Reflections on 2018 and Cheers to 2019 and Beyond!
Around the Holiday season and as the calendar year draws to a close, time is naturally spent looking back at what we’ve accomplished, thinking about and planning for what we’ll do in the year(s) ahead. In that natural, annual process, there’s no shortage of reflection (and gratitude) shared between us here at FBS. During phone calls, on various Slack channels and in emails, it’s both refreshing and unique to hear so many employee-owners from different departments and geographic locations proactively share their unique findings, musings, and experiences. While these conversations often include numbers or cool growth comparisons, much of our internal reflection reaches beyond the numbers into things we’ve done to make a positive impact and add value for MLS client-partners, real estate professionals, developers, the communities around us and the industry.
With input from the FBS Executive team, I’ll shed some light on a few 2018 standouts. For the sake of blogging brevity (and this is still going to be a long one!), I’m touching on only a few of so many wonderful things. While it was challenging to edit, I hope this provides a decent snippet of our 2018.
As so many of our client partners and software subscribers will gladly tell you themselves, FBS Support is an incredibly awesome team. We’re talking a 4.7 (out of 5) customer satisfaction rating and an NPS score of 83 for the year (amidst increasing the supported-subscriber-base by +15%). For software companies, both of those scores are rare air. Seriously. That kind of public affirmation doesn’t come without consistent focus and the unwavering commitment of many, starting with Kelly Prichard, VP of Support, who will celebrate his 22nd anniversary at FBS in 2019. While the skilled team that answers more than 75% of incoming calls with sub-30 second hold time includes a wide range of tenure, the top 5 tenured Support staff members (Kelly included) collectively represent 100+ years of experience. That’s not a typo. Just imagine the incredible knowledge and experience they bring to the table! Our Support Team represents so much of our success and, the overall satisfaction of our software subscribers!
And about the software subscribers: In 2018, we were thrilled to welcome a number of new MLS clients to FBS and the Flexmls System elevating our total Flexmls subscriber count to +240,000. Within our new client portfolio, we welcomed El Paso Association of Realtors (EPAOR) and Maine Listings, both previously with Core Logic’s Matrix System. The work transpired and accomplished between new Flexmls client partners in conjunction with every single team within FBS to ensure a positive conversion experience is truly noteworthy. We’re so very grateful for the partnerships started in 2018 and look forward to building the kind of trusting and long-term relationships we treasure so much with our existing client-partners.
Speaking of trust, our Product Team, led by VP Char Gust has accomplished countless valuable contributions that impact software subscribers and MLS/Association client-partners alike this year. A major 2018 focus for the team was working closely with real estate professionals nationwide to gain a deep, intimate understanding of their workflow, business challenges, software needs and more. Gathering timely, detailed user insight helps us create and deliver software that solves real problems and delivers strong value. In 2018, the team completed +45 user research activities including Advisory Board meetings, user surveys, usability studies, field studies, user interviews, and customer visits.
From a technology perspective, we’re excited about the significant positive impact that can be derived from The Spark Datamart which we recently launched internally and are continuing to build and nurture. We’re confident that the Datamart will be a focal point in 2019 and look forward to sharing more exciting success stories as we progress on that front.
That brings me to Spring. As you may recall, we acquired Spring in December of 2017 with a powerful industry vision. Much work has been done along the journey to that vision, most notably, launching Spring MLS (on the Spark API) live in a number of markets including Aspen Glenwood Springs MLS and Bismark Mandan BOR and contracting with many other MLSs for upcoming launches. Ad revenue from Spring portals is up 147% over last year which is causing some to go cash flow positive, a great perk for many customers. In 2019, we’ll bring Spring IDX portals for Brokers and Agents to market. Most poignant, however, is simply bringing Spring to life, from a concept to a reality. As VP Portals Matt Fowler (formerly Spring CEO), expressed, “2018 is the year that Spring Portal grew up and Spring IDX was born. The year that Spark saw it’s deepest integration (so far). The year I stopped using metaphors to describe APIs because I could finally show it for real with Spring on Spark”. Pretty awesome!
As a company of employee-owners, the strong foundation we’ve built together is and always has been focused on creating long-term value and success through innovating meaningful technology and software, delivering personal and professional service and, providing integrity-based leadership to the industry and to the communities we serve. This year was very special as we celebrated our 40th anniversary. We were proud to dedicate resources to support and further advance the important missions and priorities of both RESO and CMLS. We were also honored put heads, hands, hearts, and financial resources together to provide much-needed support and assistance to many local communities that we live in and serve through our MLS client-partners, contributing more than we ever have before to countless non-profit organizations.
In closing, we’re ever grateful for the last forty years and take with us the benevolent power of wisdom, lessons learned and friendships forged into the next era. Thank you to all of our friends, client partners and industry associates for another great year on the journey and cheers to many more that lie ahead!