Effective call management is a key factor in achieving success as an Estate Agent. If potential sellers and buyers get a prompt answer to their call, and are greeted in an efficient and professional way, they are more likely to reward you with their business.
Whether you have dozens of branches or just one, there are applications that can help you manage inbound calls to help you increase productive time and save costs. Let’s take a look at the features of some cloud-based call handling applications, and how they can help agents of every size.
With a manual system, the first person to answer an incoming call has to unravel what the call is about and who is the right person to take it. Multiply this by all the calls in a day, and the productivity loss is significant.
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is the technical name for presenting callers with a menu of options. After they make a couple of selections – for example press 1 for sales and 2 for lettings – the call is routed on its way to the correct destination.
If you have several agents in the office, the system can either be set up to phone all their lines at once, or to call them sequentially. The sequence can be based on a factor such as the number of leads the agent is currently handling.
Most applications will provide you with statistics to tell you how many calls each department and agent receives and how long calls take on average.
At busy times of the year, the flow of calls can become a torrent that is hard to keep up with. Potential clients hear an engaged tone, and probably try another agent. A cloud-based call queuing system means that your customers won’t hear the engaged signal. They will be asked to hold the line and wait for an agent to become available, or to make a call-back request so that you can return their call at a less busy time.
The call menu gives you the option to manage calls differently depending on where they are going. For example, it may be that most of the agents are out on viewings, but the lettings team is not overstretched. When people select the agency option, you can queue their calls until the agents who are in the office have a chance to answer them, but if people have chosen the lettings option, those calls can go straight through.
The flexibility of these applications mean that they can be customised to match the requirements of agencies of different sizes.
Whether you couldn’t get all the details down, or need to clarify what the client actually said, a record of a phone conversation is always useful. If all your inbound calls are recorded, it gives you a record of both landline and mobile calls. The recorded calls are a great resource for monitoring and improving handling quality and for providing training.
Transferring to mobiles and other branches
It’s important to be able to integrate your business mobiles with your office landlines. Using a call management application, you can transfer a call anywhere – including to a mobile. You can seamlessly transfer a call to another branch, even if it has a totally different telephony system. If your agent is using a personal mobile, the transferred call doesn’t reveal that number to the caller, so there are no data protection issues.
Email from voicemail
You can turn voicemails into emails that enable you to pass messages to a whole team, or to an individual. When a call isn’t answered, the caller is requested to leave a message, in the normal way. Once they have done so, the message is forwarded by email to up to three different people, or even more if you have a group inbox set up.
This means that you don’t have to wait for one person to come back and unlock their messages, providing business resilience and allowing you to cut the time it takes for you to get back to your client.
You’ll be able to track call traffic into your office and see when your peak call periods are. You can look at how many calls were missed, how long employees took to answer, how long their calls lasted and much more.
If you use different phone numbers for different advertising campaigns, you can also track the results from each campaign very accurately, by counting calls to the different numbers. This is a much easier way to see if you are getting value for money from your advertising!