The Future of Work...And How This Will Change the Real Estate Industry! *(Part 2)

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate


 arguing on the phone

The nature of Customer service within the United States has changed.  How often do you interact with a machine prior or instead of talking with a human being?   

We are being trained to bypass "humans" unless absolutely necessary.  And, for many of us,  the necessity of human interaction for many tasks is diminishing. Even a trip to the grocery store has us checking ourselves out and bagging our own groceries.

This trend towards automation has serious implications for any business that relies on interpersonal communication.  On one hand, we all need and desire human interaction.  But, the trade-off is that human interaction is highly unpredictable and machines are while non-personal are fairly dependable...until they break down.

Furthermore, many jobs that do require human interaction can often be outsourced to other countries for much less than the average American worker expects to be paid.  Did you know that many banks are now outsourcing their customer service inquiries to overseas call centers to handle the deluge of the foreclosure crisis.  While Americans are loosing their homes... Customer Service agents from Asia may be your first human contact about basic inquires which may be required when negotiating a short sale. This, of course is only after you've interacted with the machine!

Real Estate Professionals need to gain a clear understanding of the elements which make their jobs unique.  Providing Homeowners with a Value for their property is no longer unique!  Creating and Perfecting a Pricing Strategy which interprets and responds to the changing dynamics of a volatile real estate market is!

There are many companies seeking to bridge the gap of professional expertise regarding property values.  This should serve as a challenge to re-define our role and value to the consumer.  Zillow and Redfin and other on-line service providers are renegotiating the contract the consumer has with the source of their information.  This process will accelerate in the future.  Do NOT expect it to go away!

Real Estate professionals have the most hands-on real life experience of local real estate markets. However if consumers are not convinced about the superior value we can provide, they will understandably feel it prudent to pay much less, if at all, for services they can find elsewhere at a better value. So while a computer or individual overseas cannot provide local expertise it really doesn't matter if consumers don't BELIEVEthat you can. If you have succumbed to the tendency to define your real estate career by your proficiency in are in the process of becoming irrelevant.

Many industry's have faced this challenge in the past are successfully re-inventing themselves.  I can remember the days in which secretaries typed, took notes and answered phones.  Today, I can hire a service to do that for much less than the wages I would pay to a secretary.  However Administrative Assistants now operate in a fashion far more sophisticated than early practitioners of the craft.  Today, an Administrative Assistant  may be involved in book keeping, scheduling and coordinating meetings and researching...a far cry from the routine involved in answering phones all day. 

We need to wake up to the fact that real estate practitioners who are NOT re-defining their roles will be DEFINED by the narrow constraints of the market.  This instinct, like a herd mentality will drive hard towards the lowest common denominator, until and unless, it is convinced that to do so is not in it's best interest.  This question must be addressed if we expect to have a Future for Work as Real Estate Professional.

Copyright 2007 Audu Real Estate  All Rights Reserved

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Bryant Tutas
Bryant Tutas-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc - Poinciana, FL
Broker/REALTOR, Tutas Towne Realty, Inc
Right on Lola!!! If REALTORS(R) are not upping their game and increasing their value they will be replaced. There will always be a place for Realtors who put the consumer first and realize that we do not sell houses. Our job is to build lasting relationships and help folks through the stressful time of buying and selling RE. If we can provide them with comfort and assurances in their decisions we will succeed. Those are thing they cannot get over the Internet. It's all about the human connection.
Aug 25, 2007 03:35 PM #1
Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!

Hi Bryant, Thanks for stopping by.  Understanding how to provide comfort and assurance is not easy...particularly when each individual is so different.  I think that's why retreating to the comfort zone of filling out routine forms is so attractive to many real estate agents.  But you're right...people won't pay high fees to an order taker. 

Aug 25, 2007 06:49 PM #2
Marchel Peterson
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro
Lola - GREAT POST!!    I so agree with Bryant it is about the human connection.  There are so MANY things that can and do go wrong in a transaction; that is where we step in and move the transaction along doing whatever needs to be done to get the transaction finished for our client.  Ever once in a while I have a transaction that happens with no hiccups but to be quite honest those are in the minority; there is almost always something that has to be resolved.
Aug 25, 2007 07:08 PM #3
Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!

Hi Marchel, Thanks for your comment.  I am struck by how much information customers can get about a transaction that was previously ONLY available by talking to a real estate agent.  Blogging has actually accelerated that process. 

Consumers who read a good real estate blog and combine this with some additional research will be able to forgo talking to an agent for quite some time. We have to start thinking about WHAT that kind of consumer will expect or need. This is another reason that anticipating their concerns and addressing them through on-line communication will be critical...or else there may NOT be an opportunity to build the human relationships which are so vital to the success of the transaction.

Aug 25, 2007 07:20 PM #4
Carol Smith
Casmi Photography - Mebane, NC

Lola - in his profession (as is with most professions) if you don't stay ahead of the curve with all the new laws, ideas, technology and promotion, then you will most likely find this to be a very frustrating way to make a living.  It's all about having value, conveying value and then, most importantly, being valuable.

The one thing we all must be mindful of is to not be condescending to clients that may not be as 'advanced' in the technologies we use.  This can be hurtful, insulting and unforgiven.

Thanks for another wonderful post. 

Aug 25, 2007 09:48 PM #5
Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!

Hi Carol, Thanks for your comment.  Your statement "It's all about having value, conveying value and the, most importantly, being valuable"is TOTALLY on target.  Being valuable will mean different things to different clients.  The ability to understand, anticipate and serve this need is critical to for success in the real estate transaction. 

Technology should ideally support the process and you are right in pointing out that it must never be allowed to hinder the most important aspect of real estate...serving human beings!  The challenge to real estate agents will be figuring out how to balance the tension of the efficiency and cost savings of "the machine" vs. the real life nitty gritty of simply being there to serve and help people even when this is not easy.

Aug 25, 2007 10:46 PM #6
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert,Lecturer,Author,Artist
Lola, as a consumer I would like to deal with people who are knowledable and who care.  Not someone half way across the globe that really doesn't have a clue what I'm talking about.  So many companies and corporations have forgotten about what simple, old fashioned "customer service" is.  Thank you for an excellent post.
Aug 26, 2007 09:26 AM #7
Andrew Trevino
ADT Real Estate - Wilkes Barre, PA
Wilkes-Barre Homes For Sale
Lola, You're right on with this post. It's a real shame that consumers don't demand a higher level of service. It always comes down to the almighty dollar. Thanks for the post.
Aug 26, 2007 12:16 PM #8
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Lola Audu

Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!

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