Even as new real estate gadgets are constantly introduced into the market, the MLS remains agents’ no. 1 technology tool.
So when choosing whether to stay with a current system or make a change, how can MLS executives separate the best from the rest?
Real estate consulting firm Clareity Consulting has offered one resource for the past 16 years: its annual MLS customer satisfaction survey.
“The purpose of the study was to learn more about MLS customer satisfaction and key metrics that affect it, including system performance and uptime, technical support, vendor responsiveness, and communications,” Clareity said in this year’s report, released Monday.
Clareity received survey responses from execs at 223 MLSs representing 1,044,947 subscribers. Who won out? And who inspired regrets?
And the winners are…
First, only the following MLS systems had enough responses to be included in the survey results:
- Black Knight (Paragon 5 and Paragon XL)
- CoreLogic (Matrix)
- FBS Flexmls
- Rapattoni Corporation
- Stratus Data Systems
All of the included MLS systems received “good” or “excellent” ratings from more than 90 percent of their respondents; those with higher scores earned more “excellent” marks.
Among MLS vendors with fewer than 10 MLS accounts, Black Knight’s Paragon XL and Stratus Data Systems tied for first place in end-user satisfaction.
Stratus has three MLS accounts representing 82,000 subscribers total. Black Knight has 213 MLS accounts representing 292,435 subscribers, but only three of those MLSs (representing 10,535 subscribers) use Paragon XL. The rest use the company’s flagship product, Paragon.
Paragon scored highest in end-user satisfaction among systems used by more than 10 MLSs, followed closely by FBS’s Flexmls, which 154 MLSs representing 202,000 subscribers use. Paragon and FBS also tied for first place in both end-user satisfaction and staff satisfaction among systems with more than 10 MLS clients.
“Respondents are looking for a wide array of enhancements, including improved user interface, statistics, and RETS [Real Estate Transaction Standard] tools,” the report said of Paragon.
“In terms of service, customers would like to see improved communication, faster system enhancements, and faster and less expensive quotes for custom enhancements.
“Customers appreciated the innovations this year, including Client Connect 2.0, mobile enhancements, Paragon 4 Brokers, and the enhanced power search.”
The bottom of the list
The most popular MLS system nationwide, CoreLogic’s Matrix, ranked toward the bottom among the included MLSs, though it made the greatest gains in satisfaction among its peers. Ninety-three MLSs representing 629,194 subscribers use Matrix — more subscribers than use Stratus, FBS and Black Knight systems combined.
“The area that requires the most improvement is ‘Vendor responsiveness to system change and new feature requests,’ currently rated 21 percent ‘Fair,'” the report said of Matrix.
“Some customers would like to see an enhanced user interface and the ability for end-users to customize views and reports.”
Survey respondents reported the least satisfaction among end-users of Rapattoni MLS, which is used by 92 MLSs representing 110,000 subscribers.
“Respondents indicated a desire to see a UI [user interface] update as well as the capability for MLS staff to make system modifications and improved mobile, reporting, and public search (IDX),” the report said of Rapattoni.
“Respondents would like to see any glitches fixed faster and better communication. Customers really appreciated the switch to Google maps this past year.”
More respondents said end-user satisfaction had increased this year versus last year (42 percent) compared to those that said it had decreased (6 percent). But the report noted that 19 percent of MLSs did not know whether satisfaction had changed.
“It is concerning that some MLSs are not benchmarking satisfaction annually and could not answer this question — in Clareity’s view, benchmarking is an MLS core practice and should ideally be part of an MLS ‘core standard,'” the report said.
The survey asked MLS execs: “If you could do it over again, would you select this MLS system again today?” Among the respondents using systems with fewer than 10 MLS accounts, none said they would “not likely” or “definitely not” select the same system.
The report indicated that such companies operate with the advantage of juggling and satisfying fewer customers.
“[DynaConnections’] connectMLS has the great benefit of only having two installations, which means that if it devotes resources to keeping those two installations happy, they get 100 percent positive satisfaction in most survey categories — just as Black Knight’s Paragon XL and Stratus MLS platforms have historically,” the report said.
By contrast, the other companies have dozens of MLS customers to cater to. Among those, FBS’s Flexmls fared best with only 2 percent of its customer respondents indicating they wouldn’t choose the system again. The report noted that this was “not surprising” given its recent press release touting a less than 1 percent client attrition rate and a doubling of its subscriber count from four years ago.
Rapattoni prompted the most regrets among its MLS customer respondents. Just under a fifth indicated they would not choose the system again.
Echoing other complaints, one respondent said, “Most prominently, Rapattoni has been about two years behind in developing a functional mobile product. That was the primary trigger that has pushed us away from Rapattoni and into a new vendor system.”
Those that didn’t make an appearance
According to Clareity, a few additional MLS systems did not have enough responses to be included in the report, and a vendor’s absence from the report does not indicate a negative opinion of the vendor.
It is notable, however, that the three MLS systems that ranked worst in last year’s survey did not appear in this year’s report:
- CoreLogic (InnoVia)
- CoreLogic (Fusion)
- ListCENTRAL Inc.
For detailed breakdowns of rankings and survey respondents’ comments by MLS system, see the full report.