Today I was pondering Customer Service.

By
Real Estate Agent with Century 21 At The Shore Realty

I was looking at a few news posts today and the whole issue of customer service came to my mind. I have, in my greater-than-half-century lifetime had the opportunities to live and work in 'those far away places with the strange sounding names'. As a result, I have learned this:

#1 - There's no place like home; the USA is by far the greatest country to live in. I'd have to say that people generally don't know how precious our freedom is. That thousands of men and women have served in our military to keep us free, that thousands have actually given their lives to keep us free, seems to be forgotten. I am a Vietnam era veteran. I will always be warmed by the thought of my service to the country, and by my sacrifice of time and energy to 'do my part'.

#2 - People in some parts of the world actually bend over and pick up litter. No, they don't throw ½ used bags of Mc Donald's Fries out the window of their moving vehicles. No, they don't sit in a parking lot and dump their ash trays on the ground for someone else to clean up. And, No, they don't sit in a movie theatre and throw their trash on the floor, again for someone else to pick up. They don't feel like it's someone else's job to clean up after them, they don't feel as if it's their right to act so slovenly.

#3 - There ARE enough hours in a day to take a moment to be courteous, it costs nothing to say please and thank you, and in fact even extend an honest greeting to others on the street, in the mall, or in some other public venue. This actually builds self esteem, and improves your own mental health. Studies released recently have proven again that social interaction is good for you!

#4 - Don't you love it when you are in a grocery store, a drug store, a gasoline station, a news stand, or anyplace else where folks are paid to interact with customers, when you -the customer- are made to feel as if you are intruding on the clerk's time! Courtesy costs nothing, in fact, in an industry where gratuities are customary, courtesy may even pay actual cash dividends. If you are employed in one of the aforementioned establishments, it is your customer's right to expect your undivided attention for the duration of their transaction. Have you ever been in a shop and have the cashers ignore you, punch keys on the cash-register or swipe your purchases over a scanner, all the while they are holding a moronic conversation with other employees. Does this annoy anyone besides me?  

In our industry, (at least in our area) it is customary to give feedback to a listing agent, if you are a seller's agent and are showing a property. I just listened to an agent in our office on the telephone asking for feedback, and was told "I don't have time for that..." Is anyone, anywhere, so busy today in real estate that they can't take 30 seconds to call another agent and give some honest feedback? Is there a seller's agent out there who would not appreciate this courtesy? If we want courtesy when we go to a local shop, we should incorporate courtesy in our business. I believe that ‘the law of attraction' will jump in regardless of how we act. If we are selfish and unappreciative, that's the people who will be around us. Lets all acknowledge that the glass is half FULL!

 

Comments (9)

R. B. "Bob" Mitchell - Loan Officer Raleigh/Durham
Bank of England (NMLS#418481) - Raleigh, NC
Bob Mitchell (NMLS#1046286)

Excellent post!  The only thing about feed back that concerns me now is the post that I read the other day where some agent is getting sued for giving feed back to the listing agent that pissed the seller off.  The buyer ended up not getting as good a deal as they could have because the sellers were mad at them.  The people are suing their buyer's agent for violating their confidence!

 

Bob Mitchell

ValueList Real Estate Services, Inc. 

Jun 07, 2007 07:44 AM
Donna Harris
Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - TexasRealEstateMediationServices.com - Austin, TX
Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator

Bruce, to an extent, I agree.  In my area, we have a showing service that provides a website with our listings and showing appts.  I will enter feedback into the website within 72 hours of a showing... or at least as soon as I have time.  However, if I was in a market where I had to pick up the phone and call every listing agent back with feedback, I will be honest and say that would probably never happen.

I typically show about 10 houses per showing with buyers.  To call each agent, and have them actually answer the phone, they would probably keep me on the phone roughly 5 minutes quizzing me about this and that with the house.  That's almost an hour.  No, I do not have time to spend an hour giving feedback.  I do, however, have 10 minutes to type in my feedback for all my showings into one central location and have the listing agents go read it.

Jun 07, 2007 08:04 AM
Franklin (Bruce) Needhammer
Century 21 At The Shore Realty - Berkeley Township, NJ

Donna,

What an excellent solution. I'd love to see that system in use here in Ocean County NJ!

Jun 07, 2007 09:06 AM
Donna Harris
Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - TexasRealEstateMediationServices.com - Austin, TX
Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator
Bruce, the system is called Centralized Showing Services, for short we all call is CSS.  The website is www.showings.com and you can have a look around.  They are moving their way across the country, though they started here in the Dallas/Ft Worth area.  If you can talk with you Board about sending out information to several brokers in your area, they would probably move into your area as well.  It's just hard for them to move into an area with only 1 or 2 brokers utilizing their services.  It's only $24 a month!!
Jun 07, 2007 09:45 AM
Liz Foley
Keller Williams Realty - The Steven Chicoine Team - Sanford, ME
Cheerfully serving your real estate needs!

Hi - I have been in customer service in one form or another for years.  It peeves me to no end, when the person supposedly providing customer service can't make eye contact, or frankly, even grunt an acknowledgement to me....I have found myself on occassion sitting in front of a toll booth attendent waiting for a thank you, or something to that effect.  There was one locally that I would pass my change to, say thank you, have a nice night, and never get a return comment.  Finally, it bugged me enough that I sat there until he at least looked at me! Petty, I know, but found it just unbelievably rude to be ignored. 

Regarding feedback, I do try to provide it after showings, but it does often get put on the back burner.  However, I have found myself calling after hours on purpose to avoid using up a lot of "chit-chat" time and leaving my feedback on voicemail. Just not enough hours in the day to do it all, and that is one way to not lose time and still be courteous. Thanks for reminding us to be human!

Jun 07, 2007 02:45 PM
Minnesota Home Staging Firm, Minnesota
Minnesota Home Staging Network~ MN's Top Home Staging Firm - Inver Grove Heights, MN

Oh boy...there you go again PONDERING things ;)

Just giving you a hard time. :)

All the best,

Beth

Jun 07, 2007 03:45 PM
Anonymous
Doug Trudeau
Bruce - Good job, courtesy is important in every aspect of life. Sincere courtesy is something we all can work on from time to time. I try to leave comments on every home I show becasue I know after showing 40 homes in a week things turn to mush. The only problem is the listing agents don't all check their key safe messages to read what I wrote. It has helped in reducing the calls though.
Jun 08, 2007 02:30 AM
#7
Ryan Hukill - Edmond
ShowMeOKC Real Estate Pros of KW Elite - Edmond, OK
Realtor, Team Lead
Franklin, GREAT post, and to answer #4, NO, YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY NOT the only one annoyed by those types of clerks. Drives me out of my mind! You've made some great points and these points should be rules for living. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
Jun 08, 2007 11:59 AM
Esko Kiuru
Bethesda, MD

Bruce,

You go right to the core of it. We are slowly getting too self-centered to treat others with respect. Even when we are paid to perform a service we still don't do it right. And then when someone, or some business, offers exceptional service, he really stands out from the crowd. That's when the men are separated from the boys. Good reminder post.

Jun 08, 2007 03:43 PM