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When “You’re Welcome” is Not an Appropriate Response

karen rittenhouse
2 min read
When “You’re Welcome” is Not an Appropriate Response

I was shopping recently when I was struck with a business revelation (don’t you love when that happens?).

One particular morning, I made purchases in three different stores. In every store, as I checked out I said, “thank you!” In every case, the response I received was, “you’re welcome.”

In the final store, I purchased a buy-two-get-one-free promotion. At the register, fortunately I knew what my total should ring up to be (it’s very important, by the way, to make sure you’re charged advertised sale prices rather than the regular amount…).

When the total rang too high, I stopped the cashier and said, “no, these are buy-two-get-one-free.” She proceeded to walk to the stand holding their sale flyers and began to flip through. After struggling a bit, she told me she would have to call someone over to help. Now, we’re not talking real estate investing money here, but the savings was $14 so I was willing to wait.

Eventually, another employee came over, looked at my items and then at the sale flyer. I offered to take them back to the sale merchandise and show them their own store displays. Neither responded but they, instead, called a third and apparently more important employee over. She almost immediately disputed that my purchases qualified for the discount (when, in fact, they did). I showed why my items were what the ad displayed, and she eventually told the cashier to just take one item off of my total. This apparent “manager” never made eye contact and simply turned and walked away.

After the items were rung up correctly, I thanked the cashier to which I received the standard “you’re welcome,” as she turned to the next person in line. Almost to the door, I passed the manager who had “allowed” me to take advantage of their advertised special. I smiled at her and said, “thank you!” She glanced briefly in my direction and said, “you’re welcome.” It was at that point that something clicked in me.

Wait a minute… I’m the customer! I came in and spent money in your establishment which pays your salary. I was inconvenienced because your flawed system rang up my purchase incorrectly. I was made to wait and defend my position in order to take advantage of a promotion you are running. No one had a kind word, a smile, or a “thank you for your patience and your patronage” for me. This is wrong on so many levels.

The Lesson Learned for Real Estate Investing

Which led me, fortunately, to drive off pondering how we treat our clients. Do they hear “you’re welcome” when they should be hearing “thank you”?

What do we do for our customers, the most important people in our business, that makes them feel welcomed, that makes them feel special, important, appreciated? Do our customers feel taken for granted?

Our companies service buyers, sellers, property owners, tenants, and investors. I mentally went through the list of different services we provide and how we treat that client. I recommend you do the same.

We will be improving some of our processes.

What I know for sure is that we give gifts to each client, depending upon the service – a book on buying, selling, or landlording. We send “thank you” and “welcome” letters to each new client as well as welcome emails. We send monthly newsletters to our property owners and a different one to our tenants.

But do we thank them enough? Do we make them feel important, to us and to our business? I know we want to.

Perhaps a client survey is in order and the place to start.

Do you make your clients feel important? Or have you been saying, “you’re welcome”?

And, what can you do differently to make your process better?

By the way, thank you for reading this post.

Photo: Svadilfari

Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.