Privacy is Paramount.

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  It starts with removing impersonal, outdated contact forms from websites thereby asking brokerages and agents to stop being reliant on tech to do what should be the most human component of their job –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.

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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.

How to integrate SYNCRO :: A Walk in the Park :: Pt. 2

Part 2 in our integration point series.

How to integrate SYNCRO into a brokerage or corporate level website.

We have the capability of integrating SYNCRO three ways for brokerages and corporate clients and that’s not counting our Powerlinks strategy, which we will dive into during the last part of this website chat integration series. Brokerages and corporate accounts are afforded deep discounts off of our posted monthly unlimited usage rate when a commitment to use SYNCRO for all agents is agreed upon.  You can choose to use one integration method or go with all three for ultimate efficiency.

Take a look at the unique way SYNCRO website chat to text message can work within your brokerage or banner website:

Agent on Duty:

male-2-elegant-agent-on duty-large-photoThe rotating agent on duty gets an upgrade with SYNCRO live website chat to text. We can embed live chat into your existing agent on duty widget following the design and branding of your website or we can custom design a chat now widget for you to use. Every time your website is refreshed and a page reloads, the user will be presented with a new agent from your roster who they can interact with in real time for quick help.

This randomization mechanism makes it fair for all agent within the brokerage as they will all have their shot at being discovered front and centered. We also offer standard PC to PC chat for agents and brokers who prefer to have an administrator handle the chats, but this would be better handled using our single site integration method. 

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Agent Roster:

Every brokerage has a list of agents within their brokerage website, but SYNCRO will up the ante on real time engagement and give your agent roster some tangible action. By embedding SYNCRO into your agent roster, customers can instantly connect with the agent of their choice to ask real time questions, which will be sent directly to the agent’s mobile phone via text message. This cuts down on the need for your admin to be flagging leads all day and trying to decide who they need to send them out to.

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IDX/MLS Data Integration:

new-buttonThe third and most powerful way we can integrate SYNCRO is through the IDX/MLS data feed. We can use the data from your IDX provider to guarantee that the chat bubble is tied directly to the agent/realtor ID. This will ensure that all incoming chat leads from your brokerage website regarding the listing that agent owns will be sent directly, in real time, to the listing agents’ mobile phone number.

As a broker you can save money on admin costs, and stop the insanity of trying to finally determine who is next in line to get the lead from your brokerage website.  This is a simple and effective way to ensure that all leads are dealt with fairly, especially when competition runs high  from the biggest most authentic lead generator your agents have – your brokerage website.

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screenshot-idxUsing SYNCRO makes for a great recruiting tool, because when a potential new hire asks how you deal with brokerage website leads, you can say that’s between the agent who’s representing the listing and SYNCRO.  Our monthly reporting allows you to check in on your agents’ progress and see who is the most responsive, what’s working with customers as far as responses are concerned and leverage all that data to train and coach your agents into better lead closers.

Those are the three most popular ways to integrate SYCNRO into a brokerage website or corporate website to ensure an efficient live chat solution.

Pricing is quoted on a per agent basis and will depend on which integration method you choose to use. For more details on installing SYNCRO in any of the three ways listed above please contact our team directly.

Next up: Part 3 in our integration point series – Powerlinks.

Did you miss Part 1? Check out how to do a basic install here.

New website chat to text feature for IDX/MLS websites.

Personalized photos are now easily created using the IDX/MLS data and SYNCRO.

We’ve just released personalized call to action chat buttons for IDX/MLS enabled websites. Up your chat game and get personal with these dynamic chat buttons. These lovely calls to action are generated on the fly within our software and don’t require any heavy lifting on your part. When we set up your brokerage or banner website with SYNCRO we’ll populate your instance with agents’ photos and mobile numbers and these buttons will appear like magic.

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Standard Website Chat Button

 

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Personalized IDX/MLS Button

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IDX/MLS WEBSITE WITH PERSONALIZED CALL TO ACTION BUTTON IN LOCATION A.

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ENGAGED IDX/MLS WEBSITE WITH PERSONALIZED CALL TO ACTION BUTTON IN LOCATION B

Stay tuned for more engaging innovation next month and as always we love to hear from you.

If you have a suggestion on how to make SYNCRO better for your business please let us know! Our goal is to make SYNCRO the most engaging, easy to use software for real estate and your feedback is invaluable.  Chat with us now, message us on Twitter or leave a comment below.

San Francisco Here We Come!

We are ecstatic and grateful to announce that SYNCRO has been selected among 15 innovative real estate technology companies to pitch at real estate giant Realogy’s FWD Innovation Summit for emerging real estate tech in San Francisco on June 23, 2015.  We can’t wait to demonstrate SYNCRO to a captive audience of real estate professionals at this caliber and receive feedback to make our chat to SMS technology even better for agents, brokers and banners.

