2020 Subscriber Trends: Areas for Improvement

2020 Subscriber Trends: Areas for Improvement

This week we continue examining the 2020 Subscriber Satisfaction Survey results and look at areas where we can aim to make improvements in 2021.  Previously we looked at the COVID-19 effect as well as service areas where we received new high scores.

High quality service is always a goal for RMLS™. In order to improve we have to look at areas where satisfaction isn’t meeting our goal. Judging by the survey feedback, the primary area of subscriber concern is our communication with our subscribers. Whether it’s suggesting that we add new functionality, (ex: providing links to county records), requesting changes to existing features (ex: adding new report types to the Combined Reports option), or simply wishing to know how priorities are determined, it’s clear that some subscribers are feeling unheard or in the dark about the decision making process at RMLS™.

RMLS™ recognizes that any technical or procedural change that we implement can have an immediate and important impact on your day-to-day business. We take that responsibility seriously and look to apply our resources to best serve your collective needs. In this case there’s an opportunity to improve our responsiveness and transparency.

In examining the survey results, we’ve identified three main types of communications that can be improved:

  1. Feedback to subscriber requests for new features or changes to existing functionalities
  2. Quality preparation for upcoming deployments and releases
  3. Transparency of the decision making process

Decisions are guided by subscriber feedback. Each year, our team compiles subscriber input, identifying any trends and commonalities. That list is presented to the RMLS™ Board of Directors which determines development priorities for the year. Though new priorities can occasionally be added throughout the year, we typically follow this development process. Any updates not worked on during the year are again voted on and then reprioritized the following year.

We’re in the process of drafting our business plans for 2021, which will include how best to address these communication issues. We will be looking for ways to improve how we notify subscribers of upcoming changes and additions, as we better anticipate and prepare for potential questions and confusions. We’ll continue to refine our feedback responses and focus groups, add new notification options for you to stay abreast of developments, and increase the transparency of the decision making process.

Our ability to continue to improve and evolve is in no small part thanks to our subscribers who take the time to participate with our surveys and information gathering. Technical suggestions and requests can always be submitted to our Product Manager, Beth Raimer, at beth.r@rmls.com. Communications feedback is always welcome and can be sent to communications@rmls.com. We look forward to showing you the next steps in our service evolution in 2021.

2020 Subscriber Trends: Service Highs

2020 Subscriber Trends: Service Highs

At RMLS™, we strive to consistently deliver high quality service and resources to our subscribers. Our annual satisfaction survey allows us to measure how successfully we’ve been in delivering high quality service while also providing a feedback loop to collect specific suggestions and concerns that subscribers have. This feedback helps to shape and direct the actions we plan for the future, creating a progressive system that allows us to continually improve both the technology and customer service that we offer you.

With that in mind, we’d like to highlight where we’ve made gains in the past year, including some new service high scores. According to the roughly 3,000 subscribers who participated in the 2020 Satisfaction Survey our Data Accuracy department achieved a new high score coming in at 7.9 (on a scale of 10). Data Accuracy helps to ensure the timeliness and accuracy of the listing content submitted to the MLS. Satisfaction with our Billing Services also achieved a new high, receiving an 8.5 score.

Other categories were able to equal previous high benchmark scores. Subscriber satisfaction with regional offices came in at 8.7, matching the high scores achieved in 2016 and 2017. Training scores remained high, with an 8.6 tally matching the previous year’s high. Many of the remaining categories came within .2 points of matching previous high scores, including satisfaction with how RMLS™ handles questions and suggestions, happiness with the Help Desk, and satisfaction with overall RMLS™ services.

Given the unique and significant challenges that severely impacted not just our industry, but also all of our lives, including the pandemic and wildfires, we’re gratified to have been able to maintain good scores (and your good graces) in these categories. We’ll use the lessons learned from 2020 to continue to expand and improve our service offerings, always aiming to make your jobs and lives easier. In addition to participating with our surveys, you can always submit your feedback to Beth Raimer, our Product Manager, at beth.r@rmls.com.

2020 Subscriber Trends: The COVID-19 Effect

2020 Subscriber Trends: The COVID-19 Effect

As we examine the results of this year’s Subscriber Satisfaction Survey, it becomes clear that COVID-19 has had a tangible, if not surprising, effect not just on home viewing, buying, and selling, but also on how our industry learns and interacts. 

In 2019, most RMLS™ training took place at either one of our facilities (40.1%) or one of your offices (30.5%). The number of classes offered were limited this year due to the pandemic, and those figures fell to 13.8% and 18.1% respectively. With in-person options less available due to safety concerns, our subscriber community successfully adapted by adopting online alternatives.

