For too long now, too many real estate agents have avoided the question of who owns customer data.
It’s time for that to change.
It seems that agents have no problem protecting data that’s locked in their trust accounting software but everything outside that is left to chance.
If that sounds like you it’s time to answer the following questions.
- Who owns the customer data collected in the sales admin process after a sales reps sells a house to a close friend or relative?
- What about when they sell a house to a Facebook friend? Will you allow them to remain Facebook friends or LinkedIn connections after they leave?
- Is every contact the sales rep enters into the company CRM now company property? If so, how will you account for the sales rep using their personal mobile phone, performing the action out of ‘normal’ working hours, and entering the data using their own computer and internet connection?
- Do you have any claims of ownership over work-related data and communications performed during work hours, using work equipment via Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter?
- Who owns the sales reps Outlook contacts that are stored on your server?
- Who owns the data that the sales rep brings to your agency on an Excel spreadsheet? Do you – or the rep for that matter – even have the right to use it under the Privacy Act?
- What happens when a sales rep adds a client or prospect on Facebook or LinkedIn? Can they still communicate with that client after they leave?
- Will you allow the sales rep to upload the Outlook contacts database to Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter so they can add their contacts as social connections?
Regardless of your answers to these questions, it’s important – no, make that essential – that these issues are addressed and made clear in your employment contract.
And once you’ve done that, make it clear that you mean what you say through training and through your actions.
For example, if your policy is that all customer data collected by the sales rep in the course of their employment is company property, don’t then allow them to import into your CRM system customer data that they’ve brought from their previous agency.
That just makes you a hypocrite and makes a mockery of your data policy.
Have I got you thinking? If so, share this post with your agent friends and tart a conversation that will make a difference.