy to explain to clients what options are available to them works well. So, doing things like having knowledgeable speakers address critical topics in real estate, such as the outlook on the housing market or workshops on short sales can position your company to convert potential clients into customers.
3. Offer attractive sales opportunities
You want to be the first thing customers think of when they sell their house.
One best way to keep your customers updated on your firm’s schemes is by displaying the resale services you provide on the social media wall at events, conferences, or office lobbies.
Provide case studies showcasing previous success stories and the advantages of choosing them instead of a third party.
Customer retention example: How Marathon Realty shot up engagement and conversions with WhatsApp
While websites have been the top way for modern real-estate companies to generate and qualify leads, it’d be naive of us to rule out the power chat apps hold today.
Like we spoke earlier about how WhatsApp helps you engage and connect with your customers better, Marathon Realty is a living example of the remarkable impact it actually makes.
By deploying a WhatsApp chatbot, Marathon realty generated over 2000 leads in just one month. At an astronomical conversion rate of 55%.
So what are you waiting for?
Want to deliver excellent customer support that drives retention? Invest in a customer support automation platform that’s used by real estate giants across the world.
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