The use of online webinars jumped an impressive 16.4%, with nearly one-third of subscribers who sought training opting for this format. The use of online tutorials also rose 8%. The data from the survey doesn’t show similar increases for all methods of distanced communications – email use stayed at 14%, while the use of the phone to speak to our Help Desk and Training Staff actually decreased by 3%, suggesting that our subscribers recognized a need to utilize online tools across their business practices. 

With additional communication formats increasingly available online, such as our live chat option within RMLSweb and Paragon or our ‘Real Talk’ podcast, it will be interesting to see if these trends are a temporary reaction to the current pandemic, or the beginning of a broader shift to online channels for our community training and communications. If you have any questions, or wish to learn more about any form of training or help available to you, please give us a call at 877-256-2169 or email helpdesk@rmls.com.

New Look for Agent Full Reports

New Look for Agent Full Reports

RMLS™ is preparing to release a new look for agent reports on Tuesday, June 16.

Among the most notable changes are information regarding price, beds/baths and total square footage will be at the top of the report, and that showing instructions will be in a text box in the upper-right area of the report.

Thank you for all the feedback about agent reports, and please let us know if there are any other changes you would like to see.

Check out INRIX Drive Time on RMLSweb!

The INRIX Drive Time feature will be ready for you to use in RMLSweb the afternoon of Tuesday, March 26. This new mapping feature allows you to highlight an area — based on specified addresses and available traffic data — of the map, and see listings that meet your clients’ needs for a reasonable drive from home to work, school, a hospital, a grocery store, etc.

Drive Time is based on typical traffic conditions, rather than actual traffic, which includes nonrecurring activity, such as an accident or construction. With Drive Time, you can analyze the extent of a drive by day of week, time of day and length of journey.

Log into RMLSweb, then follow these steps to create a map that shows listings within your desired drive time between locations:

  • Navigate to “Map Search”
  • Click the “Locate” field and enter your destination address
  • Click “Go” to zoom the map in around a pin at the address
  • Click “Draw” and select the “Drive Time” icon
  • Enter your desired Drive Time Duration
  • Choose either “Arrival Time” or “Departure Time”
  • Click the “Calculate” button
  • Click “Count” to see listings in the selected drive time area

Additional instructions on how to use Drive Time are available here.

To learn more about INRIX Drive Time and other map search capabilities, contact an RMLS™ Trainer at training@rmls.com to schedule your own personal one-on-one training session. Please let us know if you have any questions!

Clear Cooperation MLS Policy 8.0 Rules Changes Coming April 30th: Your Questions, Answered

As a REALTOR®-owned MLS, RMLS™ should stay in compliance with the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) MLS Model Rules. For 2020, NAR made several changes to the MLS Model Rules that are mandated. The first mandatory change was reviewed and approved by the RMLS™ Board of Directors at their January meeting and became effective on February 17, 2020 which resulted in a change to Section 8.3.

The second part of the 2020 NAR Model Rule changes were reviewed and approved by the RMLS™ Board of Directors and will become effective on April 30, 2020. The changes incorporate the NAR-mandated Clear Cooperation MLS Policy 8.0 that governs the public marketing of listings and their entry into the multiple listing service. Within one (1) business day of marketing a property to the public, the Seller’s Agent must submit the listing to the MLS for cooperation with other MLS participants.

For more information regarding this policy, please see these NAR resources:

Changes to the RMLS™ Rules and Regulations includes the following:

  • Section 3.2, Acceptable Listings, the definition of marketing was changed to match the NAR policy.
  • A new section, 3.3 Clear Cooperation, was added per the NAR policy. As a result, subsequent subsections will be renumbered accordingly.
  • Section 3.3 was changed to Section 3.4, Office Exclusives, and was updated to match the NAR policy.

Changes to the Oregon Listing Contract and Washington Listing Contract includes the following:

  • In the “Exclusive Right to Sell” section…
    • The title to the Authorization to Exclude from MLS and Public Marketing Addendum was updated to match the new title of the form.
    • In the last paragraph the marketing definition was changed to match the NAR policy.

