Follow Us on Social Media

email icon rss icon linked.in icon google plus icon twitter icon facebook icon

Customer Service Tips To Set You Apart As A Real Estate Professional

by Chris Clothier on March 22, 2012 · 6 comments

  

“I don’t do business with you because of your product.  I do business with you because of the service you give and the perceived value I get from that.  It helps me sleep at night from 1,000 miles away.”

That is an actual quote from a Thank You card we received from an investor that taught me everything I needed to know about succeeding in today’s investment real estate world.  Providing great Customer Service had nothing to do with easy to remember 800 numbers and even less to do with under cutting other investment companies on price points.  What real estate investors really want in today’s investing environment is competence, intelligence, transparency and availability.  They want to do business with people that help them feel comfortable with making investment decisions in such a different real estate environment.  Do you do that?

Customer Service In Real Estate Can Set You Apart

Unfortunately, in most businesses, customers have come to expect poor service and have lowered their expectations.  However, that is a good thing for companies that are pro-active and use their customer service as a tool for attracting and keeping clients.  The bar has been set so low that customers are looking for simple steps and basic, almost elementary, actions to determine a real estate company to use for their expertise when investing in real estate.

We were recently told by an over-seas investor that he was so impressed with our company that whether or not we did business, he would telling other investors about our company.  I could only shake my head in disbelief as he told me the most impressive thing was that we actually answered his emails and phone calls promptly, kept our appointment time with him without rescheduling due to conflicts in our schedule and everyone smiled and got up from their desk or office to introduce themselves and shake his hand.  This was confirmation of just how low the standard had become for great service.

Here are some tips to implement and remind your company of daily to help concentrate on providing great service.

Friendliness

Many real estate investors are not investing in their own backyards, instead choosing to invest in remote locations.  That means that they are looking for people and companies that they can trust and connect with for their investing needs.  The first attracter for most people in general is do they even “like” the person on the other end of the line.  While marketing materials and websites can absolutely enhance and even promote a likeable image, the real test comes with the first connection.  If you are not coming across as a friendly voice and someone that makes a real estate investor comfortable quickly, the chances of getting to the next level of a business relationship are greatly diminished.

Communication

An absolute killer for many business owners, not just real estate professionals is what we call phone reluctance.  It is a paralyzing fear to pick up the phone and deliver bad news or any piece of information that may conflict with a customers needs, wants or even a piece of information that you have already communicated.  The reality is that the quicker you communicate with a client the better for everyone involved.  The stress of having to make the call is eliminated, a sense of belief that you can be trusted is developed and your ability to build on your actions as a good and trusted partner in their success is started.  Study after study with consumers has shown that simply communicating honestly in a timely manner is a huge reason customers remain loyal to companies.  They know they can trust the company or person they are doing business with to keep the customers best interest first.  Often times, simply communicating reduces the sting of bad news.

Listen

Listening is a skill.  Listening is a habit.  The great thing about those two statements is that each defines something that can be taught, practiced and learned.  The biggest mistake that real estate professionals make when it comes to listening is made when it comes to responding.  I have met more than my fair share of real estate pros that have canned answers and talking points that they want to get across regardless of what is being said.  This shows a lack of ability when it comes to listening.  To be a great listener, you have to be willing to shut up (excuse the bluntness) and pay attention to what your customer is saying.  Really pay attention.  Sometimes, a customer does not want a response from you and they certainly do not want an explanation.  What they want is to know that you will be quiet and let them voice their concern or frustration.  They want to know that you understand that they may not always be right, but they are always the customer!  Learning to respond correctly is another learned skill that goes well beyond this article, but with a little empathy and a willingness to let a customer speak fully and completely before trying to solve their problem, will go a long way in learning how to help.

Exceed Expectations

I know I said responding correctly would be a whole separate article, but let me point out one huge piece of advice when it comes to a proper response to a customers needs.  Always exceed expectations!

It takes very little effort to actually do what you say you are going to do.  If you do not mean what you are saying or are not capable of actually complying with the words coming out of your mouth – DO NOT SAY THEM!  The level of expectation in today’s real estate environment is so low that simply doing what you say you are going to do or following up when you say you will follow up is often all it takes to make a customer happy.  How simple is that?  But what if you did a little extra?  What if you sent a thank you card as follow-up, called with an answer tonight instead of tomorrow as you agreed, paid for a bill that should have been the customers.  What if you simply did a little more than the customer expected?  How far would that go in helping you make a positive impression?

Smile

You would be surprised at how easy it is to determine your mood over the phone.  A client can hear your smile or your frown or your smirk or general lack of interest or your undeniable enthusiasm.  Your mood and your words should match.  If you want a client or a potential customer to believe in you – especially from a distance, then you have to earn their trust.  Don’t fake it.  Simply make sure that your excitement and desire to work with that customer is matched by your words and your attitude.  Placing a smile on your face can go a long way to earning the trust of the customer on the other end of the line.

In a Customer Service video I found on YouTube titled “Word On The Street”, random people are interviewed on the streets of New York City on what frustrates them about Customer Service and how do they define great service.  If you want additional insight on how important providing great customer service can be, watch that video of random people and pay close attention to what they say about service.  It can be the difference between setting yourself apart from or simply fading into the crowded field of real estate professionals.

Email *
  



{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

John G March 22, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Great tips! I think all new/old agents should read and heed these tips. In today’s market, with so much competition out there, you really need to set yourself apart from the pack. A great way to do that is with customer service like you said. I always tell my agents Do something great for your clients so that your they will remember the next time they think of your service.

Reply

Chris Clothier March 24, 2012 at 1:12 pm

John G.

Thank you for taking time to comment on my post. You make some excellent points and give great advice. Thanks – Chris

Reply

Foster March 22, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Joshua please put this out somewhere that ALL members will see it. I have seen many Customer Service articles over the years but this is outstanding! This is posted just before the Summit and I fear many folks will miss it.
Regards
Foster

Reply

Chris Clothier March 24, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Foster –

I appreciate your comments. It means a lot to me to read those types of comments because – in the end – that is the type of response i am shooting for. i want to help investors/business professionals just take a look at simple, little things to set themselves apart in the world.

Chris

Reply

Sharon Vornholt March 27, 2012 at 7:36 am

Chris –

These customer service tips apply to any business. In order to make yourself memorable, you have to be extraodinary; you have to create “Raving Fans”. It’s vital that you get everyone in your organization on board to achieve this standard whether you are a tiny company or have a lot of employees. People have gotten so used to receiving “OK” or “good enough”, that they will always remember this type of service. Go the extra mile. It will pay big dividends.

Reply

Ziv Magen April 8, 2012 at 3:15 am

Not just for agents, but for anyone in any business – it’s amazing how these simple steps not only differentiate you from the below-par norm, but also serve to establish trust and loyalty in a customer like no others. Be honest, forthcoming, communicating and LISTEN. Easy, darn it!!! :)

Reply

Leave a Comment

Comment Policy:

• Use your real name and only your name in the field designated for your name.
• No keywords allowed as anchor text in the name or comment fields.
• No signature links allowed under your comments
• You may use links in the body of your comment, but it must be relevant to the discussion at hand, and not merely be some promotional link.
• We will have NO reservations about deleting your content if we feel you are posting merely to get a link without adding value to our discussion.
If you add value, but still post keywords, we'll use your comment, but remove your link and keywords.
• For more information about acceptable practice, see our site rules.

Want your photo to appear next to your comments? Set up your Gravatar today.

Previous post:

Next post: