Customer Service is not a two letter word

Real Estate Agent with Thompson Company, REALTORS® MD594797

Customer Service is not a two letter word

During the last couple of days I read and commented on two blogs about customer service. Each covered one end of the spectrum, one left me inspired and prompted me to give kudos to the blogger/agent and the other left me speechless and appalled and prompted me to write this blog.


The agent in this worst case did not do anything wrong but just relayed a scenario and asked: What would you do?¹ She had received a phone-call from a lady who was close to tears. Said lady had listed her house for sale, was under contract (hooray!) but was afraid of being homeless very soon. The reason? Her agent left her out in the cold, he didn't deal with rentals and did nothing to help her find a new home! Say what?! 
Whether we work with renters or not is a personal as well as business decision. I happen to think that it can be very rewarding in both aspects however, that is not the point in the scenario described above. The Real Estate industry is a Customer Service industry and defined as "the provision of service to customers before, during and after a purchase." (Wikipedia

Customer Service means satisfying our clients needs, all of them - whether or not we think they'll be worth our time. I am not advocating to go out and work rentals if it is not part of your business. BUT, I am strongly advising to take care of all your clients' needs to the very best of your abilities. Instead of just saying "no" consider explaining that rentals are not your area of expertise, provide information and put them in touch with another agent you know and trust. Do not leave them hanging! Don't just say "no" - Customer Service is not a two letter word!


Paul Francis' blog: Never... Ever give up on your Short Sale, is a prime example for exceptional customer service. He not only made sure he met his clients' expectations by listening, communicating, and getting the house sold but he exceeded them by developing a personal, trusting relationship, being persistent (and persevering) and by not allowing for his clients' needs to become anything less than his priority.

His financial reward was minimal, if anything. When all was said and done he probably averaged an hourly rate of 39 cents (I'm being optimistic here). That is the essence of customer service however. When we decide to put our clients' needs above our own = working on a difficult transaction for years vs. just securing a paycheck now - we not only provide CUSTOMER SERVICE, but become exceptional at it.

I like to think that agents like Paul Francis by far outnumber the type of agent in the first example. As professionals it should be our goal to always MEET AND EXCEED EXPECTATIONS.
We should always strive to adhere to a GOLD STANDARD OF CUSTOMER SERVICE, much like The Ritz Carlton - a 99% satisfaction rate speaks volumes. If we can do that than our public image will mirror it and we no longer have to be concerned about fitting the cliché of a used-car-salesman.

What can be more beneficial to a successful career?


¹ Thank you, Priscilla Hammond, for providing the example: Left Out In The Cold, I'm confident that the customer has found a much more caring agent in you!

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Thompson Company, REALTORS

16910 Oak Hill Rd, Silver Spring, MD 20905
o: (301) 384-9177 c: (240)593-2860

Andrea is a REALTOR® based in Silver Spring, MD, who has enjoyed assisting buyers and sellers in Montgomery and Howard County, MD (and beyond) for 16+ years now. She always answers the phone with a smile, enjoys running, hiking, and traveling, speaks German, reads a lot, blogs a little, and drinks too much coffee. 


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 Andrea Bedard, Thompson Company, REALTORS: from Just Listed to Just SOLD


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Re-Blogged 1 time:

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Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® - Silver Spring, MD
M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond

Tammie: it's not much around here, but def. more than $50! The problem is, however, that not all listing agents are willing to cooperate. Thus, we end up chasing the rental sometime, wait for the phone call that never comes just to find out the LA rented himself. Another example of poor customer service. Your willingness to help, I'm sure, will be remembered by many!

Mary Ellen: Thank you & I'm with you!

Evelyn: my husband deserves full credit for pointing out the Ritz' Gold Standard. It's amazing and they are consistently ranked as No. 1 by J.D. Power and Associates. Let's go for the Gold! Thank you for stopping by Paul's blog as well - I was hoping more agents would read his amazing story!

The Ballon-Group: I have to admit, I'm not quite sure how to respond to your comment? My blog was about the customer service we provide ...

Leondra: Thank you! IMO, this is what is expected of us and we shouldn't settle for anything less. You provide the perfect example that customer service doesn't end with the completion of one transaction.

Mo: I don't know but would love to! We need to ask Priscilla Hammond about it!

Mike: Thanks! Absolutely, you are spot on. The right attitude is everything - for our clients and ourselves.

Donald: YES - well said! Thank you.

Sep 08, 2011 04:27 PM #17
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate

Andrea,  I could not agree with you more.  I want and encourage my clients to reach out to me for anything and everything.  It need not be real estate related.  Service is a yes business ... how may I serve! 

Sep 08, 2011 04:45 PM #18
Jon Quist
Tucson's BUYERS ONLY Realtor since 1996

That shows a poor sense of consideration on the part of that agent. How hard would it have been to find that seller a referral to a rental agent? I do that all the time, when someone calls me trying to find a rental. I'm easy to find on the web, and people apparently assume all agents do everything.

I don't do anything but buyers. No sellers, no rentals, etc.

But I do know how to look things up. Jeez!

Sep 08, 2011 04:57 PM #19
Anthony Daniels
Coldwell Banker - San Francisco, CA
SF Bay Area REO Specialist

Customer service appears to be headed in the same direction as the knucklehead slinging


Good stuff, thanks for sharing it.

