Like many other markets, the real estate industry has encountered its share of friction. Rising interest rates, housing shortages, and global inflation have all contributed to bumps in the road. Despite these challenges, there is still a lot of hope and optimism in the industry — primarily when businesses focus on putting the customer first.
As customer experience practitioners, we know that providing excellent service and building solid relationships are key to success in any industry. In the real estate industry, that means understanding customers’ unique challenges and doing everything necessary to help them navigate them.
We spoke with our community about the real estate industry’s challenges. Devin Payne, Senior Director of Enablement and Product Marketing at Doma, was eager to spotlight some of these challenges and how Doma has risen to deliver customer-centric solutions.
When Doma was founded in 2016, the company set out to streamline the homebuying process. Banks, mortgage brokers, title companies, and regulators had all played a role in creating a manual, overly complex process that did little to serve the interests of homebuyers. Doma saw the opportunity to combine technology and deep real estate expertise to reduce time-to-close and improve customer outcomes.
1. What do you believe has contributed to Doma’s success?
Devin: It always comes back to our people. We strive to create transformative processes and products that remove the friction and frustration from the real estate transaction. Getting to that point took a team of people with an openness to buy into a new kind of title and escrow company. Without people willing to go through difficult changes, we wouldn’t have been able to capture market share in this industry.
2. How do brand values and market position impact your approach to customer support?
Devin: We are introducing a new process into an industry that has been around (largely unchanged) for over a hundred years. In order to compete fiercely, we use technology as a way to enhance human interaction — not remove it. Our technology approach assists our team in handling repetitive customer support needs so that humans have more time to build deeper relationships and have more meaningful conversations that drive incredible outcomes for our customers.
As a newer company going after market share in a mature market, we knew we had to keep our brand simple and focused on removing pain points for our customers. Our cultural values are centered around being customer-obsessed, solution-driven, and performing as one team. These values help push our brand identity as a disrupter and a customer-first organization.
3. What metrics would you recommend CX leaders focus on to increase customer loyalty?
Devin: We measure “customer effort” on every transaction to ensure that our clients can feel the difference when they work with us.
It’s also extremely important to obsess over your operational SLAs. Your process and your people are all part of your brand, so measuring things like email response time, hitting the dates of important milestones, and the overall accuracy of the services provided will drive the highest level of consistency in your brand experience.
4. Is it more critical to invest in people- or technology-based customer support solutions?
Devin: We utilize technology to enhance our people’s ability to be more hands-on. By removing the need to do repetitive and mundane tasks, our people are able to hone important skills, drive impactful revenue opportunities, and have more meaningful conversations with our customers.
In our industry, customers need to know what is happening at all times, so we invest in proactive communication and fast reactive comms. Our technology helps to deliver the “wow” factor, but our people drive brand loyalty.
5. What would you like your brand to achieve in the next century?
Devin: Our success lies in driving consistency and simplicity across many disparate processes to make buying a home feel like one single, seamless transaction. For our brand to be world-class, we have to deliver “right now” results and remove the arcane complexity and frustration associated with buying, selling, or refinancing a home. We want our customers to truly feel joy in the process of making what will likely be the most important purchase of their lives.
Customer Centricity Is Key
No matter what the future holds, putting the customer first will help overcome any obstacles that may arise. For tips on how to bring customer-centric behaviors into a support center, read more here.
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