2014 Mar 3rd

The Problem with Real Estate Call Centers

There is a new trend in Hoboken real estate offices. Appointments to show Hoboken properties are now being made by having the agent call an appointment call centers. This has the benefit of freeing up the receptionists time so they don’t spend all day on the phone calling owners and tenants and requesting showings. It also has the extremely unfortunate side effect of forcing me to speak with someone in Oklahoma or some such place who knows absolutely nothing about the property or Hoboken.  You’ve all dealt with call centers and know just how frustrating they can be.call center

Why does it matter if it’s just an appointment? For one thing, it now takes me, a busy and productive agent, at least twice as long to make appointments. When I called the local office, after 10 years of calling them, the receptionists knew me. Now I have to spell my name, often multiple times before they get it right, tell them what agency I work for, repeat the address several times since they are not familiar with Hoboken streets, and listen while they read me their canned speech about “can I help you with anything else today and I hope I have provided you with excellent service”.

More importantly, I can’t ask a single question of the call center an expect to get any information besides what is on their computer screen. For example, when I would call the local office, they were familiar with the properties.  They could tell me if there was an open house scheduled for the day I’m setting up a showing.  They knew if the property is vacant. They knew if the “floor 3″ is really the 3rd floor of the building or a misrepresentation by the listing agent to trick a buyer into thinking that a 4th floor walk up is on floor 3 because you only walk up 3 flights of stairs.  They would even know if there were offers or if “final and best” was being held.  Call centers know nothing.

Frustrating, time consuming, not helpful. Can someone tell me how this in any way helps the seller?  What should be happening here is that there should be a single site for all buyer’s agents to go on line and enter all showing requests.  It could be password protected just like the MLS site is.  Certain chunks of time the seller knows are no good for showings could be blocked out in advance (nap time).  The seller/listing agent could be notified of the request and the seller can approve, reject, comment, etc. by signing into the same site. The buyer’s agent is sent a text/email/call with the response. No phone calls needed. In this day and age it is absurd that I have to waste my time placing a phone call for every single listing which my buyers want to see. There is a huge business opportunity here for a software developer.  Anyone interested?

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