RESO’s mission of a streamlined, efficient real estate technology industry rings true for real estate brokers. For Nina Dosanjh, Director of Strategic Alliances and Technology with Vanguard Properties, the pursuit of efficiency is laden with hurdles, and she’s driven to overcome them for her company.
Dosanjh led a recent Broker Spotlight Session for RESO’s Broker Advisory Workgroup. These sessions are intended to give brokers insights into one company’s pain points and lessons learned in the never-ending journey of upgrading brokerage technology.
Dosanjh shared her San Francisco-based company’s tech stack review process that utilizes a keen focus on how technology best serves their agents and clients.
In on the Conversation
Examining the boots-on-the-ground broker experience is where the conversations in the Broker Advisory Workgroup take off. These meetings are attended by brokers from all brands, indies and franchises alike, with everyone seeking a better way to do business. This month’s meeting included brokers from JPAR, Compass, Coldwell Banker, Redfin and Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, as well as technology leaders from MLSs, the National Association of REALTORS®, Realtors Property Resource® and WAV Group.
A Patchwork of Programs
In reviewing the tech stack at Vanguard, Dosanjh found that the brokerage’s many systems were more a patchwork of applications rather than a cohesive mix of interoperable products. Few systems talked to each other, making duplicate entry and repetitive tasks a consistent struggle for staff and agents.
Vanguard started by exploring single sign-on (SSO) technology to eliminate repetitive actions like logging in to broker tools, MLS programs and third-party apps. While some larger brokerages and MLSs have SSO dashboards for all of their agents’ tools, this seems to be the exception in the industry.
Will the Agents Use It?
Dosanjh dove into the complex matrices that brokers use to understand agent engagement with technology products. Adoption rates are important, but for Vanguard it was important to base research on the technology itself.
For example, a showing service may be used every day while a stats service may be used once a month. Also, 12–15% of membership usage of a product is often considered a good adoption rate due to inactivity among many agents in the system.
Tracking usage based on user segments or time spent with the product, for instance, would be useful measures.
The broker members agreed that good adoption tracking and analytics are critical to their business decisions. They were unanimous in their disappointment in the lack of this kind of data in current technology systems.
Note: The work being done by RESO’s Internet Tracking Workgroup provides a path to a standard way for vendors to track user engagement with agent listings across different technology platforms.
While brokers felt that they needed more ability to track agent usage of tech tools, they recognize that they are up against a trend going in the opposite direction. With stronger privacy laws and tracking opt-in requirements in technology, there’s concern that broker needs will become harder to meet. One study recently determined that 96% of U.S. users opt out of app tracking in iOS 14.5.
Old Dogs, No Treats
Dosanjh also touched on her experience with agent loyalty to incumbent products and an overall aversion to changing practices. Agents are notoriously difficult to break out of their long-term habits, digital or analog. Lack of usership in some technology that the broker has purchased isn’t always based on a faulty product.
The brokers agreed that this nagging issue around change only amplifies the need for vendors to do more to help introduce and train agents on their products, especially if there is to be true dedication to the broker community, which tends to demand more tool usage from their agents than MLSs do from their subscriber base. Vendors have greater incentives to work on adoption in a pay-per-active-user model than a pure headcount model.
Technology Tires Meet the Broker Road
Dosanjh and Vanguard determined that they needed to partner more closely with their technology vendors to educate and communicate with their agents about important product changes. Vanguard has also baked detailed usage reporting into their vendor agreements.
There was general agreement between brokers during the meeting that associations, MLSs and brokers should band together to make this kind of usage reporting standard operating procedure for vendors.
Broker Spotlight Sessions: Who Got Next?
Our session with Nina Dosanjh was one of the most active and broadly engaging in quite some time. RESO would like you (yes, you) to take the lead at one of our upcoming sessions and talk about your brokerage’s technology.
What works? What doesn’t work? What’s that technology pet peeve that the brokerage industry really needs to erase so that we can focus more directly on our agents and clients?
Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with a quick email, call or message, and we can get you in the queue to lead another solutions-focused discussion with the RESO Broker Advisory Workgroup.