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Case Study: Centralized Showing Service Drives Success in Fayetteville’s Longleaf Pine REALTORS®

Author:  Anonymous
Date:  27 April 2017

By Victor Lund, CEO of RE Technology

MLSs and REALTOR® associations are constantly on the lookout for products and services that exceed industry benchmarks for member benefits, competitive positioning, and consumer satisfaction. For the past 7 years, the Fayetteville Regional Association of REALTORS® has been offering Centralized Showing Service (CSS) as a core member benefit of the association and MLS. As a result of two other associations merging with them this year, Fayetteville Regional Association of REALTORS® became Longleaf Pine REALTORS®.

About CSS
Centralized Showing Service is an Overland Park, Kansas based service and software company that has been serving the REALTOR® community since 1996. CSS pioneered the showing appointment services industry. The firm operates nationwide serving over 200,000+ brokers and REALTORS® in more than 90 markets, generating over 21 million showings each year. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, CSS has service representatives standing by to schedule showings. Appointments can be requested and confirmed multiple ways: telephone, text, email, mobile app or website. CSS announced a partnership this year that enables agents to also request showings through tight integration from MLS systems in markets serviced by CoreLogic.

Agent Productivity Problem Solved
According to Debbie McFayden, MLS Director of the now Longleaf Pine REALTORS®, “Our leadership is constantly surveying the market for the best resources that support our brokers and agents in streamlining transactions. The association’s membership outreach indicated that agents had a heck of a time with the heavy communication requirements of scheduling showings.” McFayden continues, “Buyer’s agents make multiple attempts to connect with the listing agent, who in turn connects with their seller, then the feedback loop continues until a time is selected. Some of our agents were spending more than 8 hours a week setting up showings.” She concludes, “Now they just turn over the appointments that they need scheduled and CSS takes care of it.”

Great Tools Define Great Associations and MLSs
Association President, Jay Dowdy of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices All American Homes says, “At 1,400 members, we strive to deliver the best products and services available for REALTORS®.” The company has contracts with CSS, CoreLogic Innovia, CoreLogic Realist, Instanet, and Supra as its primary core services. “In our merger discussions with neighboring REALTOR® associations, our technology and the services of our excellent staff combined, puts us in a position to have positive growth through mergers,” explains Dowdy.

Mergers are tricky to navigate. Each association and MLS has a suite of tools that they consider to be the ideal mix for their membership. Sometimes you need to adopt services through a merger and other times, you need to give something up. With CSS, Fayetteville was in a position to add services for the benefit of the associations joining them.

“Not only does CSS save our agents hours every week, they are confident CSS will stay on top of all appointment requests with no missed showings,” says McFayden. “Using Showings.com and the mobile app to track all showing activity, agents manage their opportunities in real-time,” she continues, “In this market of non-stop showings and quick offers, having a tracking system is more important than ever to give each agent and seller the ability to stay informed on their properties.”

Customer Service is Everything
Lisa Geddie is the Head of Operations of the Coldwell Banker in the Fayetteville area and serves on the Longleaf Pine REALTORS® as the Vice President. “I wear two hats around here,” Geddie explains, “As a board director, I need to make sure that we remain competitive with our services and our fees, but I also understand that the MLS and the REALTOR® association needs to support our members in ways that allow agents to be professional and more efficient.” Geddie concludes, “Our agents love CSS and would revolt if the association ever took that service away.”

Always Be Training
The best practice for any association or MLS service is to pay constant attention to every product offered every month. McFayden explains, “A highlight to the CSS service is that they provide local support in ALL markets.” Longleaf Pine REALTORS® is supported by the local CSS Regional Account Representative, Paula Nash. “Paula is like a part of our family around here,” McFayden says. “She works with us to set up agent training, monitors our support, and reviews our implementation on a regular basis to ensure that our roll out is taking advantage of best practices,” continues McFayden. “CSS is the most hands-on partner we work with,” she adds.

Reporting
As with any association or MLS product, it is very important that there is some reporting on the effectiveness and utilization of the tool. “We have enjoyed working with everyone at CSS over the years to get the reporting set up in a way that allows us to manage this member benefit in the best possible way,” says McFayden.

Beyond the report about the effectiveness of CSS in scheduling showings, REALTORS® have come to understand that these reports are remarkable indicators about the health of the real estate market. “Our brokers gain terrific insights that keep them informed about the market as a whole or look specifically at market segments like property type, property attributes and real-time sales data,” Dowdy informs. “The collaboration of this data assist in predicting where the market is headed,” he concludes. There are about 6,000 listings being shown in this regional market. Dowdy suggested that watching the showing data and combining it with list-to-sell ratios and days on market creates a more complete perspective on current and future home prices.

The Future of Showing Services
Kevin Hughes, VP of Sales and Business Development at CSS, suggested that CSS will be exploring ways to improve showing services and scheduling in some impressive ways this year. “We are looking to continue to explore our CoreLogic partnership to drive better usability with tight integration into the MLS system,” explains Hughes. He indicated that CSS currently has many Single Sign On integrations with other MLS systems and broker-back office systems. “Our goal is to allow showings to be managed simply and quickly without having to learn any complicated new software or remember any more usernames and passwords,” continues Hughes. Mobile support has been a key growth initiative for CSS recently and they look forward to more mobile development. According to Hughes, “Showing services need to be as close to real-time as possible.”

Check it out
To get an overview of CSS, please contact Carrie Rollison at 614-378-8513 or carrier@showings.com.

CSS will be attending the upcoming 2017 National Association of REALTORS® Legislative Meetings and Expo in Washington, D.C. If you would like to meet with them during the event, visit booth #310.

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