Customer Service must have been designed by a rocket scientist, after all if it was that easy everyone would be doing it and if everyone was doing it the world would be a better place due to everyone having a fantastic service …. Hmmm.Unfortunately, Google has not been able to find me a rocket scientist with a secret Customer Service formula, it did however find me a Customer Lifetime Value Formula:
Upon reading the article I have decided that building rockets are definitely not my forte and there must be an easier way to give Customer Service – Thankfully there is and there is no rocket science involved !
In Estate Agency you have the Customer and the Client (read here, so you don’t get the two mixed up The Client-V-The Customer), so you have two sets of people that need your service, along with both solicitors, a mortgage advisor and any other agents that may involved in the chain with you, hard work I know, especially if you are dealing with another 50 or 60 sales at the same time.
Allow me to give you a true example of what I deem to be bad service – Last year I was looking for a new home and called every Estate Agent in the area that dealt with sales and registered my details, I think it was around about 20 or so agents. Out of those agents, one told me to keep an eye on their website for new properties, only two agents ever rang me and one of those only once.
Undeterred I took my property search to Zoopla and Rightmove, low and behold there were plenty of properties that met my criteria, but one in particular caught my eye. This particular home was on the market with two agents and at 9.30 the next morning I rang both agents and left a message that I would like to view (knowing that the Estate Agents would be having their morning meeting). I waited until 12.30 before I rang one of the Estate Agents back “Oh, I was just about to call you” came the response, I held my own response to that deep inside ! (Just for the record, I bought the house and was in a position to exchange contracts with in 28 days)
You may have read the above and rolled your eyes or had a little chuckle, but lets take a look at who it effects:
Client/Vendor: They instruct an Estate Agent because they trust they will do the job at hand by finding the best purchaser and negotiating a sale on their home – This is what the Agent agrees to in a contract. Only one Agent could say she did her vendors proud (and although she kept trying to sell me something I hadn’t asked for I did admire her persistence).
Customer/Purchaser: They call the Estate Agent for a reason, obviously it is for the Agent to assist them with finding a new home. After all the Agent knows what is coming to the market and when and can talk a customer through the properties that they currently have available. There is no point in a customer registering their details with an Agent if they have to trawl the property portals to find a home.
The Estate Agency Companies: As you may recall, the home I bought was on the market with two Agents, what should have been a race to see who called me first to arrange a viewing – knowing that if I bought it, the other Agent would have lost out – Ended with the choice being mine, I just happened to hit the last number I dialled which meant one of the companies lost out on the commission and also having a sold board outside the house.
When a client decides that they would like their home sold, it is not an immediate pick up the phone and call an Agent, sign a contract and sit back and wait. Due to the enormity of the transaction and the feeling that they have attached to their home the process starts of relatively slowly; “We’re thinking of selling our home” is thrown out amongst family, friends and colleagues, it is actually a call for help – who did you use, who is good, who is awful etc. Although your Agency may have a 5 star ratings on Trust Pilot or the Google Reviews are out of this world, nothing will ever be able to compete with someone the client trusts saying “I would use this Agent because…”, which is when the Agent will get the call to value their home and that Agent is now in pole position.
Customers are a little different, they will contact every Agent in the area, if the Agents phone goes to voice mail, they get minus points – if the Agent shows no enthusiasm, they get minus points – if the Agent doesn’t listen to the customers requirements, they get minus points – if the Agent is not proactive in helping them find their new home, yup, you guessed it, minus points. The Agent can get so many minuses that it would actually make the Artic Circle seem warm. If the Agent reverses the minuses and they are all plus points right from the beginning, then this customer will not only be advertising the Agent, they will also one day become the client.
Estate Agents can spend literally thousands of pounds each month advertising in local newspapers, property portals, delivering leaflets and investing in web design. Customer Service (with a little training) is free and will make the biggest difference to any business.
So, come on – lets make the world a better place !