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Back to Basics – The Secret to Providing Great Service

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RISMEDIA, June 7, 2008-We’ve now been in what is essentially an across-the-board down market for a good 12-18 months, depending on what zip code you call home. By now, brokers and agents have gotten used to longer listing times, fewer buyers and more inventory. So, what’s a broker to do? Not bow down to the pressures of the shifted market. Now is a critical time to reassess; re-evaluate the basic essentials that made you so successful at the start-recruiting, retention, agent education and true customer service. This month, three industry pros offer their thoughts on what brokers and agents can be doing to reinvigorate their businesses.

The Secret to Providing Great Service

zipf_bruce.jpgBruce Zipf
President & CEO

I was lucky enough to be copied on some “fan mail” one of our sales associates recently received and I think it perfectly illustrates why the basic principles of exceptional customer service are so critical to success, in all types of markets. We all know that it is a rarity for the public to take the time to say thank you for great service; people are far more likely to write or call about terrible service. So the fact that this client took the time to share her praise speaks volumes about her experience:

“Words do not suffice to convey (his) professionalism, enthusiasm, hard work and sheer talent. Previously, I had a very dim and cynical view of real estate agents. Having worked with my agent, I realize now what an incredible service and tremendous value the right real estate agent provides, and that their work is absolutely critical in finding the right (property).”

What was the agent’s secret to providing truly remarkable service to his client? In our industry, we talk about relationship building, communication, accountability and follow up, but what does that mean to our clients? How are those concepts realized in actions?

According to our highly satisfied client, her sales associate:

-Made her feel as though she was his only client
-Checked in with her daily to demonstrate he was actively working for her
-Responded to all questions and requests within minutes, (thanks, I might add, to NRT’s technology tools that are afforded to all agents)
-Was so diligent in his search, that he employed every website, agent and contact possible
-Always offered his honest interpretation of the situation relative to the market, making her feel that he had her best interests at heart
-Negotiated on her behalf, “never in a pushy manner,” and represented her interests at each and every stage of the transaction
-Always had a cheerful and friendly disposition
-Was as eager and enthusiastic throughout the entire transaction as he was on the first day

We also cannot underestimate our value as an industry expert and consultant. This involves keeping track of the latest data, trends and issues to be able to provide a current analysis of that data when we counsel and advise our clients and negotiate on their behalf. What we offer our clients is not simply access to the MLS and an ability to run the comps, but the ability to exceed expectations while representing their interests.

In thinking about the praise our happy client rained on her agent, many of you may have assumed we were talking about a high-end transaction in a luxury market. But the beauty of the story is that this transaction was not even a sale, but a modest rental. Therein lies the power of getting back to basics: it becomes the gold standard for each and every transaction, regardless of its size. Class dismissed.

Next week, CJ Olsen, Outside Sales Coordinator for On the Move, continues the discussion, describing her point of view, beginning with the ABCs of real estate basics.

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