HOW TO ACHIEVE A 100 PER CENT CUS­TOMER RE­TEN­TION RATE

Danelle Hunter

Elite Property Manager - - Contents - DANELLE HUNTER is the Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of Biggin & Scott Knox, an award-win­ning prop­erty man­ager and Founder of Hollywood In­te­ri­ors.

KEEP­ING CUS­TOMERS CON­TENT is one of the big­gest chal­lenges of the real es­tate in­dus­try. While prop­erty con­tin­ues to be Aus­tralia's pre­ferred method of in­vest­ment, own­ers seek as­sur­ance that their agent is man­ag­ing their as­set with ut­most care and many won't set­tle for any­thing less. Danelle Hunter has five sim­ple steps to keep your cus­tomers smil­ing and se­cure the fu­ture of your sus­tained suc­cess.

IT'S TRUE WHAT THEY SAY – it is far more dif­fi­cult to ac­quire new cus­tomers than to re­tain cur­rent ones. While the vast ma­jor­ity of prop­erty pro­fes­sion­als roll out the red car­pet for new cus­tomers, few con­tinue the same level of ser­vice once a con­tract has been signed. This change in pace can leave clients feel­ing for­got­ten and can of­ten lead them to look for ser­vice else­where.

In many agen­cies, the im­por­tance of a strong cus­tomer re­ten­tion rate is sorely over­looked. Many agents feel as though they have an end­less list of re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to meet, and adding more to their work­load can seem like an im­pos­si­ble task. How­ever, the ef­fects of a poor re­ten­tion rate can be far more daunt­ing and the im­pli­ca­tions can be se­vere.

If you talk the talk but fail to walk the walk, you may quickly lose the cus­tomers you fought so hard to win in the first place. Ef­fec­tively, this leaves you back at square one and spend­ing count­less hours prospect­ing for new busi­ness.

Through­out my own ca­reer, I have wit­nessed how re­ten­tion rates can heav­ily af­fect the bot­tom line of a busi­ness. I have seen first­hand the im­por­tance of not only giv­ing your clients rea­son to choose you, but also rea­son to keep choos­ing you. With a great deal of hard work and per­sis­tence, I re­cently man­aged to achieve a 100 per cent cus­tomer re­ten­tion rate and have since seen the suc­cess of my busi­ness grow ex­po­nen­tially.

I be­lieve we can all ben­e­fit from work­ing smarter, not harder. With my five easy steps, you can start in­creas­ing your cus­tomer re­ten­tion rate and get back to grow­ing your busi­ness.

1 PRO­VIDE REG­U­LAR FEED­BACK

One of the most com­mon con­cerns I hear from prop­erty own­ers is that they have not been pro­vided with enough feed­back and com­mu­ni­ca­tion from their past agent. More than any­thing, I be­lieve own­ers want to know what is hap­pen­ing with their prop­erty. While most good agents will act pro­fes­sion­ally and be prompt in mak­ing con­tact when an is­sue arises, even the most dili­gent among us can over­look the im­por­tance of reg­u­lar, rou­tine up­dates. Don’t un­der­es­ti­mate the im­por­tance of this – even when it is sim­ply to let the cus­tomers know that every­thing with their prop­erty is as it should be.

2 MAKE YOUR­SELF AVAIL­ABLE

Real es­tate agents have a rep­u­ta­tion for re­spond­ing to

MORE THAN ANY­THING, I BE­LIEVE OWN­ERS WANT TO KNOW WHAT IS HAP­PEN­ING WITH THEIR PROP­ERTY.

en­quiries at a glacial pace, and to cus­tomers there is noth­ing more frus­trat­ing than chas­ing an agent who al­ways ap­pears to be dodg­ing their calls. While it isn’t al­ways pos­si­ble to take ev­ery en­quiry the mo­ment it comes in, I sug­gest you make it a pri­or­ity to re­ply to all calls and emails on the same day. If you re­ally want to go above and be­yond, af­ter-hours replies show that you are al­ways avail­able to help, which is some­thing that’s guar­an­teed to get you in your cus­tomers’ good books.

3 PROAC­TIVE MAIN­TE­NANCE

On­go­ing prop­erty main­te­nance should be one of your top pri­or­i­ties. Thor­ough main­te­nance and timely re­pairs can re­duce the risk of emer­gency main­te­nance call­outs, which ul­ti­mately end up cost­ing your cus­tomer far more, and de­vel­op­ing an ef­fec­tive and proac­tive main­te­nance sched­ule is an ab­so­lute must. By keep­ing on top of all main­te­nance re­quire­ments and en­sur­ing the prop­erty is kept in pris­tine con­di­tion, you high­light your com­mit­ment and ded­i­ca­tion to your cus­tomer, while giv­ing them a sense of as­sur­ance that their as­set is be­ing well cared for.

4 OF­FER AS­SIS­TANCE WITH PAY­MENTS

In or­der to pro­vide a five-star ser­vice that sur­passes com­peti­tors, I al­ways of­fer as­sis­tance with the var­i­ous costs that your cus­tomers are re­spon­si­ble for, such as land­lord in­surance, coun­cil rates, body cor­po­rate fees and bills for main­te­nance and util­i­ties. Keep­ing up with th­ese monthly costs can be an added has­sle for the owner, but mak­ing th­ese pay­ments on their be­half in an ef­fi­cient and timely man­ner demon­strates your re­li­a­bil­ity and pro­fes­sion­al­ism, while si­mul­ta­ne­ously sav­ing your cus­tomers a ma­jor headache.

5 WRITE THOR­OUGH CON­DI­TION RE­PORTS

Con­di­tion re­ports are in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant and can mean the dif­fer­ence be­tween prop­erty own­ers re­ceiv­ing com­pen­sa­tion for dam­ages to their in­vest­ment or not. While it can be a time-con­sum­ing task, it is cru­cial to thor­oughly doc­u­ment the con­di­tion of the premises. One of the main rea­sons that cus­tomers seek our ser­vice is for the peace of mind of know­ing that their le­gal rights are be­ing pro­tected. Writ­ing reg­u­lar, de­tailed con­di­tion and rou­tine re­ports show your cus­tomers that they have made the right de­ci­sion in choos­ing you to main­tain their in­vest­ment.

In my view, client re­ten­tion rates can be con­sid­ered the truest mea­sure of our achieve­ment. By ded­i­cat­ing a few ex­tra min­utes a day to main­tain­ing a pos­i­tive re­la­tion­ship with our cus­tomers, we can all save our­selves weeks of work fur­ther down the track – time that could be far bet­ter spent.

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