No matter what we call ourselves (real estate agents, brokers, real estate associates, marketing experts, etc), in the end, what we really are and what we really do is all based on customer service.
"By the way, we can't refund the fees because it wasn't our mistake".... and with that statement, I realized that I was dealing with a business who does not see eye-to-eye with me on Customer Service. And with that, the business relationship of 7 1/2 years ended.
I fired my local bank but there's a lesson for me to learn from this.
A few weeks back, I withdrew too much money from my non-interest checking account into my Internet Bank. Yes, it was my mistake. Before I knew it, I over-drafted on my account and by the time the bank called me, there was (1) $30 Overdraft Fee. She could see that there are still 7 pending transactions but because I only have an Internet Banking savings account, I immediately transferred my funds back and all I could do was to show her proof that I did that.
She said, "Oh, that's fine now. I received your $5000 coming in and that will be more than sufficient to cover all the pending transactions. I will send these transactions through". And that was all she told me.
2 days and $260 of overdraft fees later, I was furious that I spent $260 on Overdraft Fees - something that I have NEVER done in my history with them. 7 1/2 years. I've always fund my account with at least $5000 of "cushion" but clearly I had withdrawn too much this time.
She said she has no discretion for refunds and needed a Manager's approval. So, I gave it another 3 more days to see what they would do. Nothing. It was NOT their mistake.
I politely thank them and went to find another bank who will service my accounts.
In the end, the 7 1/2 years of constantly walking through the lobby, and to what I thought was a "good", low profile client who's never bounced a check or over-drafted, CUSTOMER SERVICE boils down to whether a mistake was done.
If this was the case, then I'm in luck. If businesses operate this way, boy am I glad that it wouldn't be difficult for me to shine my business. Perhaps my new slogan should be: 3:16 team REALTY - where business is done right!
I heard someone said this to me yesterday, "Especially in today's times (referring to challenging economic times), no one wants to be financially responsible". What I heard is that it might just be an opportunity for you and I to shine and to rise above the crop.....
Ring, ring - "Loreena, the carpet has a huge coffee stain and my clients are NOT happy. When they are NOT happy, I'm not happy".
Loreena said, "I'm so sorry about the mess but don't worry. I'll send the carpet cleaners over as soon as possible".
Out flushed another $250 for professional carpet cleaning. Sure, it stinks. But someone's else's previous clients are now building a relationship with me.
Ring, ring - "Did your clients leave the garage remote controls in the house?"
Ring, ring back - "Nope. They can't find it. Tell your clients they can always go to Home Depot or Lowes to buy a generic one".
Out another $60 later, my clients thanked me for what it seems to be a seamless transaction. (And they didn't even know I was mad).
The TRUTH: I hate spending money, especially when I'm not the cause of it. It stinks every single time. When I "fix" the problem, I'm not expecting something in return. I just think Innocent People should be treated right - yes, including sometimes when I'm not at fault.
I received a beautiful Thank You card from a buyer in the mail a week after closing (in my transaction where I represented the seller), "You delivered the home in the cleanest condition which was messy and still full of stuff at 4pm prior. Thank you so much and I knew you didn't have to do that".
My husband and I left the house at 2am. At 9am, we closed on the house that same morning. My mantra - Anyone that buys a 3:16 listing buys a property delivered right. Well, it's the only right thing to do after someone else just spent several hundred thousand dollars.
When you pledge to serve, you do whatever it takes to get the job done. You don't just decide to fix "Customer Service" when someone makes a mistake.
The next time you have an opportunity to shine - Will you do it?
Or are you just going to rant it on Active Rain?
PS: One of the best things my aunt taught me is that "If you ever run into problems and it's fixable with money, it's just a small problem".
Yes, Customer Service stinks sometimes. But I'm a half-full kinda gal. I choose to learn and see the positive. It's good business for you and me. Otherwise, what are you going to do about it? Get mad? What good would that do you?
If you like reading, there's a book by John Miller - QBQ (Question Behind the Question). It talks about personal accountability. But what I got out of this book is learning to ASK THE RIGHT QUESTION when a problem arise. (Stop the blame game and finger-pointing. Step up!)
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Copyright © 2010 by Loreena Yeo (3:16 team REALTY)
Customer Service Shouldn't Begin When Someone Makes a Mistake