The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated RE/MAX’s technology transformation, spurring consumer adoption of its mobile app and websites, Nick Bailey, the franchisor’s chief customer officer, told investors Friday morning during the company’s second-quarter earnings call.
Beside increased use of the mobile app and RE/MAX websites, the second phase of it technology platform, launched in February 2020, experienced a 90 percent increase in users while agents and teams created more than 5,000 new websites in the second quarter, Bailey told investors.
Approximately one-third of agents in company-owned regions have a live published website, Bailey added.
“We pivoted from a company launching products to one that is moving towards creating the very best agent consumer digital experience possible,” Bailey said.
The company also saw major traffic increases to those websites — similar to the spike seen by real estate portals — which in turn generated more leads for RE/MAX agents. Leads increased by 33 percent year over year in May and 80 percent year over year in June, Bailey said.
“Our enhanced web presence and mobile app usage, in addition to our enhanced RE/MAX.com experience, are beginning to drive business to our network of highly productive agents,” Bailey said. “We are excited about the increased uptake of the platform and its functionality.”
RE/MAX saw users increasingly taking advantage of the company’s booj-powered customer relationship management tool (CRM) and transaction management software, even as the headwinds of COVID-19 lessened and agents become busier.
As the pandemic worsened in April, the company began offering agents a free, three-month trial of its First app, a machine learning-powered platform it acquired in December that helps inform agents of the best time to reach out to existing clients in their sphere.
Bailey said the key now is converting agents to becoming paid users of the tool, which he believes can have a huge impact on their businesses.
“It is a potentially career-changing tool for an ambitious agent and we continue to hear very positive feedback from our network in how it has resulted in additional business for them,” Bailey said.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic emphasizing the need for agent technology — as many looked to work more digitally in an era of social distancing — it also underscored the importance of real estate agents, Bailey said on the call.
“Of the many conclusions we can draw from recent events, I think the one that’s most transparent is that the real estate agent remains the most important part of the transaction and will continue to be for a long time to come,” Bailey said.
“Buying and selling a home is a massive, complicated undertaking and importantly consumers and millennials, in particular, are increasingly using agents as they want a professional advisor to offer guidance and explain options and validate their decisions,” Bailey added. “This is especially true during challenging times like these when clarity can be elusive.”