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Bad Data in RP
June 26, 2015
Many of us have had the frustrating experience of making a reservation only to have it rejected by an owner because something in RP was not accurate. This is a problem I have been working on for some time and only have partially solved. Before we go further I want to make sure you understand how properties end up in our system and what process I have designed so we can see how to improve on it.
Step 1- An on-boarding agent gets an owner to verbally commit to letting us list there home with us.
Step 2- The onboarding agent collects needed parameters from the owner not found on the owners website.
Step 3- The onboarding dept assistant uploads the property and fills out a detailed checklist to make sure each parameter has been input successfully. He/she then notifies the bookings dept manager that the home is ready for activation.
Step 4- The bookings dept manager audits the property to ensure the information is accurate then activates the unit in our system and notifies the team of a new property.
Step 5- The marketing dept decides if they want to put up ads for the property or not.
Step 6- The home sits for 1-6 months until an agent has a deal for the owner. Agents have been advised to double check everything on the owner site and in our system before sending quotes for properties they are unfamiliar with or on particularly large deals.
Step 7- Owners receive a notice that we have an guest who want to move forward on their house that they can accept or reject.
Step 8- The MGMT dept contacts them to see if they have any questions or issues and walks them through the first deal. (This step will be implemented soon as it does not exist today)
Note: I also think something else is VERY important to realize. In step 1 when you call an owner out of the blue they don’t want to talk to you. They don’t want to “sign up” they don’t want to fill out anything. They get calls like this all the time. Therefore we make it very casual and briefly explain what we do then ask if we can throw their property up on the site. If they say yes we ask a few more questions and thats it. Owners don’t care about us until we have a booking in hand. Once we are waiting to transfer money they suddenly want to talk, have questions and we work it out. Its bumpy on the first deal but we can’t get much out of an owner on a cold call. Also after 6 months of sitting without a booking some forgot they even let us list the property. I know this is not a perfect system, but owners don’t want to talk with us until we have a deal in hand.
Here are some issues that happen in each step.
Step 1- Agents only get a verbal commitment in a brief conversation because owners don’t want to do anything until we have a deal in hand. Hence owners forget they talked with the agent. (For these management or accounting helps walk the owner through the first deal)
Step 2- Agents misunderstand something the owner tells them by phone. (This is pretty rare, and I always encourage agents to be sure they have the right info)
Step 3- The onboarding assistant makes a mistake when uploading the unit. (This does happen but it should be picked up in the audit or on the checklist, still property uploads are pretty complex. 1 property takes about 1 hour or more to do so mistakes will happen)
Step 4- The bookings dept manager does not notice a mistake made when they audit the property. (Not sure what to do about this one. This is our chance to check for mistakes)
Step 5- The owner is opposed to us doing additional marketing. (Some but not most don't want this. Not sure why. We take them down if they complain. However, in this industry marketing distribution is normal and we assume an owner is ok with us giving their property additional exposure)
Step 6- The agent does not double check the owners site on a property they are not familiar with. Owners change information on their website. (Not sure what can be done here. I know agents can't check every single deal but I think they can check big ones or deals for properties we have never booked before).
Step 7- Owners have no idea who we are because they have not spoke to us in months. (I plan to have management contact new owners each time a rez statement is sent to them for the first time).
To be honest most of the time, even though the first booking is a bumpy process it does go through and after that the owners know how everything works. I am very aware this is not a perfect process and am very open to knowing what steps should be modified and how so we can make this as smooth as possible.