Times have changed with the addition of technology and the digital world, we often keep searching for the silver bullet – that elusive piece of the puzzle to skyrocket your business to the next level. What if I tell you that I have the answer, the secret sauce to propel you to where you need to be. Are you ready for this… the magic words: Customer Service.
No, it’s not your robotic automatic replies and your digital newsletter or SMS robot which sends messages out to everyone you have met ever and I mean, like you know, any mobile number you can get your hands on hahaha, more of that later.
What is customer service? How are these two words so important to all businesses that it is obsessed about? Even more so, this is also the reason why we sometimes create this world where the service is done on your behalf while the customer never sees you in person so your well-scripted dialogue and next-level tools that you just started testing become irrelevant. I am sometimes guilty of this as we confuse service with the other bells and whistles which are available to us.
As an industry, when did we stop going out to the marketplace asking the customer what they wanted and listening to their needs?
We also need to speak to homeowners that have characteristics which meet the needs of the customer and introduce the buyer while at it. We do need to market in the century we are in. Although all the fluff and tools combined with the assistance of technology don’t give you the advantage of having a ‘face to face’ conversation, or as a good mentor of mine says ‘belly to belly’ interaction.
I had the pleasure and pain of having a client I worked with for 12 months purchase a property with another real estate office. Through the pleasure of seeing the energy cycle of the decision to purchase and the 15 to 20 properties we went through – it was all part of the customer service experience. When the time came to put pen to paper again, they had the market knowledge and understood the process so they were able to make a decision that suited their needs.
Remember when I said ask the customer what they want? Well the tricky part is it does change and you have to evolve with the customer’s needs. So if you are not interacting in person, you might just miss the opportunity to provide the service that ultimately gets the result.
The story ends on a happy note, the buyer purchases a property that they want and the next stage of their life begins.
I got a surprise visit with a thank you card from the new homeowner and a gift expressing the gratitude of helping them get all the input data they needed over a 12-month period, to them I stood head and shoulders above the other agents in the area. It’s a proud moment to help with such a massive decision in their life.
We forget some people only ever purchase a property once in their life. And while we have the monetary value that real estate transactions provide, you cannot put a price on customer service when performed to a higher level that people thank you. An irreplaceable proud feeling is created.
Thank you cards aside, it’s clearly not everyday our customers make the effort to reward us for providing a level of service that in reality is the minimum effort you should give. The message is clear, if you are not working for your customer and putting their needs ahead of yours, it’s unlikely that you will get that referral business we spend years building our reputations upon and hoping one day that call will come.
Written by Damian Piotto