Customer Service Centre lends a helping hand

If you’ve ever had a question about courses you need or the continuing education you wish to pursue in real estate, the Customer Service Centre at the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) is there to respond.

Providing excellent customer service to all members and students is the goal of the centre, no matter what the nature of the inquiry. In 2013, the centre received more than 190,000 calls. And despite the volume of calls, a survey of previous callers revealed a customer satisfaction rate of 94 per cent.

“Helping our students and members is what the Customer Service Centre is all about,” says OREA president Phil Dorner. “The feedback we’re getting from you, our members, is that our representatives on the phones are consistently professional and helpful, and that’s the level of service we’re aiming for. Our goal is to continue to provide the best service possible to all of our members and students, no matter where they are in the province.”

Providing excellent service also means providing convenient access to services.  With that in mind, the OREA Real Estate College has developed web-based tools that allow students to reschedule exams, enrol in courses and purchase study aids at any time that is convenient to them — 24 hours a day.  Students can access these features through their My Portfolio account.  Almost 50 per cent of exam rescheduling and course enrolments is now done online via web self-serve.

As for the calls, though, questions about everything from courses and exams to registration requirements, to assistance with My Portfolio, come in to the centre on a daily basis. The customer service representatives (CSRs) who handle the calls are well equipped to answer questions and help people navigate the learning path throughout their real estate carers. Along with the CSRs, an instructor is also on hand to answer telephone inquiries about course content.

The CSRs make notes on each call they receive, and records are logged in a central database. The length of each call varies, depending on complexity. Calls from new students may take longer to process because an account must be set up and the staff member takes time to explain how the College works and answers the student’s questions. Once people are in the system, their files can be accessed more quickly and questions can usually be answered quite promptly.

In addition to responding to incoming calls, the customer service department has added an outbound unit focussed on outreach to new and prospective students in a pro-active way. Recognizing that new applicants and students have unique needs, this team provides guidance by phone and in person to students, as needed.

Surveys of members, students and potential students are compiled on a quarterly basis by the OREA Research Unit. Of those surveyed most recently, 94 per cent said they were satisfied with the service they received from the centre. Moreover, 91 per cent said they felt the centre was committed to service excellence and 89 per cent felt the service was easy to access. One significant improvement over the previous year was that 96 per cent said the wait time for service was acceptable, up from 88 per cent the year earlier, an 8 percentage point increase over 2012. The telephone surveys are based on a randomly selected group of people who previously called the centre. The results of the survey are based on a sample size of 325 per quarter, and are estimated to be statistically accurate within a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points at the 95 per cent confidence level.

Here’s a snapshot of some of the survey feedback, a testament to the high level of customer service that the OREA Real Estate College delivers.

94 per cent found the service easy to understand and thorough in verifying identity
92 per cent found the representatives careful in listening
91 per cent found them to be knowledgeable
91 per cent found them professional
91 per cent found them responsive
90 per cent found them willing to assist
89 per cent found them friendly
88 per cent found them able to assist with questions

A training period of six weeks ensures that CSRs are knowledgeable on call topics before they ever pick up the phone. They learn about current programs and standards at the OREA Real Estate College as well as about OREA procedures. Ongoing refresher training and professional development for staff ensures that CSRs remain current on all aspects of the college.

If you have a question, contact the OREA Real Estate College Customer Service Centre at 1-866-411-6732 from Monday through Friday, between 8:30 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.

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Customer Service Centre lends a helping hand