Front Desk, a service developed by Propertybase, allows you to capture leads from several online real estate portals. However, there are still many portals that are not supported (yet!) where you may be a first time client, so where no mapping has been created yet. This article will explain the steps necessary connect to a new portal and start importing leads into your Propertybase account.
1. Send First Test Lead
First, you need to send a test lead to your unique Front Desk email address (not from your email account! continue reading).
Instructions for locating that unique Front Desk address (aka Front Desk Inbox Address) can be found here.
To send this test lead, update the main contact email (lead recipient address) on the portal's backend to your Front Desk address. Typically this is a setting in your portal account sometimes referred to as "Lead Recipient Email". Ask the portal if you do not know where to make the change (in rare cases they have to do this for you). Note: Front Desk MUST be the "To" recipient. CC or BCC will not work!
Then send a test lead by filling out the entire inquiry form on the portal website: Find one of your listings on that portal and fill in EVERY field on the form.
Note: You must fill out every single available inquiry field on the portal form.
By filling out every field on the form, you are sending the most data possible to Front Desk . This allows our Customer Support Team to identify and map every available portal field to existing fields in your Propertybase account. Alternatively, having missing fields will result in errors when a potential lead fills them out in the future.
When entering a test lead, make sure to use information that is easily identifiable as test data. See the table below for example entries:
|Form Field Name||Example Test Data|
By using entries like the examples above, you will help our Support Team immediately recognize the incoming lead as a test. You may need to do this multiple times on the same but also on different portals. Use new example text every time, most importantly, a new "client" email every time.
By using a different, unique test lead email address, you can force contact creation. If a email address is already in your database, Front Desk will skip to only inquiry creation for that message. You can simply number the email addresses to simplify e.g. FRONTDESK_TEST1@example.com, then FRONTDESK_TEST2@example.com and so on.
Note: You must update the main email address on the portal to your Front Desk address when sending the test lead. Simply forwarding a test lead email from a separate inbox to your Front Desk address will not work.
2. Contact Support
Once the test lead has been created, submit a new support request with the following information:
- Explain that you just created a test lead on a new portal.
- Include the name of the portal.
- Include your unique Front Desk email address
- and let us know the date&time you created the test message/filled the form&hit send
- Explain that you would like the test lead checked for parsing.
Once your request has been received, our Support Team will look for the test lead. Once found, they will identify whether or not a new parser needs to be created. If a parser already exists, the Support Team will configure your account to start receiving leads immediately. If a parser does not exist, our Support Team will notify you that one needs to be created, and provide a estimated time for completion.
If our Support Team needs to create a new parser for you, they may need you to send several additional test leads to test the parser is working correctly. If this is the case, make sure to change the "from" email address for the test lead each time. For example: FRONTDESK_TEST_2@example.com, FRONTDESK_TEST_3@example.com, FRONTDESK_TEST_4@example.com, etc.
3. Mapping Portal Fields
The final step in configuring a new portal integration is mapping external portal fields to their Propertybase counterparts. Standard fields like "first name", "last name", "phone", "bedrooms", etc. are easy to map. However, some fields are unique to your brokerage or may not exist in Propertybase. When this is the case, our Support Team will work with you to create necessary fields and map them correctly. This may take several back-and-forth correspondences between you and our Support Team. We will provide you with a mapping table that you can use to cross-check and inform us about amendments.
Notes on mapping fields
We have some more default fields and best practices that we will also try to populate right from the start:
Best practice: ask us to map it to both, contact AND inquiry (request). This will allow you to capture where re-inquiries of existing contacts come from. Note: there is not default field on inquiry for this. Please create one.
We normally use meta information to provide the lead source name. If you want something else, it will either have to be in the portal's message content or you need to use a process builder field update rule to change the value Front Desk hands over to your desired version.
You can use a hidden field named "Technical Source" to identify messages (contacts/inquiries) processed by Front Desk. The field is a text field that will be populated with "FrontDesk". The field is on contact and request named (search for "technical" on the objects fields & relationships)
If you don't find that field "Technical Source", simply add it to contact and inquiry (request), so the API name looks like this after creation:
Then let us know that you want us to map e.g. contact.TechnicalSourceSystem__c and request.TechnicalSourceSystem__c for you in FrontDesk.
