by Paul Beakley
Public Awareness: associations are building on NAR's national efforts to CRAFT Local Image Campaigns.
Around the country, associations large and small are building on the momentum of NAR's national awareness campaign, using local radio, print media, and television to put their own spin on things.
This issue of RAE magazine is all about change and addressing issues like, What will associations look like in five years?
What will we look like in five years? Personally, I’m concentrating on growing hair and finding my cheekbones.
Like any business, associations often struggle with their identity. Are they projecting a strong image to members? Do members understand what they do and offer? Is their role as "the voice for real estate" getting through to members and consumers?
More associations that rely on e-mail communication with members are finding that their messages are being blocked, bounced, or filtered as spam.
As associations begin eliminating paper communications and moving important functions such as voting, education, and meetings to an online environment, the problem with blocked e-mails is causing great concern. After all, how can Realtors® and consumers make the move toward online transactions when they can’t even ensure that e-mail is being delivered?
You have great ideas for your association—new services, high-tech solutions, and sweeping reorganization plans. But how do you get staff and stakeholders to buy into your vision and support you along the way? Here are 10 strategies to keep in mind for implementing changes effectively.
1. Act quickly.
Communicate impending changes as soon as possible. That way, the rumor mill won’t have a chance to grind out stories that aren’t true.
2. Explain the decision.
Surveys that reveal: How much member service do you think you're delivering?
All association executives expect their staff to provide good customer service, consistently, yet few have a customer service policy. A written policy unites the association behind the common goal of fulfilling customer service and explains exactly how to achieve that goal.
Studies show that the presence or absence of a written customer service policy creates substantive differences in the way employees view the importance of customer service.
Below are 13 best practices in customer service you can include in your association's customer service policy.
Whether your Realtor® association serves 400 or 14,000 members, part of its regular function is to field complaints from both members and their customers. If handled properly, those complaints become valuable customer service tools.
"While you're in the midst of a telephone call with an irate customer, it may be hard to view the complaint as a gift, but that's precisely what it is," says Keith Bailey, founder of the Sterling Consulting Group and coauthor of the book Customer Service for Dummies.
Minority awareness: associations use innovative approaches to attract minority buyers and multicultural members.
NAR's new Diversity Assistance Program (DAP) recognized 17 Realtor associations in 2004 with grants to help fund their outreach efforts to minority consumers and bring more cultural diversity into association membership and leadership.