Creating a successful, well-respected real estate business is a challenge that's common to any small customer service business.
This is especially true in real estate, where clients and their agents are forced by the buying and selling process to have a one-on-one relationship (sometimes for months on end!).
Year in and year out, the top complaints made by clients about their agents are things like these:
- "I can never get him on the phone! And he's bad at email too!"
- "I leave so many voicemails, and my agent never calls me back!"
- "My agent doesn't pick up when I call and sends me to voicemail."
- "If I call, they don't answer, so I text and never get a reply."
- "When I talk to my agent, it's like she's forgotten what we talked about the next time we speak!"
When your revenue depends on cultivating and keeping an excellent reputation with volumes of unique clients over time, it's imperative that you prioritize how well you communicate.
One of the most effective ways to do this is by creating an engaging customer communication process that's useful both for new leads and existing clients who you want to keep loyal.
Chat widgets have become increasingly popular among small businesses as they provide an efficient and convenient way to communicate with customers - and help spark sales.
This article will explore how live chat widgets can help real estate agents, teams, and brokerages increase sales and improve their reputations with clients.
What is a Chat Widget?
A chat widget is a small piece of software code added to your website that enables users to access an online chat feature to ask quick questions, get canned responses, or, increasingly, speak with a live person.
The chat widget is usually placed on the website’s homepage or other designated page, allowing customers to quickly and easily get help.
The widget is typically linked to a live chat service such as Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, or Skype, and it allows customers to communicate directly with the business without having to leave the website - or pick up the phone.
Even before the pandemic, Millennials and Gen Z were already turning away from the phone and face-to-face interactions in favor of email, text, and chat.
If you are unaware, millennials (and now Gen Z) will soon make up most of your real estate business.
The Benefits of Chat Widgets
Chat widgets provide many benefits to real estate pros that also give them an advantage over competitors who don't employ live interaction features on their websites:
One of the most significant advantages of chat widgets is that they provide an efficient and convenient way for clients to contact you.
It is especially effective for early-stage leads who land on your site and have questions while they're checking to see if you're worth their time.
Why do they work so well?
Visitors can quickly and easily send a message to the business without leaving the website and without picking up a phone or sending an email they already suspect won't get a reply (see clients' top complaints in the intro to this article).
Convenience for your client is not just a "one trick pony," either.
When consumers get convenience from one vendor and not from another, they stop buying from businesses that waste their time and energy in favor of those that make things easy.
This effect subconsciously raises the esteem of convenient businesses in the minds of consumers and leads to more sales and loyalty over time.
Big companies know this and are increasingly adopting chat support, so most consumers are used to it.
It's an easy decision to make because all the data says that consumers now prefer chat support to any other channel.
Improved Customer Service
Chat widgets also help improve your lead and client service level by providing direct communication with you or someone on your team.
This makes it easier for customers to get their questions answered quickly and accurately, as you can respond in real time.
This leads directly to increased customer satisfaction, leading to improved sales and loyalty.
Think about it this way:
Most home buyers head to Zillow, then to Google Search to start evaluating REALTOR® websites to see which one looks most able (and willing) to help. If a prospective client hits a couple of sites that only offer a contact form or email address while yours offers a friendly, live chat directly with you, which site do you think has a better chance of getting them to take action and reach out?
Having a chat widget tells visitors that you care about communicating and that you're going out of your way to save them time and make their lives easier in some small way.
Again, subconscious queues go a long way to helping you keep visitors on your site and getting them to convert.
Higher Conversion Rates
Your website is, as just mentioned, simply a tool to convert visitors into leads. Otherwise, why have it?
Chat widgets boost conversion rates by giving customers an easier way to contact you that doesn't force them to call or start an email.
Anything you do to reduce the number of steps a website visitor has to go through to contact you pays off in more leads - and more significant revenue dividends over the long term.
Chat can help reduce the number of potential customers who leave your website without taking action due to unanswered questions or concerns.
Chat widgets are also a great way to increase client engagement on the website.
With the popularity of video games and mobile phone apps now a part of our "internet nature," chat widgets almost beg us to click on them (if for nothing more than to see if someone really is there or not!).
By providing an easy-to-use channel for direct communication with you, clients are more likely to stay on the website longer and explore the different offerings too.
This helps improve sales because visitors who are more engaged with a website have a much higher chance of reaching out - and having a favorable initial view of your real estate brand as well.
Chat widgets are a cost-effective way to improve your level of service (you might also say they pay for themselves in the extra leads you get too!).
Using a chat widget allows agents to save money on hiring additional leads and client support staff, as a properly configured widget can handle most routine customer inquiries without a live person even answering a message.
This can help reduce your overhead costs and increase profitability.
How to Get Chat on Your Website
Depending on your website platform and technology, there are several ways to get a live chat widget for your site quickly and affordably.
No matter if you DIY your website or have someone do it for you, installing most chat widgets is also a breeze.
Most DIY hosting platforms, such as WordPress and Squarespace, have plugins available that you can add to your website to enable live chat.
Many third-party services, such as Intercom, LiveChat, Olark, and Zendesk Chat, provide live chat widgets too.
For those real estate pros who send marketing emails, many email automation platforms, such as Sendinblue, now offer integrated chat widgets alongside their email, forms, and email list management offerings.
As well, if you're using a high-quality Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool such as Hubspot, chances are it also includes chat messenger you can install on your site.
(NOTE: if you're not using a CRM for your real estate business and you're after significant 💰💰💰, you really, really, really should be!)
Many of these CRMs with chat also have mobile apps, so you can respond instantly to new messages from your site and keep a history of the lead's contact info and your conversation for you to refer to later.
My top recommendation for a low-cost CRM with a chat widget you can easily install on your website is Salesmate.
It's powerful, straightforward to use, and one of the most affordable CRM systems on the market.
No matter which direction you go, adding live chat (or even just a chatbot with answers to crucial buyer and seller FAQs) can't hurt your business. It can only help.