Got a question via email from a REALTOR …

Got a question via email from a REALTOR today: “Do you have an opinion on using live chat for a website?
any recommendations?”

Personally, I don’t have an opinion. I tried a bunch of options a few years ago on RCG, but never saw much activity. Jim Duncan has said good things (and not so good things) about Meebo in the past, but I’m not sure any of the chat options are particularly effective.

Your thoughts? Is there a good chat option for real estate websites?

13 responses

  1. I think that chat on a RE website is sweet IF…
    1. There is someone there to handle the chat
    2. They know what the hell they are talking about
    3. See #1 and #2 above.

    I personally LOVE chat on site where I’m buying things but they have to know their stuff. If they don’t and they’re not helpful – #fail

  2. It’s a good idea if you have someone that is able to man it. Or set specific hours. But if you put something like that out there to the world, you better be able to follow through.

    Knowing MOST agents aren’t sitting around during office hours, it may just be a waste of space.

  3. Great insight guys… I agree that unless someone is willing to “man the booth” there really is not point to a chat site… but even if someone is around, I doubt there’s much chat activity on the typical agent’s website, no?

    1. It would be way more fun to connect the live chat to a mobile device and transmit it via text messages. That way any agent can stay connected with potential clients on their website…

      1. yeah… I think texting is definitely a more compelling option for most agents than a chat box anyway, and if it was built into a chat box (twitter-style!), why not? I like it!

  4. Here’s a thought…

    Is it possible to make any of the chat apps “completely” disappear when you’re not available? That might deal with the “not around” issue. I hate the idea of a big widget on a website that says “I’m not available right now” most of the time, but if the widget completely disappeared when you weren’t available, that would be more compelling.

  5. Years ago, I participated in a “Virtual Open House”. The idea was simple, we created a landing page for the listing in question and between the Agent and myself, we answered questions via live-chat using meebo (or something similar). I had 8-9 chats running and the agent had just about the same.

    How many actual qualified leads did we get? I didn’t get any (bad credit mostly). As for the agent? I don’t quite remember. I think it worked well because of the promotion and the fact that we set specific hours for the chat.

    1. ohh… interesting observation and a great use of chat. I agree that chat works pretty darn well when combined with an online “event” (hell, that’s the premise behind spinnio!).

  6. Dustin, will let you know soon. We will be implementing a centralized chat platform across our brokerage site in the next few months. I think there is enough opportunity to take a good stab at it, if we can do a good job with it will differentiate the experience on our site and we also think may be value in qualifying leads, capturing mortgage business etc vs a flat inquiry form. time will tell….

  7. will let you know, am implementing a centralized chat program on our brokerage website in a few months. I think there is enough upside potential to make a good stab at it, as a differentiation point and for higher capture reates, mortgage inquiries, etc

    1. very cool! I would think there’s some interesting lead distribution issues with this approach…

  8. Meebo just launched their FREE iPhone app. I would look into something like that if I was going to add chat to a site…

    1. I did see some buzz about that and it looks pretty slick. For others, here’s some more background:

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