Sep 08, 2011 05:37 PM #20
Mike Cooper, GRI
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Excellent, Andrea.  I was appalled by the agent who sold the home and then refused to do the rental.  Even if you don't do rentals you could hand the client off to a trusted friend.  Oy!  Well deserved feature!!

Sep 08, 2011 09:30 PM #21
Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX

Well written and though I did not realize the actual definition, I like the fact that true customer service is before, during AND after!

Sep 09, 2011 01:01 AM #22
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents

Excellent blog, i hear all the time that customer service has been lost in the industry. it makes me work harder to take care of my clients. Knowing when to listen and when to speak is an important first step. One of the most heard comments i get when being interviewed is my old agent just would not listen...

Sep 09, 2011 01:26 AM #23
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Andrea, we are in the people business and should see that our clients are served to the best of our abilities.

Sep 09, 2011 01:36 AM #24
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® - Silver Spring, MD
M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond

Kathleen: Love it! Service is a YES-business is exactly it.

Jon: That's what I thought, she didn't ask him to fly her to the moon! It's worse than bad service.. I don't even know what to call it!

Anthony: But we can hold ourselves to a higher standard!

Mike: Thanks! You would think, right? I just can't get over that anybody would leave a client hanging like that ... he is in the wrong business!

Russell: Thank you! I'm sure some people would argue my point but I firmly believe that customer service does not stop at the settlement table.

Scott: Loving your attitude and I'm right there with you! I don't want to accept the not-so-favorable image the public has of us but strive to make it a better one at all times.

Michael: Absolutely! It is sad that there are agents among us who forgot who this business is all about! But I'm confident that these are a minority!


Sep 09, 2011 02:57 AM #25
Stephanie Arnett
ERA Town & Campus Realty - Starkville, MS
SRS, IMSD, Broker Associate, REALTOR

Great reminder

Sep 09, 2011 04:24 AM #26
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Great post, I can see examples of each of those agents in my market.  I hope that more realize that there is more to this business than a paycheck.  Doing the right thing and putting people first is more important!  Thank you for sharing.

Sep 09, 2011 04:44 AM #27
Justin Dibbs
Pearson Smith Realty - Ashburn, VA
REALTOR® - Ashburn Virginia Homes for Sale

I don't work rentals but I ALWAYS put people in touch with an agent who can help them find something.  I never just say "nope, sorry I don't do that."  Hopefully any good agent would do the same.

Sep 09, 2011 06:14 AM #28
Michelle Francis
Tim Francis Realty LLC - Atlanta, GA
Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease


Well said.  Real estate is all about Customer Service.  If you want repeat and referral clients you MUST provide it.  Even though we don't show rentals frequently, if we had a clients home under contract, you BET we would be out showing them to make sure they were taken care of!!!! 

It's simple, which is sad that folks just don't get it. 

All the best, Michelle

Sep 09, 2011 07:37 AM #29
Paul Francis
Francis Group Real Estate - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Real Estate Agent - Summerlin Homes

Andrea - Thank you for the kind words. And yes... I did also find my clients a beautiful rental home to move into so they did not have to worry about being homeless. ;)

Sep 09, 2011 01:22 PM #31
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® - Silver Spring, MD
M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond

Stephanie: Thanks, I hope so!

Karen: It's sad, isn't it? We all seem to know someone who operates like that .. we can only try to outshine them with our service. Thank you!

Justin: That's the way it should be, unfortunately I learned that not every agent works like that/us.

Michelle: Thank you. It absolutely is! And I agree, very sad that some agents do not get it.

Richard: It's very nice to see you, too! Great customer service will always be rewarded, no doubt about it. It's shocking, however, how the ones providing bad service can still succeed. I hold myself to a higher standard and I know you do, too. Thank you very much Richard.

Paul: You are more than welcome! Your story was too good not to share! And good for you - no question that you are the type of agent who goes above and beyond.


Sep 09, 2011 02:37 PM #32
Don Barrett
Integrity Real Estate Services - Idabel, OK

Customer service is not a two letter word.. neither is it a four lette word.. It's the reason that we thrive. 

Sep 09, 2011 02:48 PM #33
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® - Silver Spring, MD
M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond

Hi Don, thank you for taking the time to read (mine and Paul's blog)! You are absolutely correct, service is the reason we thrive. Please tell me you have not heard an agent use one of those 4 letter words as part of their "service"?!

Sep 10, 2011 04:05 AM #34
Mary Yonkers
Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate - Erie, PA
Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor

Andrea--excellent suggestions!  Congratulations on earning Featured Post status. You have a gift of words and can say the same thing in a way the makes one stop and think.  Good job!

Sep 11, 2011 11:41 PM #35
Jerry Newman
Brown Realty, 210-789-4216, - San Antonio, TX
Texas REALTOR, San Antonio Military Relocation

Hi Andrea. Congratulations on another Featured Post. You have expressed Customer Service very well here. It does need to be a Gold Standard for all of us. I know if I don't want to do any rentals, I would not leave the customer hanging, but will refer them to others, who do an excellent job with rentals.

Sep 12, 2011 06:48 AM #36
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® - Silver Spring, MD
M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond

Thank you Mary, for your kind words. I appreciate it!

Jerry, thanks! Yes, we all should hold ourselves to a higher standard, the Gold Standard in Real Estate!

Sep 12, 2011 03:36 PM #37
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