Service the secret of success
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