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May I Have Lousy Service, Please?

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By Rebecca Chandler

bad_customer_serviceHave you ever bought a product or hired a company and said, “May I have lousy service, please? I’d like to be frustrated by the experience of doing business with you.” Doubtful.

We’ve all experienced lousy service – whether that’s due to long lines at the checkout, a botched order at a restaurant, over promises that were under delivered, or just a crummy attitude. Certainly nothing you’d ask for.

However, “good” service should be an expectation. And, depending on the product and the price, you have higher and lower definitions of “good.” For example, you do not have the same expectation at a fast food restaurant as you would a fine dining establishment. You pay more and expect more. You pay less and expect less. A real estate transaction is a pretty high priced item, so the expectation should be high.

That being said, telling your prospective clients that you pride yourself on your “service,” is not a differentiation. It’s an expectation. However, demonstrating good service can make all the difference in the world. For example:

Shooting a listing’s photo with your phone vs. hiring a professional photographer. Would you use your phone to shoot photos of your home when putting it on the market? Unlikely. You only have one chance to make a first impression. Make sure everyone who sees the home sees it at its best.

Marketing homes on free Internet listings sites vs. conducting an actual marketing campaign for the home. Do you really want to say, “Let’s just wait and see if someone stumbles upon your home and wants to buy it?” They could have posted their home on most of those sites themselves and stuck a sign in the yard. They didn’t need you to do that. Actually advertising the home for sale says, “I’m going to seek out people with the ability and likelihood to purchase your home and make sure they know it’s for sale.” Big difference.

Following up on every lead, showing, and open houses. I’m always surprised by the way some agents respond to leads—if at all. Quite frankly, many ignore them or make a minimal effort to reach the prospective client—and then they blame the lead saying it was of low quality. “But I emailed them and they didn’t respond.” Not everyone is ready to buy immediately, but they may be ready to buy sometime in the future. Adding them to a relevant drip campaign, sending them comparable properties, keeping them informed of price changes, market conditions, etc., means that when they are ready, they will think to call you. And, if they contact you on a property that is under contract, expired, or sold, by all means, sell them another home.

Regular feedback to your seller. Your seller has entrusted you to sell what is most likely, their largest asset—and they are paying you a premium to do so. Don’t you think they deserve to know how it’s going? Give them feedback on showings and leads. Let them know how you are marketing their home – and the activity and results you are generating. Make sure they are aware of new listings, price reductions and sales of properties that are competing with their home for buyers. Make them feel like a partner in the process and they will become an advocate for your business in the future – and much more likely to agree to a price reduction, concession and renewal if necessary.

Be available and listen. When they have a question or concern, make sure you’ve really heard it. Be honest, tactful and polite. That’s what they expect and deserve. Telling them what they want to hear versus the actuality creates distrust and anxiety. If you don’t know the answer, don’t fake it. Tell them you will find out and get back to them—and then do that. The trust you will gain will make not only this transaction go more smoothly, but will build your reputation for integrity – and that will bring you more business in the future.

Don’t make them call you. Recently, I was working with a sales rep who would expect me to call him to discuss the next steps of the transaction. “Ok, well, call me on Tuesday and I should have something for you by then.” No, I’m the customer. You call me. Regular check-ins with your clients offers many opportunities and establishing a familiar relationship keeps clients happy and generates referrals. What if they are concerned about something? You can turn that from a problem into a service by addressing it or fixing it. What if they have a neighbor considering selling? Or an acquaintance considering buying? You’d certainly want to know about those.

Say “Thank you.” How many times have you checked out at a store and told the clerk, “thank you,” and they responded with “no problem” or “you’re welcome?” They are just trying to be polite, but seem to miss the point that they should be thanking me for their business — not me thanking them. “No problem,” means that I’ve inconvenienced them but they are quite ok with me doing that so that I have the privilege of buying from them.

Make sure your clients know that you are appreciative of the opportunity to do business with them and appreciative of the commission they will be paying you. And, by demonstrating excellent service, they will see the value in you and the expertise you bring to the table—and know that you truly earned that commission.

What other ways are you demonstrating over-the-top service? How is that helping you to build your business? Please share!

Chandler_Rebecca_110x127Rebecca Chandler is vice president of marketing for NewPoint Media Group. You can read her insights on real estate advertising on Blog.RealEstateBook.com

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