Ser­vice the se­cret of suc­cess

Herald Sun - Property - - OPINION -

SER­VICE can make a huge dif­fer­ence. Whether it’s on holiday, at the bank or a trip to the garage to re­place a tyre, re­ceiv­ing bet­ter than ex­pected ser­vice makes you a hap­pier pay­ing cus­tomer.

Lack­lus­tre, rude or in­com­pe­tent ser­vice has the op­po­site ef­fect. It makes us an­gry and we’re of­ten left wish­ing we’d cho­sen a dif­fer­ent ser­vice provider. Those of us who’ve re­ceived truly ap­palling ser­vice may even be tempted to com­mit some small act of revenge, like lay­ing a rot­ting fish at the doorstep of the guilty com­pany.

Ser­vice has evolved in re­cent decades. Just think of how easy it is for cus­tomers to com­plain pub­licly. But get­ting it right isn’t easy and re­mains cru­cial to the suc­cess of any busi­ness.

Real estate agents have to jug­gle these con­sid­er­a­tions with new chal­lenges, such as in­creased com­pe­ti­tion, but ser­vice stan­dards still vary among agents. If there is one com­mon thread in the com­plaints I hear from home­buy­ers and sell­ers, it is a poor level of ser­vice.

Clas­sic ex­am­ples are a fail­ure to re­turn calls or emails and a lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

Agents may ar­gue lower fees war­rant a lower level of ser­vice, but I be­lieve clients have a right to ne­go­ti­ate prices down, so that ar­gu­ment isn’t jus­ti­fied.

Dur­ing each sea­son of pro­duc­tion, the

team and I meet count­less agents. They’re gen­er­ally a great bunch. But ev­ery now and then some shock­ers come along.

These guys may ap­pear smart, en­thu­si­as­tic and help­ful, but it doesn’t last. They fail to make calls, never re­ply to their clients and never up­date them on the progress of the sale. Of­fers aren’t pro­duced and ex­cuses keep rolling in. Some of these agents may try to de­flect at­ten­tion away from their short­com­ings by talk­ing about their com­peti­tors’ lack of re­sults. Great agents do none of these things.

In the last month or so, I’ve had the plea­sure of work­ing with ter­rific agents. What gen­er­ated my pos­i­tive im­pres­sion wasn’t just their sales re­sults, glow­ing ref­er­ences or the tro­phies proudly dis­played in their of­fice — it was good old-fash­ioned ser­vice.

These guys were on time, al­ways called to con­firm in­spec­tions and pro­vided a de­tailed re­view of those in­spec­tions the very same day. They also sup­plied up­dates on how po­ten­tial buy­ers were re­spond­ing to mar­ket­ing cam­paigns. This came in the form of gen­uine and fair feed­back on how they per­ceived the cam­paign to be pro­ceed­ing.

These agents dis­played a key in­gre­di­ent: em­pa­thy with the client. They had a con­nec­tion to the prop­erty and the lo­cal mar­ket. They un­der­stood how their mar­ket worked, could eas­ily ex­plain it and un­der­stood the sales process from the ven­dors’ per­spec­tive.

Com­mit­ting to this level of ser­vice re­quires ef­fec­tive time man­age­ment from the agent, as well as an un­der­stand­ing that sell­ing homes is a peo­ple busi­ness. Af­ter all, you’re the one pay­ing their salary.

If you are sell­ing or choos­ing an agent, ex­pect this level of ser­vice from day one through to set­tle­ment. If you’re hear­ing ex­cuses and feel­ing left out of the loop, maybe change agents — it is of­ten pos­si­ble to do this even if you’ve signed a long-term agree­ment.

Any agent you hire has an obli­ga­tion to per­form their du­ties to your sat­is­fac­tion. If you feel this is not hap­pen­ing, make a for­mal com­plaint. That com­plaint should be di­rect and you should give them a fair right of re­ply.

As a seller us­ing the ser­vices of an agent, you should be work­ing as a team. If that’s not the case, they are fail­ing you.

Andrew Win­ter hosts

on the Life­style chan­nel

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