Privacy might be the answer to bringing buyers, sellers, agents and brokers back together again.
We recently pitched as one of the 15 finalists at the RealogyFWD innovation event in San Francisco and it was very apparent that both judges and attendees had data and privacy on the mind. A common theme in questioning of each selected finalist centered on how companies were protecting customers from issues related to SPAM, data collection and specifically what measures each company was undertaking to ensure that personal data remained safe. It’s with good reason that the judges had this commonality in their lines of questioning each company. There has been a shift in recent years towards consumers being more cautious and protective over where the information they’ve submitted online is ending up. We aren’t just talking sensitive data like social security numbers and credit card data either. We’re referring to the more simple readily accessible data such as email addresses and phone numbers. Once upon a time, customers would hand over their email address and mobile number without so much as the bat of an eyelash, and now we’ve seemingly flipped to a once digitally spammed twice shy kind of crowd.
SYCNRO was created much in part to help alleviate the online pressure tactic of you give me all your data and only then I’ll show you what I’ve got mentality. We increasingly see contact forms abandoned and surreptitiously viewed only to be closed out with an exodus from the website entirely. We know that this sudden aversion to contact forms has everything to do with empty promises, misappropriation of confidential information and you could even throw in a hint of desensitization for good measure. For so long we were accustomed to filling out contact forms that requested more than too much in the way of personal details like: what our price range was, if we had been pre-qualified etc. and we kindly obliged until some started saying no and even more started questioning why?
So how is SYNCRO helping to fight the good fight on privacy and more importantly how are we bringing buyers, sellers, agents and brokers back together again? It starts with removing impersonal, outdated contact forms from websites thereby asking brokerages and agents to stop being reliant on tech to do what should be the most human component of their job – prequalifying the lead. We’re calling for brokers and agents to stop being dismissive about their online leads and to start genuinely engaging with them in the most honest way possible – by taking the time to get to know the human on the other side. It’s a tall order and in order to build this level of trust with your online leads you need some serious data safeguarding in place. Take a look at how SYNCRO is helping to protect agents, brokers and customers through privacy and SPAM controls.
THREE IS MAGIC. When you’re trying to establish trust online less is more. Which is why we only require three very basic pieces of information from a customer in order for them to be able to engage with a listing owner. Name, email and what their question is. We aren’t digging into the nitty-gritty of when they want to buy, how many bedrooms they need and what they paid in taxes last year. This less is more in the required data field approach makes engaging more accessible and less scary for customers. Think of it as an icebreaker. You wouldn’t walk up to someone you didn’t know at a party and ask them how much they made last year. The same goes for online leads, you need to start small, build a connection and then start negotiating the tougher questions.
ROBOT SPAM BE GONE. By default our live chat to text solution is SPAM proof because a human has to physically click to call the chat dialogue box up into action, fill in three required pieces of information and click again in order to initiate the chat. Robots don’t have that kind of time. This protects agents and brokers from wasting time on bogus leads.
HUMAN SPAM. WE’RE WATCHING YOU TOO. We’ve taken it the extra mile and built in further SPAM reduction mechanisms that prevent malicious humans from typing in nonsensical words like lkhhh, swear words (which admittedly was a fun exercise) and there is also a character limit in the question field to eliminate the possibility of people sending you long drawn out propositions meant for your email’s SPAM folder.
PRIVACY IS IN. One of the most unique features about SYNCRO website chat to text is the anonymity features. As an agent you don’t have to broadcast your mobile phone number if you yourself have privacy concerns, because as far as we’re concerned privacy is a two way street these days. For every SPAM happy sales agent there are an equal number of quirky buyers that would love to have your personal cell number on speed dial. SYNCRO allows you to enter in a phone number which can be used for the click to call button (see screen cap below) but we don’t make it mandatory for that number to match the mobile number you are using to text back to the software. We have many agents who prefer to use the brokerages landline as a click to call action for added personal security. At no point during a SYNCRO chat is your mobile number ever exposed to the person you are chatting with on the other end. Unless of course you volunteer it at some point during your correspondence.
YOU GOTTA WORK FOR THAT NUMBER. All incoming website chats are sent directly over to your mobile phone first and foremost, but all you will see is the information that the customer has volunteered, which again, is the data entered in the Name, Email Address and Question fields. All of this information, along with the website URL of the page they initiated the chat from, the MLS# and property address (if using the IDX version) will come instantly to your mobile in the form of a text message from the internal SYNCRO phone number. This phone number is in no way associated with the customer on the other end. The only way you can get the customers phone number is if you ask for it and they voluntarily oblige.
NO BULLIES ALLOWED. In the unfortunate event you receive a chat that turns hateful or harassing you can simply ignore the text message without fear that person has any additional contact details from you. We can also block users from ever contacting you through SYNCRO again if a pattern of abuse arises. As for the consumer, if they aren’t impressed with your responses for whatever reason, they can simply close the window on the chat and rest easy knowing that no personal contact details have been disclosed outside of the required three fields. Our only pay for real leads mantra guarantees that you won’t be charged for bullies.
At the end of the day we have launched a lead conversion mechanism that is allowing for a more organic and personal sales approach. We’re taking the core ingredients of Internet privacy and anonymity, combining it with this new social phenomenon of instant gratification, but we’re throwing the whole thing back to the days when a sales agent had to work a little harder to build trust, rapport and goodwill with their customers before earning their business and possibly even more precious… their coveted phone number.