5 "Golden Rules" of Excellent Real Estate Customer Service
“I’m never too busy for your referrals!” This popular tagline is front and center in countless real estate agent email signatures. Though I agree it doesn’t hurt to remind clients to recommend you to their friends and family, referrals should be a natural outcome of providing excellent service and a job well done. When you provide a great customer experience, people can’t help but boast about you!
As a customer service manager, I analyze how I am treated during interactions with vendors (both in personal and professional settings) and use my experiences to motivate my own behavior and guidance on how customers should be treated. I draw from THE Golden Rule we are all taught as children: Treat others as you would like to be treated. The easiest way to learn how to provide great service is to act like a customer, an especially critical thing to remember when you’re working in an industry where emotions and stakes are always running high.
I recommend everyone in a customer-oriented position follow this practice. Become aware of what a great customer experience feels like and use that insight to identify what it takes to create that experience. I used my experiences to develop 5 “Golden Rules” that you can use to build a pipeline of lifelong customers.
Let empathy be your guide:
Having empathy means having the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand what that person is feeling. No matter the circumstances (first time buyer, investor, downsizer, re-locator) a real estate transaction is a big deal and it’s always personal. Whether you have to deliver bad news or you feel like a client is being a pest, take a step back and put yourself in their shoes. Empathy not only helps you to relate to your clients, but feeling empathetic will also help guide your ability to communicate, problem-solve, react and at the very least make the customer feel understood.
Be engaged & responsive:
Clients expect immediate follow up (which makes lead nurturing software like Zurple great, especially for new leads). In real estate, you aren’t treated like an organization with business hours – you will get calls and emails after hours and on weekends.
The key isn’t necessarily being available to answer emails at 1am (work/life balance is a great topic for another day). Instead, the key is reacting in a timely manner – and if you don’t have all the answers don’t leave your customer hanging. Keep them updated and try to give accurate timeframes whenever possible. Make it a priority to follow through when you say you will.
Remember abc – always be communicative:
Good, clear communication is highly underrated in a high speed world of “lol” and “omg”. How you communicate and how well you communicate will leave a strong impression on a client. Taking time to construct a thoughtful, well-written email or calling instead of texting for more important discussions will give your client great comfort that they are in good hands.
Go the extra mile:
Give your clients a “wow” moment whenever possible – and keep in mind that wow moments don’t have to be complicated. They can be as simple as providing additional information that was not requested. Think beyond the stated question and seek the implied follow up question – so when your client asks “what are the HOAs at this condo?” don’t just provide the HOAs for that one unit. Follow up with more information – maybe some comparable condos where HOAs are lower and ask questions about what amenities are important to them so you can guide their search.
Show your appreciation:
You are nothing without your customers so be sure to show them how much you care. Make sure your clients feel appreciated for choosing to work with you. Many agents do this with a closing gift (already a great concept), but rather than going the generic route, choose something meaningful. We compiled a list of a few ideas here.
A handwritten “thank you” note makes a great impression too. To show true appreciation let them know why you enjoyed working with them (i.e. were they patient, funny, knowledgeable, easy-going?). Also try sending them a note or give them a call to wish them a “Happy Anniversary” to celebrate the date they closed or moved in. There are countless ways to make people feel special but these small acts of kindness can go a long way in building personal connections with your clients.
Empathy may sound easy, but if you are having a bad day it can be difficult to see someone else’s perspective. It’s easy to have a great idea for a closing gift but it takes effort to make the purchase. It’s easy to find out the HOA fees on that condo but it takes enterprise to dig deeper. Real estate is all about relationships and the strongest relationships take effort.
Providing great real estate customer service is an incredible way to build trust and loyalty. Apply these “Golden Rules” diligently to wow your clients and increase referral business.