Sometimes, it feels to me like the real estate industry is stuck in 1999.
It was a big year for Interactive TV. AOL and Microsoft were battling it out. Yahoo! was dominating a relatively young and burgeoning internet. Google was in Beta.
About 150 million users at the start of that year used the internet. Today, the Internet is accessed by more than 4.3 billion people, or 56% of the global population.
Two decades ago, we marveled at the introduction of the Blackberry – a two-way pager. Today, we use smartphones more powerful than the mainframe computer NASA used to put astronauts on the moon.
To paraphrase this television ad slogan from about five decades ago: Technology has come a long way, baby. Or has it.
Still behind the times
Here’s a sign that we are still stuck in the past when so much has changed.
The Florida Realtors have created and built the No. 1 tech support service for real estate pros in North America. It’s been an incredible growth story, with 600,000 agents and brokers in the U.S. and Canada able to access top-tier tech support that doesn’t cost them a dime.
Tech Helpline is offered as a member benefit, meaning it is included in an agent’s subscription to the MLS or membership dues to their Association. For others, their Brokerage provides the service. That means these agents and brokers get unlimited tech support that’s covered.
Best of all, Tech Helpline lives up to its reputation as being the “Genius Bar for real estate.” Its approach to providing friendly tech support is why many MLSs will tell you that it is one of the most “loved” (their word, not mine) member benefits they offer.
However, a little more than 50% of Realtors don’t have access to Tech Helpline today.
The other day, leading Real Estate Coach and veteran real estate writer and author Bernice Ross posed a question to me that stopped me in my tracks. Essentially, she asked “What about all of the agents that don’t have access to Tech Helpline?”
To my friends at the National Association of Realtors: are you listening?
Day in the Life of a Real Estate Agent
Today, real estate agents and brokers rely on technology to do their jobs. A tech failure – or a power failure – can be the difference between a closed deal and a livid client.
Everything that an agent does today in some way typically involves technology. Even the human touch side of our business – the vital in-person, face-to-face communications agents have with their clients – involves technology.
From how the original client relationship started (90% of consumers start their home search on the Internet) to the communication used by the agent to set that first meeting appointment involved using a smartphone to either call, email or text.
When it comes to marketing, transaction management, CRMs, back-office support – you name it – every major Realtor task involves technology.
Yet NAR does not offer tech support as a basic member benefit!
Are we nuts? A printer goes on the fritz, a computer or smartphone crashes, the purchase of a new phone or laptop requires the transfer of everything – so why don’t we have tech support for all? What is an agent or broker supposed to do? Call the Geek Squad? Are you kidding me?
No offense, but I’ll venture to guess that the Geek Squad doesn’t know squat about the needs of real estate agents and brokers. Tech Helpline was created to help agents and brokers. That’s what they do every day. With 300+ years of combined tech support service among their analysts, Tech Helpline “gets” what an agent does.
NAR can provide a transaction management solution as a member benefit before they even offer tech support?
Call me stupid but I just don’t get it.
Message to NAR: It’s past time to provide tech support to every Realtor. It would be one of the best member benefits NAR could offer. Just read Tech Helpline testimonials and you’ll “get” it.
Tech Helpline continues to expand
The “not every agent has tech support” issue has been bugging me ever since I started working with the Florida Realtors several years ago. Last week, Tech Helpline announced expansion of its top-ranked tech service offering, now available to real estate tech firms and startups.
Most of us probably have tried to call a company to get tech support only to find there is no phone number to call. For every company that doesn’t provide phone-based tech support as an option, please reconsider your tech help model.
Below the news release that announces Tech Helpline’s expansion. If you are interested in learning more, Tech Helpline will be at the NAR Expo in San Francisco. They have one of the easiest to remember 4-digit booth numbers I can think of: Booth 1234.
