RealtyNinja knows a thing or two about the value of simplifying something that’s complicated. They’ve been in the business of simplifying website building for Canadian real estate agents for over a decade.
“RealtyNinja, in a nutshell, is a website building platform for real estate agents in Canada. What makes us different from Wix or Squarespace is that our platform is tied into all the MLS systems across Canada, meaning agents can do things like automate listings and do home searches — all the things a real estate agent would need on their site,” said Ramin Sabour, co-founder of RealtyNinja.
As a business, they always strived to simplify things for their customers, but early on their own support operations were a bit of a mess. “We had a bunch of different email accounts and were sharing logins and passwords just to be able to respond to customers,” said Sabour.
For a time – when the team was just a few people – that approach worked. But eventually, things caught up with them: “Sometimes a customer would respond to a different email address than they originally reached out to, and stuff would fall through the cracks. It was a nightmare,” said Sabour.
Initially, those little hiccups were easy enough to recover from, but as the team continued to grow, they became more of an issue — not only for customers but for staff, too. “Customers started to notice and were having to repeat themselves, which was frustrating for them and also didn’t let our staff be as productive as possible,” said Sabour.
RealtyNinja’s team was growing at a steady pace, and they knew they needed a solution that could grow with them. That’s when they found Help Scout.
The RealtyNinja team became Help Scout customers a little over eight years ago. “We were initially drawn to the shared inbox,” said Sabour. It allowed them to stop sharing passwords, and it opened up the possibility to collaborate on customer conversations through things like internal notes.
As RealtyNinja was growing, so were their support needs. Each time Help Scout added a new feature, RealtyNinja used it as an opportunity to consolidate and streamline their support operations to make them more scalable. One prime example is Beacon, Help Scout’s chat support tool.
“Before we had Beacon, we used a live chat tool, but in order to keep everything in one place, after the chat ended the agent would have to go offline and manually add the chat details as notes in a different system. It was very disconnected, ” said Sabour.
Since Help Scout is one integrated platform, that’s a thing of the past. If a customer reaches out over chat, that interaction is logged in their conversation history, making it easily reviewable in the future if the need presents itself.
For RealtyNinja, that was just the start.
Help Scout has replaced a bunch of different tools for us. For example, we used to have a Google Doc with answers to common questions so agents could respond quickly. Saved replies let us get rid of that," said Sabour.
They also utilize workflows to reduce manual tasks. “Customer requests get automatically tagged and assigned to a specific folder. There’s also a Slack notification,” said Sabour. Reducing manual work means the team has more time to focus on delivering quality support to their customers.
For example, they have a workflow for when an interaction gets a negative review so a manager can look at the case further, see what happened in that interaction, and follow up with the customer. Without workflows, those things could fall through the cracks and adversely affect a customer’s experience.
With the ever-increasing amount of competition in the market, the team at RealtyNinja knows just how important delivering a quality experience is. “We realize that the experience we deliver is our differentiator,” said Sabour.
In the years since becoming Help Scout customers, RealtyNinja has grown its customer base by over 300%. Having access to the right tools means they’re able to continually offer a great experience, even as they add more customers.
Part of RealtyNinja’s exceptional experience is their customer onboarding. Most of their users aren’t incredibly tech-savvy, so it’s important they make things as simple as possible. “We’re trying to make the scary thing (building a website) easy for our customers,” said Sabour.
They use a combination of Beacon and Messages at the start of the onboarding process. Messages prompt users to try out different features based on where they’re at, and Beacon offers the opportunity to get help right away if they need it.
“When someone first signs up for a trial, they’re in this kind of assisted onboarding environment. In that stage, we really encourage live interaction either through scheduling a call or chatting with us through Beacon. We even have it set to prompt them after they’ve been on the page for a certain amount of time,” said Sabour.
After they become a customer, they continue to offer support through a Beacon widget that offers live chat or allows them to search through help documentation if they prefer the self-service avenue. As they get more familiar with the product, those instances lessen.
They also use the Beacon widget to suggest different articles based on the page the customer is viewing. If they can’t find what they’re looking for, they’re able to submit a request to RealtyNinja’s support team.
It’s a scalable solution for us, and it teaches customers how to fish (metaphorically), instead of giving them a fish each time, which is good for everyone," said Sabour.
Being able to build out processes like these is just one of the ways that RealtyNinja found value in Help Scout over the years.
Efficiency and scalability aren’t just at the core of RealtyNinja’s customer service — it’s literally built into the DNA of the business as a whole. “We look at everything as a systems problem. It’s such a core aspect of our business,” said Sabour.
In the eight years they’ve been Help Scout customers, the RealtyNinja team has doubled in size. Scaling the team — and the business as a whole — necessitated having well-documented and repeatable procedures.
They have standard operating procedures (SOPs) for nearly every aspect of the business.
We figured out how to automate, document, and delegate a lot of the processes in the business….We have around 500 SOPs, and they’re all documented in Help Scout,'' said Sabour.
Previously, many of those SOPs weren’t easily accessible to others, but Help Scout’s Docs tool fixed that. “Help Scout was paramount in helping get all the processes locked in my brain, and our co-founder's brain, down in one centralized place,” said Sabour.
Along with all of those processes being documented, they’re also easy to find thanks to Docs organization and search features. The documentation not only serves as a way to keep things running smoothly, but it’s also a great learning resource for new team members. They’re able to learn at their own pace and are empowered to find answers on their own.
Having everything documented also allows them to easily review and iterate on processes they have in place. If they find something isn’t working, they can come up with a new solution and quickly update the resource so everyone stays on the same page. This makes life a lot easier for growing teams.
Moving the spirit of service forward together
Finding software solutions that can grow with you for the long term is pretty rare. Over the years, RealtyNinja has made the most of Help Scout, and we’re proud to be such an integral part of their business. “If you’re working at RealtyNinja, you have Help Scout open. It’s where we live,” said Sabour.
With a spirit for service and an unwavering commitment to creating an outstanding customer experience, we’re sure RealtyNinja will be around for many years to come, and we look forward to being along for the ride.