3 Surprisingly Simple Ways to Provide Excellent Customer Service

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Broadpoint Properties Cal BRE #01324959

clientsHome buyers, home sellers, and even agents call me all the time to ask my advice on some real estate matter. These aren’t necessarily homebuyers or home sellers that I am already working with, and these aren’t agents from my own brokerage. These are people who’ve come across my name or heard that I have expertise in a specific area and they seek my advice. I’m eager to help, and the questions are usually pretty straightforward and can be answered in just a few minutes.

Usually, if the caller is a buyer or seller, I ask whether the caller is already working with a real estate agent in his or her community. Or, if the caller is an agent, I ask whether the caller has spoken with his or her broker before giving me a call. It’s funny, but in most of these situations, the caller makes some sort of disparaging remark about his or her agent or even the broker. Often times, the caller says that the agent is not available or has not had time to return the phone call.

It is because of these disparaging remarks that I often wonder: If what sets a good agent apart from a not-so-good agent is merely answering the phone or making time for a client, then it shouldn’t be too hard to be that special agent, that classy agent that provides amazing customer service.

3 Ways to Beat the Bunch with Customer Service

It seems to me that there are several things that agents can do in order to create that awesome relationship with their clients; some of these suggestions are just as easy as answering the phone and making time to meet a client. Here are three ways that agents can stay classy:

  1. Never defer to email when delivering bad news. Didn’t get the property of their dreams? Didn’t get approved for the loan? Foreclosure date was not postponed? Buyer is backing out of the deal? Those are all messages that need to be delivered in person or on the telephone: not in a phone message, not over email, not by an assistant, and definitely not via text.
  2. Admit what you don’t know. A huge component of a real estate agent’s success is due to his or her trustworthiness. This means that people can depend upon you because you are honest and effective. As such, you need to tell people what you know and what you don’t. Don’t take a commercial listing if don’t have experience in that area, and don’t promise that you can get a short sale approved if you’ve never negotiated one before. Instead, explain to your prospective client that something is not within your area of expertise, and that you would not want home or her to be disappointed if you could not deliver. So, you would be more than happy to refer them to an excellent specialist that can assist them.
  3. Handle rejections with poise and self-control. Sit on your hands or tape your mouth shut, if necessary. I once had an agent get so angry about the negotiations that he said, “Put your money where your mouth is.” Instead of spitting bullets, accept the facts as hurdles on the road to success. You can go around them or you can jump over them. But, don’t stop and definitely do not throw a temper tantrum.

When dealing with objections (no matter who you are dealing with), you will have great success if you can leave your drama at the door. Like Ron Burgundy says, “You stay classy, San Diego.”  


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Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

Great advice.  When it comes to anything negative -- we should be dealing with in person or with a personal phone call.  Anything but that is not classy.

Aug 17, 2016 03:55 AM #15
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

I really enjoyed this blog--especially the advice to deliver bad news via phone call--not text or email.  THanks.

Aug 17, 2016 10:32 AM #16
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

I'm shocked there aren't more comments here.  I've also heard the same feedback from others and apologize on behalf of our industry.  Sad that we have to do that!  No guts, no paycheck!

Aug 18, 2016 02:49 AM #17
Shirley Coomer
Keller Williams Realty Sonoran Living - Phoenix, AZ
Realtor, Keller Williams Realty, Phoenix Az

Great advise and so simple to do.  Communication is the key.  Bad news in person (or at least via phone) is always the best practice.  It allows the recipient to ask questions directly and to help their understanding.  Sending a note back and waiting for a replay when you receive bad news is frustrating.

Aug 20, 2016 12:50 AM #18
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce

Emotional control and maturity are wonderful things...and unfortnately have

nothing to do with age...sigh.

Aug 20, 2016 01:52 AM #19
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

The differing to email is ila very good idea overall! Love and light and all the best!

Aug 20, 2016 05:37 AM #20
Jennifer Mackay
Counts Real Estate Group, Inc. - Panama City, FL
Your Bay County Florida Realtor 850.774.6582

Great advice - IMO admitting when you don't know but will find out is a sure sign of Professionalism! Thanks for sharing Melissa Zavala and congratulations on the feature

Aug 20, 2016 05:37 AM #21
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Sorry for the typos as I'm typing pretty quickly today. All the best!

Aug 20, 2016 05:38 AM #22
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

We don't know what we don't know because we don't know that we don't know it lol.

Aug 20, 2016 05:39 AM #23
Jessie Cochran
Counts Real Estate Group, Inc. - Panama City, FL
Panama City Realty Group

Poise and self-control - that should be the Mantra for all real estate agents everywhere! Well done on the feature Melissa Zavala and the article!

Aug 20, 2016 05:48 AM #24
Kathleen Daniels
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist

Melissa,  I boil all of this down to just being real ... its okay to not know the answer to all things ... and we darn well better know where to get answers and follow up and follow through in a timely manner.  Congratulations on the Feature! 

Aug 20, 2016 07:53 AM #25
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

And when we do this Melissa Zavala - we become GASPworthy, as Jeff Dowler mentioned in his post...

Aug 20, 2016 02:43 PM #26
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Great advice, Melissa.  I see the text/email thing way too often.  Where is people's common sense.  Bad news or issues need to be discussed.

Aug 20, 2016 09:07 PM #27
Bruce Kunz
C21 Solid Gold Realty, Brick, NJ, 732-920-2100 - Howell, NJ
REALTOR®, Brick & Howell NJ Homes for Sale

Hi Melissa Zavala. This certainly is a great reminder to us of what should be in our everyday 'toolkit'. Thanks for sharing & Have a Great Day!


Aug 21, 2016 04:45 AM #28
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA


The hardest thing to do is to call a client to tell them they did not get the house.  But, there are no two ways about it, you must make the call.  

Aug 21, 2016 02:05 PM #29
Mike Bjork
Pinnacle Home Loan - Redondo Beach, CA

I agree, Melissa.  I've always thought that if I can provide the good news via the phone or in person, then I definitely need to be there for them when the news is not so great.  It's definitely building that relationship and empathizing with their needs and wants (and of course, delivering on it).

Aug 22, 2016 05:48 AM #30
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Glad to see you getting so much traction on this one! All the very best and keep doing what you're doing

Aug 23, 2016 04:24 PM #31
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Phone calls always work better in my experience as well. There really isn't a substitute,

Aug 23, 2016 04:26 PM #32
Derrick Guevremont
Counselor Realty of Rochester - Rochester, MN
Rochester MN Homes for Sale

The social skills people have are going down the tubes in this country.  Excellent points and advice in this post.

Aug 25, 2016 09:05 AM #33
Chris Ward
loanDepot - Park Ridge, IL
Loan officer licensed in IL, WI, CA, FL, VA, NC

Great information, thanks for sharing.   Answering the phone will set you apart from the competition.  I had this reinforced last week.   I took a call late Wednesday evening, the day before Thanksgiving.  Agent needed a pre-approval letter and the buyers lender was on vacation until Monday.  Picked up a new client and further strengthened the relationship with the agent.  Availability is a difference maker in this business. 


Dec 03, 2016 06:50 AM #34
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Melissa Zavala

Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County
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