Get the Results of the Recent 2018 CCIMLS Member Survey
June 28, 2018 CEO's Take Ryan Castle
As a membership-based organization, our staff, board of directors, and committees work really hard to make informed decisions on your behalf. Getting feedback on what we can do to improve is vitally important. I want to thank everyone that took the recent CCIMLS member survey and provided valuable feedback that we can take into account as we work to improve the Cape Cod & Islands Multiple Listing Service.
First, it’s clear that there still needs to be some education as to what a Multiple Listing Service does. Some of the feedback in the answers were regarding services from the Cape Cod & Islands Association of REALTORS® provides, not the MLS. Each organization has its own set of members and its own value proposition. For example, some of the respondents gave input on continuing education programming, which is a function of the Association of REALTORS®. We’ll work to continue to show the distinct value propositions of each organization.
As to the nuts and bolts of the survey results, here are what i see as the key takeaways. Disagree? Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to have a discussion:
–MLS Director Marcia Stirling and her entire team do a great job of satisfying members needs on customer service. More than 65% of the respondents rated our customer service as ‘Above Average,’ or ‘Excellent. Less than 3% rated our customer service as ‘Below Average’ or ‘Poor.’
I attribute this to the fantastic staff we have assembled, but also our constant improvement of technology to help manage customer service. We have instituted an email ticketing solution, internal communication technologies for faster collaboration, and are continuing to roll out some new customer service initiatives such as the ability to remote in to your computer to help assess your problems. We can also see that the visits to our new Help Center continue to grow each month.
The Listing Software, FlexMLS
Exactly 2/3rds of the respondents rated our listing software FlexMLS as Average, Above Average, or Exceptional. Respondents have diverse views on it, which is typical with all listing software across different MLS products. That’s why the concept of front-end of choice (providing multiple listing softwares; all out of the same common database) is gaining such momentum around the country.
Our MLS Business Plan calls for us to continue to explore the ability to offer multiple listing softwares, but we also have to balance that need with being able to offer customer support on all software we offer.
The Rest of the Tools
There seems to be satisfaction with the array of tools we offer. All have a supermajority as rated Average or above for those that use them and there does not seem to be any widespread dislike of any of them.
However, we can always improve usage numbers, and making our members aware of the benefits of many of our other tools and how to use them through training, promotion, and outreach continues to be our objective.
New Tools and How to Pay for Them
The desire for new tools was pretty equally split across the board with no real consensus. However, more than 60% of respondents say that they do not want to pay for more new tools. That means any new tools we add should not be fee site-licensed, which means we buy for everyone.
Instead, we would be looking at those with "freemium" options where the base level is free, and the company makes money through paid upgrades within the system. Another alternative is to create different levels of membership and those who want to pay for extra and upgraded tools do so through a ‘premium’ level membership or something of that kind.
The three products where we will probably focus our immediate time are the ones that got the most support: An interactive market statistics program, an alternative MLS listing search and portal software (a ‘front-end of choice’), and listing appointment management software – all products that received between 27% and 35% support.
Value for MLS Fees Paid
CCIMLS fees are $81 per quarter, which equal $27 per month; slightly below the national average for fees for an MLS, and the numbers bear it out in terms of satisfaction. More than 43% of our members find our value for fees paid average, while another 30% say it is either ‘Above Average’ or ‘Excellent.’ Ultimately, $27 per month to have access to listings with a unilateral offer of compensation, the data integrity and validation work on those listings, and the promotion that comes with the power of the multiple listing service – makes an MLS the best return on an investment a real estate broker or agents makes for their business and it’s always refreshing to see when members recognize this.
Multiple MLS Pain Points
For those that choose to be members of multiple MLSs (and it is a choice whether the agent makes it or the brokerage makes it), the biggest pain point still exists is multiple listing entry and maintenance. This is a solution CCIMLS attempted to solve three years ago without any interest from MLS PIN (the primary MLS that members are joint members of). Creating a single point of entry and making data distributable to multiple MLSs is not an easy thing to accomplish.
There are many business rules that need to be overcome, such as ensuring that a required field in each MLS is noted, so that the agent can not submit a listing without that required field submitted, synchronizing data field options, to create common choices; and authentication so that each MLS system knows if the listing agent is a member of that MLS in order to bring their listing into the field.
There are technologies such as Bridge Listing Update and Upstream that are attempting to solve the problem. They are not yet to the marketplace in full force and when they do come, they will be products that brokers can buy. We stand ready to facilitate and help brokers implement any listing update product they want to implement in their business.