By Russ Bergeron
Superior customer service is one of the essential standards MRED, Chicagoland’s multiple listing service, has set for itself. A large part of today’s MLS value proposition includes the highest and best support for all of its customers. MRED understands that if its customers don’t see the value of the organization through its professional management team and the service provided, MRED will go the way of the dinosaurs, a vestige of a different era, like a Kodak or Montgomery Ward. By putting customer service first, MRED is able to define itself as an organization and make clearer, more effective decisions for the long term.
Two years ago, upon my arrival at MRED, I was very impressed with the existing level of commitment to customer service. However, being so focused and dedicated to service myself, I challenged our team to do even better. Since then, we’ve managed to improve our customer service through the MRED Help Desk, which has a staff whose sole focus is to answer agents’ technical questions and provide guidance regarding MRED products and services. In addition, two other departments have improved to help customers even further: MRED Compliance staff ensures everyone is following the rules when it comes to listings in the MLS, and sorts out issues relating to listing content; and MRED Training provides a deep and thorough collection of educational opportunities, which are presented in a multitude of formats and delivery methods to accommodate the varying tastes and preferences of MRED customers.
In addition, we’ve created MRED Communications, which delivers vital messages and information to agents, brokers and appraisers. MRED has also made a commitment to reach its customers in as many ways as possible, including every aspect of social media.
Our customer service efforts haven’t gone unnoticed – for two years running, MRED has been recognized by BenchmarkPortal as one of the best call centers in America, rising this year to be in the Top 20 of the Small Center Category. BenchmarkPortal looks at several qualities when creating its call center rankings, including average follow-up time, turnover of full-time representatives, average time in queu and average talk time. This detailed analysis truly benchmarks call centers and legitimately measures their effectiveness.
MRED is also a finalist for the 2012 Delivering Customer Satisfaction through Social Media Award from Useful Social Media. We are again being compared to companies outside of the real estate industry, but in this case, winners are chosen by public vote. The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony in June.
In an era when it has become very difficult to distinguish yourself or your organization, MRED stands above other companies in its commitment and attention to customer service. Our view is that providing the most expert and responsive support to all customers is a core function of any MLS. I am proud to say our staff is delivering on that commitment, and I can confidently state that our focus will never waver as we continue to meet our very high standards of customer service.
Russ Bergeron has been the CEO of MRED since June 1, 2010. He spent the previous 17 years as the founding CEO of SoCalMLS in California. Bergeron has been named one of the 100 most influential people in real estate by Inman News for the last three years running and credits his success to a passionate commitment to customer service.