Showing Suite Inc., a real estate software development company that specializes in showing management products, will soon launch a cloud-based automated appointment scheduling tool that it says will eliminate the need to use call centers and give the company a competitive advantage over its major rivals.

Showing Robot will allow prospective homebuyers and real estate agents to schedule showing appointments by either clicking a link in their multiple listing service platform, sending a text message or making a phone call. Showing Robot will then call, text or email relevant parties, which can include sellers, listing agents, asset managers, or renters. If a seller confirms first, the listing agent will then get a phone call confirming the appointment.

Once the seller or the listing agent confirms, the buyer’s agent or buyer will receive a confirmation notification with showing information.

Showing Robot uses cloud-based technology to automatically electronically schedule and confirm showing appointments as an alternative to call centers, which the company says are expensive, time-consuming and plagued with human error.

“The future is not by having onshore and offshore call centers schedule home showing appointments for buyers and buyer’s agents. That antiquated system costs a lot of money and they make errors just like the old ‘telephone game.’ Our system is quicker to use, a fraction of the cost, and provides better showing and feedback documentation than any other system,” said Rick Bengson, Showing Suite CEO, in a statement.

“Now a buyer will see a sign with a number to text; they will receive a text back with a link to a calendar with the property flier MLS info and available times to choose from, click the chosen time, and everyone is contacted and the buyer will receive a text back confirming their showing within minutes.

“Or an agent can call or text in an MLS number and the desired showing appointment time and be quickly sent back the confirmation and showing instructions. It’s fast and saves time and money.”

Showing Robot will also generate statistical reports of showing activity and, through integration with electronic Supra and Sentrilock lockboxes, will send an automated email to the showing agent anytime a lockbox is opened. Real estate professionals will also be able to add customizable default messages to the appointments texts, emails, and Robot voice calls sent to the buyer or buyer’s agent.

Showing Suite also offers Showing Calendar, a tool that allows prospective buyers to schedule showings on a real estate pro’s website, but does not function as a virtual call center as Showing Robot does, the company told Inman News.

The tool will come with iPhone, iPad and Android mobile applications to schedule and confirm showing appointments, and view showing and feedback reports. There will be different versions of Showing Robot available for agents, teams, offices and MLSs.

Showing Robot is tied to Showing Suite’s package of showing management products, collectively called “Ultimate,” which include HomeFeedback, a tool that facilitates feedback to listing agents from other real estate professionals who have shown their listings; email marketing system Home Followup; customer satisfaction surveys; and Listing Sync, which imports MLS listing information into a user’s Showing Suite account, among other tools.

Ultimate costs $39.95 per month with a 30-day free trial; discounts are available for teams and offices.

A Showing Suite Ultimate account comes with five listings with Showing Robot included; each additional listing that uses Showing Robot will cost $5 more per month, the company said.

MLSs have the option of generating non-dues revenue through Showing Suite. They can offer Ultimate at a discount to their members and receive a cut of the subscription revenue produced in exchange for marketing the product to their members. Showing Suite is still “hashing out” a pricing structure specifically for MLSs, the company said.

Showing Robot will launch in beta in early January and fully launch 30 days later. Those who sign up for the Showing Robot waitlist will receive information about the beta program.

In March 2012, San Diego-based Showing Suite acquired Robot Workshop, a South Carolina-based real estate technology firm. Showing Robot is not associated with the acquisition of Robot Workshop, the company said.

Last week, Showing Suite competitor eShowings shut down after its founder and former CEO Charles Smith headed to prison for pocketing his employees’ payroll taxes. The closure left the company’s 85 or so employees, the vast majority of them call center operators, jobless.

Competitors ShowingTime and Centralized Showing Services, both of whom use call centers, recently snapped up some of eShowings’ lost business, signing up Prudential Fox & Roach (now Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, Realtors) and the North Carolina-based Jacksonville Board of Realtors, respectively.

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