Calling is integral to the success of any real estate business. But skillfully making calls isn’t the only factor that matters. In fact, your phone skills won’t mean much if you don’t have an efficient way to accept and direct incoming calls.
Thankfully, you don’t have to hire someone to sit by the phone all day, waiting for sellers to call you. Advanced technology has made setting up automated answering machines easy, and you can leverage them in your business to increase efficiency and do more deals than ever before.
What is IVR?
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is an automated answering machine designed to make call routing easier and more automatic. It allows businesses to direct customer calls without hiring a dedicated phone representative.
IVR solutions are most often used by call centers and businesses that receive a high volume of incoming calls. But IVR isn’t limited to medical offices and contact centers. It can be very useful for real estate businesses that are doing high-volume outbound calling.
How does IVR work?
In the past, IVR was used to manage call centers queues. Today’s IVR systems are far more advanced. IVR technology is used to automate simple processes and provide self-service options to callers. They ensure that customers can have their queries and needs resolved quickly without waiting on hold or talking to a live agent.
Setting up IVR technology used to be difficult and required call centers to hire specialized technicians to make everything work together. Fortunately, setting up IVR is much easier now.
Modern solutions provide IVR that is automatically integrated into the call system. The provider handles all of the components required to ensure the IVR technology works; the user just has to turn it on.
So how does modern IVR work in practice?
When a customer calls in, the IVR will answer and give the customer options to help direct them to the desired extension as quickly as possible. In the past, IVR relied on users selecting options with the buttons on their phone, also called touch-tone keypad selection. Now, IVRs have natural language processing that allows callers to vocalize their requests instead of waiting for the automated voice to read a long list of options. A standard IVR usually includes multiple layers of menus and can range in use from a simple directory to a more complicated voice response system.
With these solutions, any company can harness speech recognition and touch-tone keypad selection to direct calls, improve customer experiences, and reduce hold times.
How to use IVR in real estate
IVR is useful to real estate businesses because their calling practices are usually focused on outbound calling. While real estate businesses are looking to connect with people when they call them, many motivated sellers don’t answer their phones when they see an unknown number. But if you leave a voicemail that explains how you can help them, they may call back.
However, many real estate businesses don’t have a dedicated agent to receive incoming calls. As a result, they risk missing out on opportunities.
You can avoid this issue in your business by setting up an IVR. An IVR in a real estate business works much like it does anywhere else. An automated answering machine will greet the caller and will direct the call to the appropriate agent based on the options the caller chooses.
A typical IVR scenario in a real estate business might look like this:
The motivated seller hears your voicemail and is interested in hearing more about your offer to buy their home. They call back and are greeted by an automated voice. The automated voice thanks the motivated seller for their call and then asks if they are interested in selling.
If the motivated seller says yes or presses the appropriate button, the IVR will progress to the next set of questions. These questions might involve asking the seller what offer they are looking for or giving the seller a list of options to learn about the factors motivating them to sell. The IVR can then route the call to the appropriate acquisitions manager or simply log the information to prepare your team for the call.
Handling inbound calls with IVR
Another benefit of having an IVR system in your real estate business is that it helps you comply with business calling regulations. Many spammers have high call volumes from numbers that don’t accept ring backs. If your business does the same, carriers are likely to identify your number as spam or a robocall.
One way to avoid this is to have an agent ready to answer phone calls. But this is probably not the most efficient use of resources for your business. Instead, you can set up an IVR that accepts call backs and directs callers to the appropriate phone rep. This way being busy with other calls doesn’t cost you deals and you maintain compliance with regulations and best practices.
Cold calling is essential to real estate businesses because it lets them work efficiently without hiring call center agents to sit around waiting for inbound calls. While IVR may seem highly technical, setting it up is very easy with the right tools.
Just remember that IVR works best when it’s used to improve–not replace–customer service. If you leverage it correctly, your IVR real estate system will allow you to capitalize on real estate opportunities, even if they call you back while you’re on the phone with another motivated seller!