With the latest technology at our fingertips, we’re now programmed to expect instant answers. Anyone with a smartphone, tablet, laptop or any other neat technical gadget that has internet access can ask Google a question any time - day or night - and get an immediate response.
But how is the abundance of instant information impacting our communication with others? At the very least, it’s decreasing our collective patience with wait times. At most, it’s completely changing how entire industries operate – particularly those that have historically relied on client relationships. Either way, the real estate industry is by no means immune to this phenomenon.
Response Expectations: How Fast is Fast Enough?
Online lead generation has brought with it a new set of communication expectations for real estate agents. In particular, buyer leads researching homes and neighborhoods don’t have time to sit around and wait for a callback. Need proof?
Consider the following from the 2013 Home Buyer Survey by the California Association of Realtors:
42% of buyers expect an INSTANT response from their agent:Instant – meaning ‘immediate, drop everything and respond to me right now or I’m on to the next agent’. I think you’d agree that immediate replies are certainly challenging for busy agents to accommodate.
54% of buyers say that their agents need to respond faster:Over half of the home buyers surveyed are unhappy with the speed of agents’ replies. If over half of your leads are dissatisfied, how do you think that will impact your conversion rates? (Hint, it won’t be positive.)
82% of buyers say the biggest reason they are dissatisfied with their agent is slow response:82% is a huge number! Expectations for responsiveness don’t change once you’ve been chosen to represent your client. Unresponsiveness can make your clients uncomfortable or, worse, cause them to leave the transaction feeling like you’ve dropped the ball. Obviously, these repercussions wouldn’t be good for your referral business.
How are buyer expectations impacting your real estate business?
Response time expectations have steadily increased over the past 5 years – and they’re likely to continue to increase as we incorporate more and more technology into our daily lives. Unless you’re super-human, it’s all but impossible to meet these expectations on your own.
The bottom line is - if you don’t have an intelligent solution in place to provide immediate, personalized, and relevant follow-up responses to leads, there’s a good chance they’ll go elsewhere.
Make it your New Year’s Resolution to have better, faster responses to buyer leads in 2015!