4 Ways the Zapier Automation Tool Makes Daily Tasks Easier
A look at how one brokerage is using the online tool Zapier to automatically connect apps and software.
Handling leads from home buyers and sellers, renters, investors and prospective property management clients used to be extremely time consuming for Lithia-based Eaton Realty.
The brokerage typically receives 600 leads from various sources on any given month, says Shawn Eaton, director of operations.
“I take care of all the behind-the-scenes tasks, from IT to marketing and operations—things that don’t have a home tend to end up on my desk—but manually dealing with that volume of leads is just not possible,” he explains.
The brokerage was an early adopter of an integration platform called Zapier (rhymes with happier), which lets users automatically connect their business, productivity and social media apps and seamlessly move data between them—without any coding knowledge.
Workflows that connect the apps are called Zaps. Once Eaton sets up a Zap, Zapier watches out for events. These are called triggers.
“Zapier allows us to connect our lead distribution that we developed in-house to all of our various lead sources,” Eaton says. “So, as a lead comes in from, say Apartments.com or Zillow, it becomes a trigger event and flows through Zapier and into our on-site network where we parse out leads and distribute them internally to our agents for follow-up.”
The brokerage’s lead generation platform is also integrated with their email app, so they receive an email every time a new lead comes in.
Here are additional ways Eaton Realty uses Zapier:
1. Automate repetitive tasks
Eaton can connect two or more disparate apps to automate repetitive tasks instead of doing everything manually via each individual app.
Although most Zap, or workflows, run when a trigger event occurs in an app (such as when a lead comes in) they can also set up Zaps to run at specific intervals.
Using the built-in Schedule by Zapier feature of the platform, they can schedule triggers to happen by the hour, day, week or month. In a matter of minutes, Zapier allows them to automatically send info between Schedule by Zapier and Slack.
2. Gauge customer satisfaction
To learn how clients and customers view their experience with Eaton Realty, the company sends out post-transaction surveys through a cloud-based software called SurveyMonkey.
Zapier’s integration lets them automate the process by connecting SurveyMonkey with their email app. The connection or “Zap” automatically sends an email to the company whenever the “trigger” event (i.e., survey response) is received.
“This adds immediacy to the survey process,” Eaton says. “Getting [timely] feedback from our customers has proven helpful especially when considering the alternative of waiting to collect this data over a long period of time.”
If there’s an issue, it’s advantageous to find out as soon as possible so the matter can be resolved promptly.
3. Team collaboration
Eaton Realty also does a lot of property management and uses Slack team communication software to keep staff informed on what’s happening with rental properties under their management.
To eliminate extra steps and save time, they use Zapier to connect Slack to their email app.
“Zapier watches for rental application notifications [that come into] Gmail, and posts alerts for us in Slack,” Eaton says. “So, if someone wants to rent a house and fills out an application, Zapier sends a notification in Slack to notify the team immediately.”
They can also schedule triggers to get daily, weekly and monthly reminders in Slack.
Agents also occasionally use MyFax online faxing to send and receive faxes from their phone, computer or tablet.
Zapier lets Eaton automate the process by integrating three apps: MyFax, Slack and Dropbox.
“When a fax is received, it comes in via Gmail and then Zapier transfers it to a Dropbox folder so that it’s available to all of our agents,” he says. “It also posts a notification in Slack that a new fax has been received.”
4. Create and share spreadsheets
Zapier also allows Eaton Realty to instantly connect the Google Sheets online spreadsheet app with other apps so they can create, edit and share data, and get automated insights from it.
“We can set up a form in Google Sheets that collects data from someone and Zapier watches for new form entries or submissions,” Eaton says. “That can be a trigger to perform an action.”
For example, they can connect Google Sheets and the Twilio messaging app and create a Zap that sends a text message notification to specific recipients whenever there’s a new form submission. “You can integrate different [parameters] as to who should receive a message or an email.”
Eaton finds Zapier easy to use. “We use but a fraction of its capability, but it has certainly allowed us to gain a lot of efficiencies and do more with fewer human resources.”
Leslie C. Stone is a Vero Beach-based freelance writer.