How RateMyAgent Introduced Multichannel Communication With a Cloud Phone System
Selling a home with no real estate experience is a lot like performing a juggling act without any practice. A knowledgeable, trustworthy real estate agent can simplify the experience and help property sellers get broader exposure and better deals—in other words, they give the untrained jugglers an extra hand or two. RateMyAgent helps sellers find agents like that.
89 percent of consumers worldwide use online reviews to help guide their decision-making, according to Canvas8. In the U.S. and U.K., the only source consumers trust more is their family and friends. That's why modern real estate agents need a strong digital footprint and a way to share all the positive feedback they get from former clients.
RateMyAgent's online platform provides referrals and sales statistics that property sellers can consult when choosing an agent. Though property sellers are the platform's end users, the mission of the business is "to support great agents and help them to raise their digital presence through the power of verified reviews."
That's according to Gregor Hartnell, Vice President of Operations in the U.S. and Head of Operations in Australia. His job is to ensure that RateMyAgent's customer support and sales teams have the best tools in place to drive sales and maximise customer satisfaction—starting with a flexible phone system that enables multichannel communication.
Here to Help
As with any rating service, trust is mission-critical for Rate My Agent's customer-facing teams. To build and maintain that trust, they must provide great service for both real estate agents and end users. For Hartnell, success is "providing an outstanding experience," which requires that the platform is intuitive, support is accessible and customer needs get met in one call.
"Understanding and anticipating the next steps that a customer will go through is key. There's nothing worse than ringing up to find out how to do one thing, and then hanging up and realising you also need to find out how to do A, B, C and D."
For the customer support team, anticipating needs means ascertaining what customers are trying to achieve on the platform and helping them towards this end. For the sales team, it means helping agents figure out how to get more value from the platform. For both teams, the phone is integral.
While RateMyAgent's teams utilise multichannel communication, there's nothing like a productive phone call to keep customers happy. As Hartnell put it, "There's a really special connection you can have with someone over the phone."
Not only are phone calls more personal, but they can also be more efficient.
"We like to deal with the basic stuff over chat, but when we're dealing with really high-value customers or a more technical issue, we prefer the phone."
RateMyAgent's sales teams also rely heavily on phone calls, primarily for outbound prospecting. Salespeople identify which real estate agents are getting the most value out of the free version and reach out to discuss how those customers might benefit from using premium features, such as the ability to manage their social media and optimise their presence on Google.
The Perfect Fit
RateMyAgent's road to a smoothly performing phone system wasn't a straightforward one. It began with a rocky start at one provider and a detour through a second one before reaching its destination with Aircall.
Hartnell said latency issues were common with the first provider. "There was a 1.5- to 2 second delay on every outbound call," he said. They then transitioned to a cheaper solution but, according to Hartnell, "You get what you pay for. It just wasn't very feature-rich, and it wasn't solving our issues."
Hartnell wanted a robust voice over internet protocol [VoIP] solution, but it needed to be easy to use, maintain and scale—without breaking the budget. He had considered other providers besides Aircall but found they didn't offer the right value for the money. As he put it, "The juice wasn't worth the squeeze—they were probably double the cost, and we'd be paying for features we were never going to use."
This decision was made easier by Kelsey McDonald, RateMyAgent's Customer Experience Manager, who had already used—and loved—Aircall at a previous company. "I really liked the UI [user interface]," she explained. "The dashboard, and configuring all the phone numbers we needed, was so much easier on Aircall. It was easier to onboard new people, and Aircall consistently releases new features and functionality."
Hartnell knew user experience was especially important for salespeople. If the phone system was too complicated, they would work around it and do things their own way. However, thanks to Aircall's intuitive interface and dashboard, and effortless user and number creation, the sales team has found it easy—and beneficial—to use.
"The work involved in setting up an IVR [interactive voice response] and arranging your call flow—you can get it done in minutes," Hartnell said.
Flexibility Through Integrations
Between calls, real estate agents are running all over town showing properties, meeting homeowners, filling and filing paperwork. They're busy, and they need flexible means of communications. Both sales and support need to be able to move easily from live chat to phone or SMS, depending on the customer's needs.
Aircall's SMS capabilities make this easy—something RateMyAgent's salespeople are "really enjoying." When an agent is unavailable to take a call because they're on the road or with a client, they don't need to step into another room to listen to a voicemail. They can simply read a text. RateMyAgent also leverages integrations to deliver a flexible, omnichannel experience for customers. For example, their Intercom integration (one of Aircall's 100+ integration partners) makes it easy for customers to reach out on their preferred channels.
"Intercom sits on most of our website pages, so if someone gets stuck, they can interact with us through the chat box. And when our team members identify certain conversations that would be easier over the phone, we can easily move those conversations over from chat."
RateMyAgent also previously used Salesforce. With Aircall’s Salesforce integration, all calls were automatically logged in Salesforce, and calls could be made from within the interface. However, RateMyAgent recently built its own custom customer relationship management software and wants the same functionality, so it plans to integrate it with Aircall soon. Aircall's Public API makes this easy, enabling users to integrate Aircall with almost any web-based platform.
Grow With the Flow
Hartnell sees Aircall as being particularly integral to RateMyAgent's increasingly globalised workforce and customer base. "I love the fact that if I want to speak to a U.S. customer, I can open up my Aircall app, switch to a U.S. number and make the call. We found that quite a powerful feature before we officially had a team in the U.S. and we had our Australian team calling U.S. customers. It made that process quite simple."
McDonald said Aircall also makes it easier to onboard new hires as the team grows. She uses Aircall's call coaching features to train new starters, allowing them to listen to other team members before making calls themselves. This gets them up and running even faster. Plus, getting new starters to use Aircall is easy.
"We simply add a new team member and set up the number," she said. "If you know how to use a phone, you know how to use Aircall." Explore more ways Aircall is helping companies put their customers first.
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