You would use this e.g. in filtered list views or reports to find new leads created by FrontDesk.
Missing Information or Incorrect Field Mapping
If information is missing from leads or appearing in the wrong fields, this is most likely due to a change in the format that the portal sends to Front Desk. It could also be an issue with the Front Desk parser. If this is the case, please submit a new support request with the following information:
- The name of the contact in your Propertybase account
- The email of the contact in your Propertybase account
- The time and date that the lead was received
- The name of the portal that sent the lead
- Any error messages (if applicable)
Once the information above has been received, our Support Team will work to resolve the issue.
Portal Lead Source Naming not as desired
The lead source is defined and hard-coded in our backend. If you don't like it, you can set the value you'd prefer by updating the records on creation with a Process Builder field update on "Lead Source", e.g. with a formula like this:
(TEXT(LeadSource) = 'PortalName', 'My Custom Value',
(TEXT(LeadSource) = 'Zoopla.com', 'Zoopla',
(TEXT(LeadSource) = 'Immoscout24', 'IS24.de',
(TEXT(LeadSource) ='portal name', 'another value for it',
(TEXT(LeadSource)= 'Dubizzle', 'My local portals',
(TEXT(LeadSource)= 'tucasa.com', 'Tu Casa',
The formula above checks the picklist field for the first value and replaces it with the second.
"LeadSource" would be the lead source field you use (this example field is on contacts, your field on requests/inquiries will look different, perhaps Lead_Source__c). You need a line for each value you want to replace, not for the ones that can remain. The final line says "and in all other cases take what you have".
You can use this field update on pretty much every value you want to adjust (e.g. Listing/Request Type on Request/Inquiry).
Should you receive error notifications including the above string, read the error following it and resolve it. It means that you have a Validation Rule that is running disallowing the record to be saved or you made a field mandatory on the field level (i.e. directly in Fields & Relationships>Fieldname>"Required"). If you must use Validation Rules or make a field required, ensure to exclude the lead creating user (typically the admin) or make the field required on the Page Layout (page layout level).
You can find Validation Rule examples here: https://help.propertybase.com/hc/en-us/articles/115000302912-Validation-Example-Rules
There are some rules that already make use of an Admin Profile exclusion
Finding Newly Created Records
Please create a list view on Contact and/or Inquiry tabs filtering on "Technical Source" = FrontDesk. Add meaningful columns to the view so you see which data is populated upon creation (e.g. Routing Source, Lead Source, Email, Phone Numbers, Name, and so on) as well as "Created Date" (!). The latter will be the column you sort by to see the newest, most recently created records. Should you understand the filtering, add "Created Date" equals TODAY (or LAST 7 DAYS) to only see the most recent.
Using Multiple Portals
If you would like to setup more than one portal, start by sending a list to our Support Team. They will help you identify which are already available (if any) and work to formulate a plan for integrating each portal.
Forwarding Leads to Front Desk
We highly recommend against forwarding leads to Front Desk. When you forward an email, the underlying source text changes the format of the email (even if it appears visually the same.) Always setup your real estate portal to send leads directly to your Front Desk Inbox Address.
If you try "forwarding" you will likely hear from us that Front Desk cannot process the message.
Creating Linked Listing
Front Desk can also create a Linked Listing, linking the inquiry, the contact and the listing the lead requested from. This is only possible if the portal lead message also contains the unique reference number you have for the listing (aka MLS ID/Broker's Listing ID). If not present, the creation will be skipped. If you want Linked Listings to be created, please let Propertybase Support know to activate this service. You can have it turned off again any time you like.
Creating an Email Task containing the lead message
Front Desk can create a task, linked to the contact and if present to the inquiry. The Task contains the text-only version of the portal message. If you want Tasks to be created, please let Propertybase Support know to activate this service. You can have it turned off again any time you like.
Contacting Propertybase Support
Whenever you contact Propertybase Support, remember to grant them access to your Propertybase account. This makes resolving your request much easier.
Locating Your Front Desk Email Address
Once you have enabled Front Desk, your unique email address can be located at the bottom of the same activation page. Click here for more info.