By Robert Reffkin
Robert is the Founder and CEO of Compass, a technology-driven real estate company.
The real estate industry is not well-known for technology adoption. For too many years, the 2 million real estate agents in the U.S. have relied on a disparate set of more than 250 third-party technology tools — none of which are integrated, creating more work, not less.
Beyond the fact that thoughtful, well-designed, agent-focused tools have not existed until recently, there’s another reason behavior in this space has remained somewhat status quo: change is hard. In order to build tools that agents will actually use, it’s essential to recognize how difficult it is to alter behavior.
Agent-focused technology, however, shouldn’t be built around deals and dollars. For technology to truly transform this industry, it has to make agents’ lives better. Having access to great technology isn’t enough. Agents have to understand why we’re building the tools we’re building, feel empowered to use them and be confident that they will make their jobs, and lives, easier and more enjoyable.
Ask agents what they want, making them part of the technology adoption process.
We try to make the customer — in our case, the agents — the focus of our platform. They sit in the same office as our technology team, which makes our product development process extremely collaborative. It’s a priority that we ask agents what they want. We don’t rely solely on surveys or focus groups to find out where our customers’ lives can be improved. Instead, agents often provide us with feedback in person or invite us along to meetings with their clients.
Simply put, treat your customers like partners, ask them questions and take their feedback seriously.