The full press release, written by Paul Hagey, can be read over at Inman News http://www.inman.com/2015/05/20/realogy-picks-15-real-estate-startups-for-pitch-competition/

We’re looking forward to meeting our colleagues and fellow innovators in San Francisco and seeing what’s new in REtech.  See you very soon San Francisco!

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Intelligent Contact Forms Have Arrived

When’s the last time you updated your contact form? Have you ever really looked all that closely at it since it was casually slipped into your website?  Chances are pretty high that answer will be a resounding, yet sheepish, “No.”

It’s funny how the most important part of a website, how one contacts you to do business, is often the most overlooked.  For good reason. We fret over custom graphics and branded colors and compelling verbiage and we push the limits on design, yet forms get lost in the mix. They’re kind of like a protected habitat that as customers we don’t feel we have the right to challenge developers on.  After all, everyone’s forms look pretty much the same, so why should yours be any different?

Website contact forms are a standardized part of how we do business online, and like all things traditional you generally don’t fix them if they aren’t broke.  But, this is where the problem lies.  Contact forms are broken. Not only are customers increasingly leery of filling out masses of information, but forms themselves have been so neglected and void of innovation that they are simply in existence on almost all websites as a filler.

Let’s look at why a standard contact form processed using email might not be the best way to convert leads on your website:

Toooooo Many!  Forms are typically abandoned due to the sheer volume of fields. Have you ever wanted to ask a simple question and scratched your head because someone is asking you for way too much personal information?  When did it become necessary to know, budget, income and marital status to ask if a home is near accessible public transportation?  Forms that have required fields other than first name and phone OR email are simply too long.

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas  But what happens when you fill out a contact form could affect your Inbox and SPAM folder forever!  Had a better job been done to protect consumers from SPAM we might be in a different place with forms, but unfortunately too many didn’t protect their data and even more found it lucrative to sell it.  This has left a number of customers reluctant to hand over every piece of personal information before they even have a chance to speak with you face to face and develop a small amount of confidence that they are dealing with a reputable professional on the other end.

No contact  Have you ever filled out a form and then waited. Days. Weeks?  Did you know that after years of working with web developers and really reputable website companies that sometimes, (lots of times too many to count) we would find out that the website contact form on some sites was never tested?  Yep. That means that some clients would go days, weeks and even over a year and would wonder why they weren’t getting leads. Only to find out that no one ever tested where their form was going after the website went live. Humans. They make mistakes. Mistakes that could cost you tens of thousands in commissionable sales! We’ve seen it all from, forms not working in different browsers, forms sending to the wrong email account, broken forms, changed email addresses, you name it – we’ve seen it happen and it hurts your business.

Tooo many! Forms are dead.

Tooo many! Forms are dead.

So what can you do to make sure that you aren’t losing business?  Here are a few ideas:

Website Chat  Having website chat is huge for your business and conversions. Whether you choose something as innovative as SYCNRO website chat to SMS or you go with a standard PC to PC chat you need to have it.  Chat solves the issues that brands are plagued with on how to do business more effectively and efficiently. Chat increases sales, boosts consumer confidence and decreases your closing time majorly.  If you don’t have chat, you need to have it.

Kill the Snails. Make your contact form intelligent.  Nothing against snails, but they’re not good for business that needs to happen fast.  SYNCRO can change the way that your contact form is being processed. We can make it so that rather than your form getting sent by slow over negotiated email, the data is sent to you via text message.  This will give you the option of engaging with your customer on the spot, or at the least, letting your auto responder send them a quick personalized message back to your website, so that they know you will be reaching out to them as soon as possible.  How’s that for a new twist on an old form?

Testing 1-2-3.  Check your website out at least once a month.  Play with your links and test your forms. It costs you nothing and you never know if and when something can break. So pretend you are a customer and try to contact yourself. Browsers change, hardware changes all of this can have an effect on your website. It’s technology. It’s never going to be perfect!  Take some responsibility for it and subject it to regular testing.

Update your information  Do you have multiple email accounts?  You might want to do an audit and clean those up.  Maybe you have one for your website and one for your data provider, one for social media and one for an ad portal. You shouldn’t.  Get those cleaned up. And make sure you visit your affiliate sites and double check those too. How many of you have a corporate email address listed on your broker’s portal that you have no idea how to check?  Not good. Clean it up and keep it consistent and regularly audit the data you have out there!  People are getting frustrated and giving you a bad name when they can’t reach you through one of the 5 email accounts you have out there.  The same goes for old phone numbers and mobile numbers.

If you’ve read this article and are thinking you need to do some testing and contact form soul searching then we’ve done our job.  You do. If you’re interested in finding out more about forms of the future then by all means, chat with us now. You’ll notice there aren’t too many contact forms on our website 😉