4 Lessons in Customer Service From the Real Estate Industry
Interact with a few successful real estate agents and you’ll discover one consistent thread between them: they’re all skilled at customer service. As someone who works in another profession, there are a number of lessons you can learn by studying how they handle this important aspect of business.
4 Customer Service Lessons You Must Learn
It doesn’t matter your industry – you’d do well to spend a day riding around with a top real estate agent in your market. Simply being a fly on the wall will give you a chance to see how they treat their clients, as well as how their treatment positively influences their business. Here are a few of the lessons you’d likely discover:
1. Always Pick Up the Phone
A real estate agent’s phone rings all day, every day. As tempting as it may be to ignore a call, leading agents make a point to pick up the phone as much as they possibly can. Having a real person answer the phone speaks volumes and ensures a positive relationship.
Even if you can’t personally answer the phone every time someone calls your business, you should have someone who can. An automated answering system might save you a little bit of time, but it removes some of that personal touch your customers want. Even if you have to pay an hourly employee to sit by the phone, it’s worth every penny.
2. Provide Specialized Content
It’s impossible to provide outstanding customer service in today’s business world without having some sort of online presence. Furthermore, you need more than a basic website. You need to supply your customers with specialized content that answers questions and provides tangible value.
Check out agent Michael Flynn’s website as an example of what it looks like to provide specialized content. Notice how all of his content is centered on Pierce County, Washington – his target market. The specialized nature of his content keeps his clients coming back for more.
Can you provide specialized content to your clients? Instead of location-specific, your content may be pain point-specific or price point-specific. Whatever your customers want, that’s what you need to provide.
3. Let Empathy Guide Decision Making
It’s easy to get cynical when you’re dealing with emotional people all day every day. Successful real estate agents know this better than anyone, yet they tend to be the most empathetic people around. Regardless of how many times they’ve dealt with the same issue in the past, leading agents are willing and able to put themselves in the shoes of their clients.
Being empathetic doesn’t make you weak. Instead, it helps you connect with your customers. Even if you feel like the customer is wrong, you need to think about the situation from their perspective.
“Studies have shown that people judge an experience based on its most intense point and its end. In customer service, that means ending each interaction on a high note so customers come away feeling great. That may mean solving the problem, it may not,” entrepreneur Gareth Goh says. “I have personally had experiences where the service rep was unable to accommodate my request, but I still came away with a good feeling because I know she did everything she could and she genuinely cared about helping.”
4. Be Patient
Patience is huge in customer service. Real estate agents – especially those who work in residential real estate – have to be super patient. There’s no purchase decision that’s more emotionally charged than buying a house. As tempting as it is to say something like “make up your mind already,” agents patiently and carefully walk through the decision making process with their clients.
In your own business, there’s tremendous value in being patient with your customers. While it takes some discipline on your part, patience ultimately fosters a stronger connection between you and your clients. It also makes them feel cared for and understood – something that’s especially important in service-based businesses. This is probably something you’ll have to continually work at in order to eventually master, but the benefits far outweigh the inputs.
Prioritize Customer Service
Did you know that 81 percent of companies that deliver excellent customer service outperform their direct competition? In other words, if you commit to providing outstanding customer service, you’re going to see results.
A real estate agent stands no chance of being successful if he doesn’t place a heavy emphasis on customer service. Keeping clients happy and engaged is half the battle. Whether you’re in retail, ecommerce, a service-based business, or anything in between, learning how to master customer service will all but guarantee growth. Now’s the time to refocus your attention.