Want Raving Fans? 5 Gotta Haves for your 2018 MLS Budget

by Marilyn Wilson on September 5, 2017

Budget

WAV Group conducts more subscriber satisfaction research for MLSs than anyone else in the country.  We have a depth of understanding of the key drivers of satisfaction and perceived relevance for MLS organizations.

Here’s the 5 key opportunities for improving your MLS’ satisfaction and relevance as you move into 2018:

  1. Go TO your Members

Create a Field Support/Training Team

There is NOTHING that drives up customer engagement and satisfaction for MLSs more than a team of customer servants that go out into the field, attending office meetings, broker events and community events.  These valuable team members can help educate subscribers on the technology and tools offered to drive up adoption and perceived value of the MLS fees. They can also gather input on ways to improve technology, service and support for your customers.  On every survey that we field, satisfaction numbers are off the charts with those that have attended sessions with MLS customer servants.

  1. Marketing

Make Promotion a Priority   

All of our MLS clients wish they could get every one of their subscribers to take full advantage of the tools, support and training they offer, yet,  according to the 2017 CMLS Best Practices Survey, just 18% of MLSs have full-time marketing staff.   In order for your members to take full advantage of the services you offer they need to understand the practical, tangible benefits that will help them succeed in real estate.  2018 is the year to think about hiring a marketing person, contract with an outside resource or a combination of both.

  1. Prepare for the Future

Strategic Planning

Our industry has never moved faster than it is right now. It’s time for every MLS to question every assumption and take a fundamental look at the company’s role, relevance and reason for being.  It’s time to think about important new ways to anticipate the needs of your customers and find new ways to help them be more successful without levelling the playing field.

How do you know if you are addressing the needs of your brokers?  As part of the preparations for the strategic plan, you interview your largest brokers to be sure you are getting the whole truth so you can address their needs. Sometimes brokers are more willing to speak to outsides than their own team.  You will get unfettered access to the best ways you can improve your working relationship and value with your brokers.

It’s time to evaluate every service you offer and critically evaluate the value it provides as well as examine new products to be added that will help your subscribers get better at serving the needs of the ever-more sophisticated real estate consumer.  Ideally you plan for year-round strategic conversations as well as an off-site event with a professional facilitator.

  1. WAVes of Change

Ongoing Industry Education

It’s hard for your board of directors to make educated decisions if they are not ALL up to speed on the key issues, trends and initiatives facing our industry today.   It’s also very expensive to send board members and staff to the myriad of events in our industry today.  WAV Group now offers a solution to these challenges called the WAVes of Change program. This affordable program includes four online sessions throughout the year. We provide unbiased reviews of industry initiatives, research studies, best practices, NAR policy changes, and any other important topic that can help MLS leadership stay up to speed and make sound decisions.  With WAVes of Change each MLSs can invite their staff, board, committee/taskforce chairs, and brokers to learn about the key issues facing our industry in just 1 hour from their own desk.

  1. Exceed your customer’s needs

Customer Satisfaction Research

How do you know how well you are serving the needs of your customers if you don’t ask them?   Progressive MLSs are measuring customer satisfaction at least annually, if not more.  They are asking about satisfaction with training, communications, support, and technologies.   WAV Group works with several MLSs across the country.  Those that are willing to share not only benchmark their own progress year to year. They also benchmark against other MLSs around the country.   This is a great way to stay in tune with what your members are looking for to ensure you are addressing their frustrations and proactively bringing them programs that are going to help them be more successful.

WAV Group has helped several MLSs build a customer-centric, and strategically-focused budget. If you need help feel free to reach. Also, read my article about Benefit-based budgeting for some more inspiration.

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