This is a well written blog about how important customer service is and that good customer service is something we all should be constantly trying to improve.
Under-Promise, Over-Deliver: Tried and True Customer Service Mantra
Because we are, after all, in the service industry, I think we are all keenly aware of the customer service provided us when using any vendor or visiting a restaurant, auto dealership, retail shops, etc. We learn alot of how-to's and even alot of how-not-to's from the customer service which we are provided in our own experiences. We are constantly striving to improve upon our customer service--if you're not doing so, you should be.
What can we do to improve upon customer service? Here are a few basics:
1. Education is foremost in importance for anyone offering their services to consumers in any business. With our ever-changing business, a well educated real estate professions can certainly make or break a transaction. From mortgage brokers to real estate brokers, to inspectors, stagers and attorneys—all should have a commitment to excellence and the only way to achieve this excellence is by offering unsurpassed customer service including being well-educated in our ever-changing market’s inner ‘workings.’
2. Answer your phone when you can; if you are with a client IGNORE the phone and promptly return all missed calls when you are finished with your 'business' with your face-to-face client. Real estate professionals relied on returning to their offices to their answering machines before cell phones came along and they survived just fine! Remember how you felt when chatting with someone--anyone, not just in a business conversation--and that person answered their phone. It is, plain andhnd simply, rude--'bad manners' as my parents would say.
3. Answer your emails promptly! Some say that you should check your email messages as often as you check your voice mail messages. I actually check mine more--starting early in the morning before everyone else gets to work and late at night when everyone has left--no one is going to phone me at these hours, so I am free to check emails at the very least twice per day!
4. Do your due diligence for your clients. Always take the extra step to ascertain that there is nothing that is hidden about the property that your client needs to know. A little digging can save your clients tens of thousands of dollars sometimes. Communicate all efforts with your clients.
5. Which brings me to: Keep your clients informed. Let your clients know each and every step you are taking, both together and you--on their behalf. They LOVE to be informed of what is going on regarding their big purchase.
6. Common courtesies are sometimes considered 'old school,' as many professionals forget that those courtesies are, indeed, what distinguishes you AS a professional. Don't forget the 'please' and 'thank yous' in your communication with your clients. Remember the old saying, 'Smile and the whole world smiles with you?' Well, it works--people LIKE to be associated with positive people and smiling is the number one sign at first meeting that you are a positive person!
7. Eye contact and a firm handshake are other first-impression positives! As there are some who prefer NOT to shake hands, the vast majority of us feel that it is a courtesy and look to see that those shaking our hands are making eye contact. Both show the client that you are open, honest and genuine.
This is an abbreviated list and I'm certain that you have things that YOU feel are worthy of the list too! What sparked this article was a recent email from my favorite online shoe store, Zappos. I realized that I didn't have shoes to wear for a particular evening so, I hastily ordered the shoes I needed on Zappos and paid extra for 2-day shipping. Within hours, I received an email stating that I would have my shoes quicker than the 2-days. The shoes arrived in my home within 24-hours of ordering them!
I've also ordered shoes from them that were not the right size or color that I needed and I've phoned them to re-order and they sent me a FREE return shipping label to send my original order back AND shipped out the new pair without charging my account! Now, I'm sure if they hadn't received my return order within a reasonable amount of time, I would have been charged for the second pair but, my, what customer service! Zappos is certainly the bar-setter for the service industry in my opinion.
Are you under-promising and over-delivering? It's the best thing that you can do for your business!