Changes to the Authorization to Exclude from MLS and Public Marketing Addendum includes the following:

  • Title changed to “Authorization to Exclude from MLS and Public Marketing Addendum”
  • Section 1 – updated the subscriber count
  • Section 2 – Updated the title of the addendum and added “…and from public marketing.” to the last sentence.
  • Section 5 – Added “…or publicly marketed in any way.” to the last sentence.
  • Section 6 – The entire section was replaced with the following text:
    CLEAR COOPERATION/PUBLIC MARKETING: Within one (1) business day of marketing the property to the public, the property no longer qualifies to be excluded from the MLS and the Participant must submit the listing to RMLS™ for cooperation with other MLS Participants. Public marketing includes, but is not limited to, flyers displayed in windows, yard signs, digital marketing on public facing websites, brokerage website displays (including IDX and VOW), digital communication marketing (email blasts), multi-brokerage listing sharing networks, and applications available to the general public.
  • Section 8 – Text referencing “…public marketing…” was added in several locations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why was this policy approved?
MLSs and Brokers from across the country asked NAR to consider policy that will reinforce the consumer benefits of cooperation. The MLS creates an efficient marketplace and reinforces the pro-competitive, pro-consumer benefits that REALTORS® have long sought to support. After months of discussion and consideration within NAR’s MLS Technology and Emerging Issues Advisory Board, this proposal was brought forth for the industry to discuss and consider, then approved by NAR’s Board of Directors.

Who made the decision that this policy was needed?
NAR’s MLS Technology and Emerging Issues Advisory Board is made up of brokers and MLS executives from across the country. Two dozen volunteers review industry concerns from a wide range of business and regional viewpoints. Potential policy changes are discussed within the group to create a positive impact on the industry and to address broker needs within the marketplace. The policy was strongly supported by the NAR MLS Committee and the NAR Board of Directors.

Do ALL REALTOR® Association MLSs have to adopt the MLS Clear Cooperation Policy?
Yes. By establishing a national policy, it is mandatory that all REALTOR® Association MLSs adopt the policy and have the same consistent standard.

Can a seller or the listing broker “opt out” of the policy’s obligations?
No. The new policy does not include an “opt out.” Any listing that is “publicly marketed” must be filed with the service and provided to other MLS Participants for cooperation within (1) one business day.

Does Policy Statement 8.0 prohibit office exclusives?
No. “Office exclusive” listings are an important option for sellers concerned about privacy and wide exposure of their property being for sale. In an office exclusive listing, direct promotion of the listing between the brokers and licensees affiliated with the listing brokerage, and one-to-one promotion between these licensees and their clients, is not considered public advertising.

Common examples include divorce situations and celebrity clients. It allows the broker to market a property among the brokers and licensees affiliated with their brokerage. If office exclusive listings are displayed or advertised to the general public, however, those listings must also be submitted to the MLS for cooperation.

Does Policy Statement 8.0 require listings to be submitted to the MLS if they are advertised to a select group of brokers outside the listing broker’s office?
Yes. “Private listing networks” that include more brokers or licensees than those affiliated with the listing brokerage constitute public advertising or display pursuant to Policy Statement 8.0. Listings shared in multi-brokerage networks by participants must be submitted to the MLS for cooperation.

Does Policy Statement 8.0 apply to non-active listings?
Yes. Policy Statement 8.0 applies to any listing that is or will be available for cooperation. Pursuant to Policy Statement 8.0, “coming soon” listings displayed or advertised to the public by a listing broker must be submitted to the MLS for cooperation with other participants.

Does Policy Statement 8.0 apply if there is no listing agreement on file?
MLS compliance, including NAR® policy 8.0, is activated once a listing agreement is signed by all required parties. For scenarios in which no listing agreement is in place, RMLS™ recommends that you consult with your broker and/or reach out to your state association for information if you suspect/or have concerns about a FREC/Code of Ethics violation.

What is the meaning of “business day?”
Business days exclude Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. For consistency among all REALTOR® Association MLSs, the approved timeframe is 1 business day.; “holidays” include all recognized federal and state holidays.

Is the new policy consistent with Article 3 of the NAR Code of Ethics?
Yes. By joining the MLS, Participants agree to be bound by the MLS Rules and Regulations. Per the policy’s rationale, the public marketing of a listing indicates that the MLS participant has concluded that cooperation with other MLS participants is in their client’s best interests.

Can I advertise a property on third party websites?
The MLS exists to facilitate cooperation and compensation. If you choose to advertise a property without a listing agreement on third party websites your compensation and/or broker participation is not guaranteed.

Can I market my excluded listing on Social Media?
For properties that have an Authorization to Exclude from MLS and Public Marketing Addendum, and the like, filed with RMLS™, all forms of social media marketing during the exclusion time period violate the 8.0 policy.

Prior to this rule change if a property was excluded from the MLS and then the sellers had a change of heart and wished to publish the property in the MLS they had to wait 30-days after the expiration of the contract in order to list the property in the MLS. Does this apply?
Once this new rule goes into affect, the 30-day waiting period will be removed.

That said, RMLS™ is happy to guide you through a specific situation or answer questions you may have. Contact the RMLS™ Data Accuracy staff at (503) 236-7657; we are happy to help answer your questions!