Every Valentine’s Day, you can smell the roses, taste the chocolates and almost feel that love is in the air. It made me think of how so many companies attempt to “love” their customers, but often few customers actually love them back.
In fact, from my own experience, it’s rare when a company consistently gets love letters – and rarely hate mail – from its customers. Over the last couple of decades, I’ve worked in the real estate and technology sectors, with dozens and dozens of companies that include several of the most well known brands, from hot startups to Fortune 500 firms, and I personally have only witnessed this phenomenon just three times.
I remember the first time I was working for Great Western Bank, based then in Beverly Hills, California. The Bank ran what can only be described as the most popular TV ad series among Realtors that have ever aired. Actor Dennis Weaver (McCloud, Gentle Ben, Gunsmoke and Duel) told homebuyers, “Looking for a home without a Realtor® is looking for trouble.” Over the next 25 or 55 seconds, Dennis extolled how vital it was to use a professional Realtor and that not all agents were Realtors.
It was the hallmark piece of Great Western’s “Realtor Program,” one that I was fortunately lucky enough to help create. We were inundated with love letters from Realtors – hundreds of them – from all over. It was incredible.
I would later work with Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and another large regional bank and I can tell you, the hate they got from customers far exceeded the love.
The second time I saw the “love” was when I was working for Imprev. Now this one is a bit contrived, as we were running a contest for the RE/MAX Design Center, which Imprev created more than a decade ago and still powers to this day. We asked RE/MAX agents to submit a short essay telling us what they “loved” about the Design Center. We got hundreds of email entries – including video testimonials – and although the motivation may have been to win a prize in a drawing, the entries were heart-felt, personal and genuine. I only know this because I actually staffed the Imprev booth at the RE/MAX R4 Convention in Las Vegas and I was stunned at the number of agents who stopped by just to say how much they loved the Design Center.
Today’s love is for MLS
Most recently I discovered a largely untold love story in the MLS world – at least one that hasn’t reached beyond subscribers who use Flexmls, created by FBS. Kim Prior, the head of Marketing at FBS made a bold move last year, creating an entire website — flexmlslove.com – to showcase the love that FBS enjoys from its customers. It’s not focused on a product or benefits: it’s about what the customer loves.
What you discover when you look closely at FBS is they are clearly focused on attracting love from their customers. In a cynical world where satisfaction with MLS systems is dry and feature focused, this approach from FBS is genius.
Net Promoter Score = Love
FBS does something that is so rare in real estate it warrants a spotlight: FBS is the only MLS Technology provider that measures and publicly discloses its Net Promote Score (NPS). It’s almost comical that in real estate we have to define for folks what an NPS is. In almost every other industry that deals directly with consumers, this score is widely used to benchmark customer service, including by more than two-thirds of Fortune 1000 firms.
The NPS is a management tool that can be used to gauge the loyalty of a firm’s customer relationships. It serves as an alternative to traditional customer satisfaction research and is the only scoring system that has consistently correlates with revenue growth. You can learn more here.
FBS has tracked NPS for over five years and has consistently scored above 80. Let me say that again: a score above EIGHTY. In baseball, that’s akin to ending the season with a batting average of .500. It just doesn’t happen. A consistent score north of 80 eludes some of the biggest business brands known for providing exceptional customer service, including Costco, Bose, Starbucks, Amazon, Virgin, and Apple iPhone.
Why MLSs are loveable
MLS love is not hyperbole as surveys from Clareity and WAV Group also show.
But again, peeling back the layers are many little things that MLSs do that set the bar for customer service at an entirely new level, as FBS so poignantly demonstrates.
Indeed. Happy Valentine’s Day!