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What REALTORS® Can Learn from USAA.com

August 10 2012

If you think of the "best" website you visit – what site do you think of? The answer is easy for me. I think of USAA.com. Although the USAA site is focused on financial services (not real estate), I believe there's quite a bit that REALTORS® could learn from USAA – online and offline.

Who is USAA?

USAA offers insurance, banking, investments, retirement solutions and advice to more than 8 million active duty military members, veterans who have honorably served, and their families. Twenty-five Army officers founded USAA in 1922 to insure each other's automobiles.

Approach Your Website as a Consumer

It is obvious that the designers of USAA.com approached their task by adopting the perspective of a consumer. You can see this in the details, things like:

  • The exceptionally easy navigation. The text they've used for the different navigation elements make it simple to figure out which option to choose. For instance, from within a summary of accounts, you select the drop-down menu under "I want to" and choose the appropriate action.
    usaa 1
  • The clean design. Please don't overwhelm me with too many design elements or navigation options. USAA doesn't do this. They keep the design clean and simple, making it incredibly easy and inviting to use.
  • The options for personalization. For example, the ability to give bank accounts nicknames. Instead of the meaningless account numbers, our accounts show up on our online banking home page as "Emily Checking," "Emily Savings," "Sam's Credit Card," etc.
  • The human element. When I visit USAA.com, I don't feel like I'm interacting with a machine; there's a definite warmth and humanity. For instance, the other day I logged-on and spotted a little survey. It was in an inconspicuous place so it wouldn't have gotten in the way if I was hurrying, but since I had the time, I checked it out. Here's the survey:
    usaa 2

Be Accessible

Now, all this awesomeness wouldn't mean a thing if the experience was different when the interaction jumped off the Web. After all, you don't want consumers to browse your website and then never reach out to you! You want them to call you and ask for your assistance in buying or selling a home. And when they do, it's imperative that you live up to the promise of your website.

USAA is a great example of this. I have NEVER had difficulty getting a real person on the phone. I have never been put on hold for more than 30 seconds (yes, I timed it). Every person I spoke to was friendly and knowledgeable.

By creating a seamless online and offline experience, with consistent customer service, USAA has earned my respect and my loyalty. Isn't this what every real estate agent hopes for in their own business?

Share Your Thoughts!

Do any of you bank with USAA? If so, do you enjoy their website and customer service as much as I do?