A newly launched real estate tech product takes advantage of the real-time communication that consumers crave to capture and convert online leads, much like instant chat has transformed online customer service for retail. Voitrix offers agents a website and property listing search solution with a few unique twists, including streamlined text messaging and automated prospect vetting.

  • A newly launched real estate tech product takes advantage of real-time communication that consumers crave to capture and convert online leads -- much like instant messaging -- from the moment a prospective buyer sees a listing.
  • Websites powered by Voitrix feature three contact tabs above the search box -- call, email, text. Messages go straight to agents' smartphones.

This month, I made a purchase on a scale much smaller than buying a house but larger than your everyday trip to the store — a propane grill to surprise my boyfriend on his birthday. I had no idea what I was doing and was desperately counting on good customer service to get me through the process.

I ended up finding that at Lowe’s before I ever stepped foot in a store. Because after a few minutes browsing on the home improvement website, a blue box at the bottom of the screen prompted me to start a chat with a representative.

“Yes, please,” I thought. I could get all my questions answered while avoiding the potentially awkward in-store sales pitch, under which my limited grill knowledge would crumble.

I determined my options for assembly and delivery and which product I wanted, all without saying a word out loud. When I went to the store to see it in person, I walked in confident that I had enough understanding to avoid a major purchase fail, and Lowe’s got my business.

A newly launched real estate tech product takes advantage of this same kind of real-time communication that consumers crave to capture and convert online leads — much like instant messaging — from the very moment a prospective buyer sees a listing.

Call me, email me, text me

Voitrix, founded within the Citrix Startup Accelerator, is a software solution that gives agent websites their own property listing and search portal platform. Websites powered by Voitrix feature three contact tabs above the search box.

  • Call me
  • Email me
  • Text me

In addition to performing their house hunt, visitors can contact the agent right from the website, and the message will go directly to an agent’s smartphone.

The product currently serves the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors’ property search website, along with 91 individual agents at top brokerages in Santa Barbara including Riskin Partners, Village Properties, Berkshire Hathaway, Sothebys, Keller Williams and Coldwell Banker.

Most recently, in March, Voitrix launched the San Francisco Association of Realtors portal. Here’s how it works.

Instant communication for consumers; on-the-spot vetting for agents

Agents working through Voitrix keep their name as the URL, and buyers visiting an agent website would see something like this:

Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 3.57.48 PM

Prospective homebuyers perform their home search from the homepage, and if they want more information on a listing, they can directly send a text message to the agent.

This is a consumer-facing feature that that Voitrix product owner Viral Carpenter says clients appreciate as a way to gather information without feeling like they’re committed to a property or funneling themselves into a sales pitch they’re not ready for.

For agents, it’s a way to fulfill the quick communication need that’s required to capture a lead.

Prospects are also prompted to enter an email address before they send a text message, at which point an automated profile of the lead, composed of public information that could be found in a Google search, gets sent to the agent via text.

Carpenter described this as a way to vet the quality of a lead, particularly with luxury home sales that might attract curious, but not serious, buyers.

“As an agent your job is very mobile, so let’s say you go to an open house or a home inspection, by the time you get back there’s a good chance that your inbox is full,” Carpenter said. “With Voitrix, [agents] can keep these homebuyers who are actively looking on their own platform. So it’s client retention, as well as responding to the leads instantaneously.

Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 6.42.28 PM

The platform also features an “Open House” tab, which lays out running list of open houses (shown above) in the area complete with dates, times and property information. Here’s a full product demo:

Here’s a full product demo:

The platform is currently limited in scope to the California locations and pricing is not yet finalized.

In terms of product expansion, founder Carpenter said that Voitrix is evaluating Arizona as the next possible state for expansion, but decisions would be made based on real estate markets — where “urgency in getting the homebuyer is very high” — rather than geography.

On the Internet, the quickest way to make a sale is through the path of least resistance. Every extra step a customer takes is another point of friction and one more opportunity for them to change their mind.

Indeed, that’s why the web is littered with abandoned “shopping carts,” and why many home hunters are likely turned off when reaching an agent online requires completion of a cumbersome form.

Five-star customer service today usually starts with a text or email. The Voitrix solution appears to be one that could give consumers what they want without compromising an agent’s hold on a listing.

Email Caroline Feeney.

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