Magazine article CRM Magazine

A Community in Crisis: A Specialist in Real Estate Information Tries to Push Its Properties amid a Sea of Foreclosures

Magazine article CRM Magazine

A Community in Crisis: A Specialist in Real Estate Information Tries to Push Its Properties amid a Sea of Foreclosures

Article excerpt

With a database of more than 23 million records compiled from more than 1,200 federal, state, local, tribal, and proprietary databases, Environmental Data Resources (EDR) is the world's largest repository of environmental information. But what good is maintaining such a vast amount of information if no one demands it?

In 2008, EDR unexpectedly found itself needing that answer. The company's success had been built on the real estate market's need for environmenal land-use information, so the housing-market crash was nothing short of catastrophic. After watching its business fall off by a precipitous 70 percent, the company decided to increase its focus on superior customer service and on ensuring that its information was the most-accurate and up-to-date available.

"We focused our energies on helping companies that were letting staff go and companies struggling to keep doors open," says Mike Wallace, vice president of social media at EDR. "We wanted to give them a place to go to network, find answers to difficult questions, find jobs, look for help if they got some additional business, [and where] they could get advice."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

In June of 2009, as part of its initiative, EDR implemented RightNow Technologies' then-new CX solution, geared toward creating positive customer experiences across three engagement points--the Web, social media, and the contact center. And EDR's not alone in its use of the platform; nearly 2,000 companies are on CX, including drugstore.com and iRobot.com--both past winners of CRM magazine Service Elite Awards.

EDR used CX to launch "common-ground"--an online community for those conducting property due diligence. The company promotes the site as a "global social network for environmental and property due diligence professionals, including lenders, attorneys, health and safety, insurance providers, appraisers, state and local government, industry leaders, and market experts."

"We will [send EDR custom reports] on a weekly basis," says John Kembel, vice president of social solutions at Right-Now. "How you measure success for support versus how you measure success for loyalty is different. [EDR] is leaning on both, and has been tending strongly to the loyalty side. Repeat visits, Google indexing--those are loyalty metrics that we'll often provide."

In the 10 months since the launch of commonground, the numbers for EDR have been encouraging. …

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