Florida Realtors® Tech Helpline Now Available to Support Tech Firms
Real Estate’s No. 1 Tech Support Service Announces Expansion
Orlando, FL – October 30, 2019 – “How is your tech support?” is one of the most challenging questions nearly every tech startup must address successfully to land new clients. Now technology firms have the opportunity to answer the question with confidence by engaging real estate’s number one technology support service, Tech Helpline, to provide customer support.
Tech Helpline, dubbed “the Genius Bar” for real estate, today offers tech support by phone, chat or email to nearly half of the REALTORS® in the U.S. and Canada. More than 600,000 real estate professionals have access to Tech Helpline, a service created and owned by Florida Realtors.
With a U.S.-based staff of tech analysts that have some 300 years of combined IT experience, Tech Helpline offers technical support services in both English and Spanish. Agents and brokers receive a wide range of expert technical assistance, covering both software and hardware issues, including smartphones, laptops, tablets, desktops, printers, computer and smartphone crashes, email setup problems, virus infections, recovery of lost files, wireless connections issues and more.
“Tech Helpline has long proven to be one of the most popular member benefits for associations and MLSs,” says Margy Grant, Florida Realtors CEO. “Now we’re offering the talents of our incredibly skilled team to technology startups and established tech firms. Tech Helpline can give a tech firm the ability to offer exceptional and personalized tech support services to retain clients and keep them happy.”
According to dozens of surveys that the firm has conducted for more than a decade, Tech Helpline is often the highest-rated member benefit offered by Realtor Associations, Multiple Listing Services (MLSs), and real estate brokerage firms.
“There’s an extra benefit for real estate technology firms,” Grant added. “Because Tech Helpline analysts work with Realtors every day, they uniquely understand what an agent does. This allows them to provide a higher level of customer service support that is often frictionless. Most importantly, Tech Helpline analysts are known as the friendliest tech support group around. As a result, agents and brokers aren’t afraid to call and ask any tech question.”
Tech Helpline’s successful track record for software support began with providing tech help for the Florida Realtors’ Form Simplicity transaction management software. Tech Helpline services have grown from a single state, supporting Florida Realtors members, the industry’s second-largest state association to coverage nationwide and throughout Canada. Tech Helpline continues to be the exclusive technical support service for Form Simplicity.
“We want to leverage the proven success of Tech Helpline by offering it to other tech firms. We believe there is an enormous void in the marketplace for high quality, personalized, and friendly tech support. Our Orlando tech experts are ready to fill that gap,” Grant added.
Tech Helpline from the Florida Realtors will be at Booth 1234 during the 2018 REALTOR® Conference and Expo in San Francisco, as part of its Expo set for November 8-10.
More information about Tech Helpline also is available online at www.techhelpline.com.
About Tech Helpline
Tech Helpline began nearly 20 years ago as a service for members of Florida Realtors. Known for its no-nonsense technical advice and warm, friendly customer service, Tech Helpline rapidly grew by offering its service to other REALTOR® Associations, Multiple Listing Services (MLSs), and real estate brokerage firms. Tech Helpline is the real estate industry’s No. 1 tech support service, available to nearly half the Realtors in North America – more than 600,000 in the U.S. and Canada. Tech Helpline’s office and staff of professional tech analysts, with almost 300 years of combined IT experience, are located in Orlando, Florida, and are available to provide technical support by phone, chat or email. More information is available online at www.techhelpline.com.
Florida Realtors serves as the voice for real estate in Florida. The state’s largest professional trade association, providing programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to some 187,000 members in 52 local and regional Realtor associations or boards in Florida.
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Note: The term REALTOR® is a federally registered collective membership mark, which identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.
Tech Support is a bigger issue than listing data syndication, I think. We all need equipment, and also apps that work when our clients ( and their agents) need them. Too many are subject to having a good Wi-Fi connection and this limits their use in some areas. For me, “User Error” is common, but juggling many different apps is not easy. Kudos to Florida Realtors for showing the rest of the nation how a large membership organization should stay in touch with it’s members needs