Set Down the IPhone and Be Human

“Building Great Relationships.” Its not just TRI Commericial’s tagline, it’s an expression of our business plan. As we embrace the many technological advances in our world today, we still strive to be as “human” as possible with every client. It is just what’s required in our industry’s services. This article says it all.

By Rick Gersten, founder and CEO of Urban Igloo


We need to be as interactive with our clients as we are with our devices, says Gersten.

WASHINGTON, DC—I rely on my Uber app, but it’s the driver who gets me where I’m going. brought my friend an introduction, but there wasn’t a true connection until she went on the date. And while Siri is helpful, it’s no substitute for a personal assistant.

Technology helps us save time—both in our personal and professional worlds. It’s important to remember, though, that our industry’s services and expertise are best delivered when we come out from behind our keyboards and meet in person. We need to be as interactive with our clients as we are with our devices.

I won’t argue that a great deal of preliminary work can—and often should—be done online. A renter who’s taken some time to explore their options in general can begin a more meaningful conversation with their agent all the sooner.

Urban Igloo, which helps renters find homes in the Washington and Philadelphia metro areas, is currently developing an enhanced website that empowers renters to first choose the neighborhood that best fits their character and needs. This preliminary step fosters a common understanding between our agents and clients, leading to more qualified and trusting relationships—and better enjoying an otherwise stressful process

Of course, there are additional online and social tools we also use to enhance our face-to-face experiences. Versus a leasing process that’s 100% online, we believe in a model that encourages human touch. We treat our clients the way we would want to be treated. That means learning more about the individuals we’re assisting, serving as their residential guidance counselor, and helping them learn about and begin to immediately enjoy a new neighborhood. Those services—and others that expert firms in this industry provide—cannot be fully replicated online.

Choosing a home is an experience that benefits from the application of online tools, but it’s not like researching and buying a television on Amazon. Ours is an industry full of wonderful people who are eager for our assistance. Let’s set down the iPhone and help them.

Rick Gersten is the founder and CEO of Urban Igloo. He may be reached at The opinions expressed here are the author’s own.