The benefits of automation are three-fold and apply equally to the customer, the real estate broker and the business itself, according to An Beenders, CEO of Limburg-based real estate group IMMO Beenders.
“Our job is very intensive, there are many different processes that have to be repeated time and time again, so we have been working to automate many of them in order to increase productivity, improve customer experience and grow sales,” Beenders says.
In the short-term, the agency is aiming to automate 90% of its business processes, but has started with many of the most practical ones. “One of the most important processes we have recently automated is when an agent is in the field and he visits a new prospective listing with a vendor,” she says. “As soon as the listing is entered in SweepBright’s app, folders and documents based on predetermined templates are automatically generated on our Google Drive, staff is alerted on our internal communication channel for which we use Slack and checklists are generated in Trello for our back-office staff.
“All that happens before anyone from our team has even spoken to the agent,” Beenders says. “Before we automated these processes, it took at least 50% more time to get the same amount of work done. “Now that we can do this a lot faster, we can focus on selling properties faster and more smoothly, which benefits both us and our clients.” Making use of simple applications such as Trello, Google Drive and Slack was the key to effective automation.
But it’s the SweepBright app that enables to tie all those things together as a sort of Digital Backbone. “Not only does it improve our customer experience for buyers and sellers, but our whole office is able to operate more productively and efficiently, which also means we’ve got a more highly motivated team,” “It’s much easier to help our agents to generate seller leads and sell listings, than to teach them the hundreds of tasks they have to do when a new listing is signed,” When it comes to vendors, in the past, Beenders says the agency manually compiled and sent a report once a month on the activities around their listing, but now each contact or inquiry is automatically shared with each vendor as it occurs.
Beenders says another opportunity is the fact that many vendors don’t understand millennials as well as IMMO Beenders does. “That makes us a perfect link between them,” she says. “An increasing number of buyers today are millennials. They prefer to chat online as opposed to using the phone. So through SweepBright we have automated that they can chat with us, and that interaction is also automatically logged” Progress has also been made in the agency’s rental business, where automations have saved the agency time and made it more responsive.
We can now invest more time into prospecting for more business, so that we grow and become a bigger, more profitable agency.” An Beenders CEO, IMMO Beenders. For example, when someone inquires about a certain property they are asked to fill out an online application form. An automated message then informs them that their form has been submitted and they’ll be contacted soon “Before we automated this, we would sometimes receive two or three phone calls from applicants about a particular property. “The focus now and over the past months has been for us first to automate all these processes to be able to grow in the near future,” Beenders says. “I think we are a future-proof agency. There is only one way for us, and that is up.”