Courtney K. is a successful real estate agent and a CRM administrator at the same time.
“It all started when we suddenly discovered that our competitors had outrun us dramatically in the past two years. We eventually got curious, for we knew they were using quite the same methods of work. So we started looking for something they probably had and didn’t want to share with us. We got the answer only when we employed an agent, who used to work for our competitors before. And the answer was APRO CRM. I happened to be one of the few people having a vague idea about IT tools, so that was how I became the CRM administrator. Honestly, I wasn’t very excited about the idea. I had an experience working with a CRM on my previous job, but there, everything was done by an IT expert, and I had no idea about how”.
Why APRO CRM?
“I wouldn’t lie to you saying we immediately decided to use APRO CRM. It looked rather like narrowing our choice down to it, as we gradually browsed other systems and their potential. The final decision was made, however, when we discovered that APRO CRM has an industry version, specifically designed for real estate agencies to best satisfy their needs.
The most astounding thing was the abundance of functions. Well, it is apparent that the system is targeted at a wider audience, and the developers are striving to simplify a very wide range of company processes.
Among the rare and important features, I would name IP telephony and built-in PABX. It is so convenient to have everything you need at hand — you just come to your office, switch on your computer, run your CRM — and you’re ready to call! The number of lines is unlimited, you can use ready-made call processing scripts or create some of your own, which is very important for companies experiencing staff turnover. Another huge advantage of the built-in PABX is conversations recordings that are all kept registered and logged in the CRM. We sometimes use these recordings as a powerful training tool: there’s no need to give vague explanations, when you have a vivid live example. Another feature I admire is email integration, that spares you the trouble of opening an external email account and sneaking in to it every now and then. All you need to do, is just add your email account to APRO CRM — and start browsing your email right in the system”.
What it the key CRM feature for your company?
“The first thing we were craving for, was a well-organized database of properties and owners. We used to store all our clients data in Excel, which appeared a huge mess every time we had to refresh it. It used to take us hours and hours to update each contact manually, and it was extremely annoying. Now, we have this trouble solved by the “Duplicates search” application.
Second, we had to unify and consolidate all the email accounts of our agents in order to eliminate any unauthorized interactions with clients. The CRM administrator and managers have unlimited access permissions and can monitor the chat conversations of any user. At the begging, I found this idea a bit scary, but I must admit I was wrong. Monitoring is not there to follow every step you make and is only used in case of issues in order to clear up the situation and solve the problem.
Third, we wanted the CRM to be integrated with our website to increase the flow of new leads by means of online forms. We started from introducing live chat and a callback option. Both were realized through APRO CRM without involving any external software. Now our clients can submit an online form, which goes directly to the CRM, and receives an instant response in live chat.
And finally, we had to standardize and automate our client service”.
What made you choose the industry version?
“We wanted the CRM functions to be specifically designed to satisfy the needs of a real estate agency. We just wanted to avoid additional settings as much as possible. We made our final decision, when we discovered the feature of automated upload to advertising platforms. This was the solution we were longing for, because we used to do the uploads manually once or twice a week to a number of websites — and it was extremely exhausting! We used to take it as a dull but indispensable part of our job, but still… nobody enjoyed wasting their time on this routine and monotonous thing! All we have to do now, is just adjust the upload settings — the rest is done automatically by APRO CRM. In addition, the system can also track calls from different advertising platforms.
It was also very important for us to be able to keep virtual accounts for each of our agents, in order to monitor their posts on advertising platforms and the budget they spend on them. CRM APRO has allowed me to estimate and set tariffs for these posts and fund the virtual accounts of my colleagues with the relevant amounts automatically. Once an advertisement is published, the virtual account is charged with the relevant fee. It takes no effort for me now to monitor our spending on advertising, which is not cheap nowadays…
- At the very beginning, APRO CRM allowed us to quickly import our database of properties to the CRM.
- We can now update our clients regularly on their progress, specifying when and where exactly their advertisement was published, how many people browsed it and responded to it, what stage their contract is currently on, and much more.
- APRO CRM bookings calendar helps our agents find both booked and available properties for specific dates”.
How did you learn to work with the system?
“I wouldn’t lie to you and say “easily”. There were a couple of things I couldn’t quite catch, but one call to the tech support was enough to clarify everything. The interface was no trouble getting used to — it’s quite intuitive and comprehensive. I find it a great idea to display tasks in two modes — a regular table and a kanban board of statuses or deadlines.
The administration panel, however, seemed a little complicated to me at first sight. But once I learned it is possible to hide the unnecessary items from the menu, the issue was solved. There were also a couple of glitches that came out during the deployment of the system, but those were eliminated by the developers in a surprisingly short period of time.
The greatest challenge was to adjust automated business processes. I had no idea about how to do that, and didn’t find any instructions on the website, so I basically ended up mailing the tech support with a whole bunch of questions. I thought no one would ever reply. But the guys appeared to be very patient and attentive. They asked me to describe each business process I wanted to introduce, and gave ultimately clear explanations about how to adjust them. It took me about two weeks to set all the business processes I wanted”.
In a word…
“The system is getting improved and developed all the time. Even this year was quite fruitful for us in terms of new useful applications and functions. Industry versions is a great advantage, I think. They spare you the trouble of making too many adjustments and settings, and provide a huge variety of functions specifically designed for the industry you are in.
The only disadvantage I can think of, is a bit of a trouble I had with understanding the business process settings, but it all got settled in literally no time, once I called the tech support. By the way, the technical assistance, which is totally free of charge in APRO CRM, was another reason why we decided to use this system. As far as I know, other CRM solutions only offer assistance and consulting services for a considerable fee. But, to be honest, there aren’t many subjects you might contact them about. Look at how far I am from the IT world! — But I made myself at home in APRO CRM very quickly”
Contact Information: https://www.crma.pro/