Reimagining the Consumer Experience

Deborah Lynn Blumberg| February 15, 2019

Wouldn’t it be nice to have real-time insight into how buyer and seller preferences are changing? Or better yet, what if you could partner with consumers to help them figure out exactly what it is they want from the real estate experience?

Keller Williams is doing just that with their new consumer app coming later this year. 

The app is one of many offerings to come out of Keller Williams’ transformation over the last few years. Putting agents in charge of their own data and enhancing the real estate experience – for agents and consumers alike – is how KW is using their technology prowess to transform the industry.

According to Honlia Hao, senior product manager for KW’s consumer initiative, “Customers currently find the the process very frustrating, and the tools are all over the place.  There’s really no one providing a holistic end-to-end experience that solves a lot of consumers’ pain points.”

Empowering agents and consumers

The app revolutionizes the consumer experience at a time when more and more prospective buyers and sellers are looking for holistic, tech-savvy ways to help them navigate and streamline the buying and selling process. Currently, tools and guides in the real estate world come piecemeal, and can be confusing and frustrating.

Yet, consumers still prefer to work with an agent. In fact, their value is only climbing as more and more information becomes available.

Eighty-seven percent of all buyers bought their home through an agent in 2018, according to a survey by the National Association of REALTORS®. KW’s consumer app empowers agents and consumers, uniting them to create one central point for communication and collaboration. Consumers start by downloading an agent’s branded app. The choices consumers make – the types of properties they click on, the neighborhoods they look at – are captured, and artificial intelligence mines that data. Agents then know exactly what their clients want, so they can make more informed suggestions and recommendations.

Consumers also get special insight into their preferences through the app. For example: When searching for a home, the app tells them how unique their search criteria is, helping them understand their competition. Consumers also get real-time updates through the app, complemented by their agent’s unique insights, as their deal progresses – bringing complete transparency to the buy/sell process.

Eliminating frustration

Hao and her team have been busy talking to both agents and consumers to enhance the app’s offerings. Through virtual usability tests and in-person focus groups, they engage with at least 2,500 users a month. Compound that with the feedback they get through Labs, where a select group of Keller Williams agents have been testing the new technology, and you have a 360-view with which to develop and test the app.

“We’re drawing from real-use cases from our consumers. A lot of the experiences we’re creating don’t exist in our competitive space.”– Honlia Hao, Senior Product Manager, Consumer

– Honlia Hao, Senior Product Manager, Consumer

Buyers want help finding the right neighborhood for them and understanding what it’s like to live in a certain neighborhood, Hao says. Buyers, and especially first-time buyers, often start the process not fully understanding what it entails and how long it takes to find the right home. That’s another way Keller Williams’ consumer app will help.

“We’ve created interactive ways that take and guide users through that process,” Hao says. “They know expectations, how long it takes, what the steps are. And, hopefully, that removes frustration for them.”

For example, Guide – one of the app’s star features – allows agents to customize each consumer’s experience. At any moment, consumers can log in and view where their transaction is at in addition to next steps. They can also message their agent with inquiries, questions and concerns within the app. Similarly, agents can reach out to their clients with recommendations, documents and follow-up information to help them navigate the buy/sell process with ease.

The reward is twofold: consumers are provided with the transparency and on-demand information they crave, and agents are able to deepen their relationship with consumers while solidifying their stance as hyperlocal, data-driven experts.

As they app matures toward release, consumers are constantly giving feedback on what works, what doesn’t, and their wishes. Hao is excited about the endless possibilities, and how the app will forge closer connections between agents and their clients as it provides clarity into individual preferences.

With agent marketing and service efforts evolving from one-to-many to one-to-one, Keller Wiliams is organically building technology to fulfill that need, and in doing so, creating a richer real estate experience for today and tomorrow’s consumers.

KW Consumer App  – Coming Soon

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