RISMedia's Real Estate Magazine

NOV 2018

Real Estate magazine is the industry's leading source for real estate news and information since 1980. Published monthly by RISMedia, Real Estate magazine offers timely and relevant real estate news to the industry's top brokers and agents.

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RISMedia's REAL ESTATE November 2018 51 A Challenging Development Process Made Easy In addition to being eager to take on a challenge, MAAR found that CRS Data took a humble, "no assumptions" approach to understanding their existing system and building out their new one. "They didn't assume they knew how our system worked," says Blakeney. "They went to Memphis and spent a lot of time just trying to understand what we had before trying to figure out how to convert it. They were very thoughtful in their process." That process yielded unexpected insights, as well. "You think if you work in a system, you know everything about it," says Jones. "Through their work with us, CRS Data was able to draw out things we didn't even know about our system through their level of detail. It really helped us have a better understanding of what we were trying to build." When it came time to transition to the new system, "there was a lot of technical effort that had to go into that, probably more than anyone would want to deal with," says Jones. "CRS Data has a fantastically talented staff that worked with that—engineers and software de - velopers who are able to take some pretty hard hits on the process and pull everything out of the fire to keep things on track." Unveiling the New System to MAAR Members If your organization has been through a system transi- tion before, you know that the most difficult part often isn't the development process, but rather, getting your members to adopt and adapt to the new system. Fortu - nately for MAAR, with a team approach, this process was relatively painless. "Anybody who's been through an MLS conversion as - sumes there will be a portion of the membership who will be frustrated because the new system is different," says Blakeney. "But CRS Data was able to customize the system in such a way that when our members looked at it, it seemed almost familiar to them—so we didn't have a huge learning curve, and the acceptance was really very high." To make the transition easier on their members, MAAR ran the tax systems in tandem during a training period that lasted several weeks. The association also went all out on communications, notifying and educating their members about the switch across multiple channels. Key to helping their members transition to the new system was the in-person training sessions led by CRS Data. The company sent trainers to Memphis to help members adjust before and during the changeover. "As our members began to explore, they noticed that this product offers so much more than the old system, and they really became excited about it," says Blakeney. As with any new system, there are always kinks to work out. CRS Data helped MAAR create a system to identify issues and make timely updates. The Ongoing Customer Experience Today, MAAR's new tax system is up and running smooth- ly, thanks in large part to CRS Data's ongoing—and ex- cellent—customer service. "CRS Data has some of the coolest customer service people around," says Jones. "They do an excellent job of follow-up and keep a close watch on us." MAAR reports that their new system has had excellent up-time and has done a great job of keeping their robust property data current. In addition, their members have enjoyed access to features like: • The ability to create CMAs that cover all area trans - actions, not just those that have run through the MLS • A Market Conditions Report using MAAR's custom report format • The ability to narrow down comparables by drawing shapes on a map, a feature that MAAR reports has been praised by the system's heaviest users • Map data layers, including flood zones The system transition and ongoing customer experi - ence that CRS Data offers have gone so well that MAAR upended a year-end tradition. "Usually vendors send goodies and treats to their customer," says Blakeney. "We actually send cookies to them." A Team Approach So what set CRS Data apart from the competition throughout the entire process? According to Blakeney, "They were very interested in getting it right, and offered implementation schedules, weekly phone calls and ex - cellent project management." For Jones, it was CRS Data's technical competence that stood out. "I was impressed by their technical ability, and our access to that ability was a lot higher than what I have experienced with other vendors. Throughout the experience, I really felt like they had an intuitive under - standing of what we were trying to accomplish. It really felt like we were working together toward a shared goal; it wasn't just us trying to tell them what to build. "They're good people," concludes Jones. "They're re - ally up front with us and excited about doing business with us. RE Take a moment to visit CRS Data during the 2018 REALTORS® Conference & Expo at booth No. 852. Want to learn more about CRS Data? Visit their website at CRSData.com.

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