Regina Taylor championed the creation of Concierge Services, an Internet-based system that helps home buyers manage related parts of the process, from furnishing to landscaping.
Senior vice president of marketing
Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corp.
Parsippany, New Jersey
FROM REGINA'S ORIGINAL ENTRY:
What is the big idea?
People buying or selling a home have a great deal to manage. Arranging for financing, utilities and home renovation are tasks that are made tougher by trying to pick nationally trusted companies or find local help. Regina Taylor, senior vice president of marketing at Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corporation created a program called Concierge Services. Through the Concierge program consumers can arrange for most anything they need online or through their real estate office. Supported by proprietary internet-based software created under Taylor's watch, Concierge representatives could also manage and coordinate their vendor database and their customers' servicing needs and calendars. The Concierge program was the first of its kind in the real estate industry. The program was also designed so that the service could be provided after the sale creating customers for life and potential new revenue streams for the offices. Taylor's vision made Coldwell Banker the model of what other real estate companies would attempt to offer in ancillary services. Coldwell Banker is also the only national real estate organization to have a Concierge program offered through 80% of its franchised network—a feat in itself since its franchisees are independently owned and operated and have a choice as to whether or not they implement the brand's programs.
What was your creative spark?
The parent company of Coldwell Banker negotiates national partnerships with related companies. This allows franchisees a value added network to grow their business. Realizing the potential of bundling these programs, Taylor petitioned to have the alliances fall under her area. This was granted and simultaneously, Taylor researched the efforts of a local broker who had experimented with centralized local services. Taylor knew that people relocate an average of 7-10 times in their lifetime and 80 percent of homeowners make major home improvements within their first year of moving. It quickly became apparent that Taylor could promote alliances and answer a real need in the marketplace by building the first-ever national Concierge program.
Why is the idea so compelling?
Market research has proven that real estate is a category where this no brand differentiation and commissions are eroding. Concierge provides both a competitive edge and a business solution. Customers face a complex and emotional transaction. Finding the right service providers is time consuming and worrisome. Taylor knew that for every dollar spent on home purchases, another 20 to 50 cents was spent on things like furnishings and landscaping, but no one had found a way to combine services into a one stop shopping experience. Concierge Services hit on number of factors. People were relying on the Internet more for real estate information and people were really looking for a partner in their agent or broker.
How or why did the idea spread?
Ultimately Taylor needed buy-in from affiliates to make it work. She put together an extensive educational series to demonstrate to local offices how they could build relationships with their clients by helping them with the Concierge program and see new revenues. Demographics had an impact. The number of women in the workforce is still growing and fewer two-income families have time to coordinate all the things involved in buying or selling a home. More than 38,000 vendors participate in the Concierge program covering 234 service categories and more than 100,000 consumers been served over the past three years—a model that other real estate companies have adopted to try and keep up with the times.