Turning Glitches, Hitches, Hiccups & Problems into Customer Loyalty

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Napa Consultants

How to Turn Glitches, Hitches, Hiccups & Problems into Opportunities to Build Customer Loyalty

 

All highly successful real estate marketing professionals understand the high cost of client acquisition and the importance of maintaining customer loyalty over time. But clients can be fickle. The same applies for broker-agent relationships. The slightest unresolved or ignored problem or hiccup in an otherwise flawless relationship can set the stage for customer disloyalty and cause agents to jump ship to your competitor.

 

The way you handle glitches, hitches, hiccups and problems, and the timeliness in which they are addressed is where the rubber meets the road in remarkable client (and agent) service. This last week provided us with an amazing study in contrast between remarkable customer service and extremely poor service. One company lost us as a customer before we received our first online order. The other company strengthened our customer loyalty to a brand that we have been raving about for years.

 

The Missed Opportunity

 

I (A) ordered an assortment package of various perishable food items online, inspired by the brand story of this start-up that we heard about on TV, i.e., by word-of-mouth advertising. On their website it states, “We ship via Fedex on Tuesdays. Your order will arrive on your doorstep Wednesday – Thursday”.

 

When the package did not arrive as promised, I notified the company by email and made a phone call to their customer service number. I got a recording that they would answer the call within one day.

 

But there was no email reply, nor was the phone call returned. When the package finally arrived on Friday, we refused it. I notified the company asking for a refund. “No refunds or returns. See our return policy on our website.” was the answer that came back! After politely reiterating that the delivery came one day later than what was promised on their website, I then had to call my credit card and stop payment. I also stated that we would alert the credit card company if they changed their mind about the refund, which they finally did. This glitch was an opportunity to turn us into raving fans. But it was too late.

 

The Golden Opportunity

 

Ron accidently broke his sunglasses, for the second time that we bought from our favorite brand. When we contacted them for the repair the estimate was going to cost as much (including postage and previous repair) as we had paid for this item in the first place. When I questioned the sturdiness of the glasses and the expense in an email, I received a long lecture explaining how we should use the item assuming we had misused it. In other words, this was clearly our fault.

 

We had praised this company in blog posts and also to our friends for years. Just as we were about to give up on this brand, the company sent another email to ask us if we were satisfied with their responses. I wrote back saying, I felt lectured rather than helped, and realized that this may be company policy. I also added that my brand loyalty was shaken. The next response I received was that they would take care of the repair at no charge to us. Loyalty restored!

 

Missed opportunity or Golden Opportunity? That is the question when it comes to handling glitches, hitches, hiccups and problems in your real estate practice or in your company.

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Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

 

CAN YOU STATE HOW YOU ARE DIFFERENT AND BETTER THAN YOUR COMPETITION IN LESS THAN 30 SECONDS?

 

ABOUT:  Luxury Real Estate is a high stakes game. Commissions are substantial! We help luxury real estate professionals get to the listing table more often and win listings more frequently.  If you want to be the market leader, the personal or company brand that your target market thinks of first and refers most often, you need an Elevator Statement to accelerate the process.  We can get you there!

Your Elevator Statement is a succinct and persuasive summary of your extraordinary promise of value, your unique selling proposition.  In a time-starved world the attention span of your target market is shrinking.  To instantly convey what sets you apart from the crowd you need to be able to answer EACH ONE of these 3 questions in less than 30 seconds.: 1) What Do You Do?; 2)  How Do You Do It?, and;  3) How Are You Different?.  Can you state how you are different and better than your competition in less than 30 seconds?

Watch the video above to see and hear how we do it. 

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Ambassador
3,748,357
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Ron and Alexandra- with the increase in social media and internet reviews it is even more important that companies take seriously their customer service practices. 

Apr 09, 2019 02:21 PM #11
Ambassador
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Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
RE/MAX Northwest. - Tacoma, WA
Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & Market Authority!

 I enjoyed reading your insights and thoughts about the subject of customer acquisition  and how customer service play such a large roll.  I already knew most of this from years of experience but it is also an eye-opener  none the less Alexandra....

Apr 09, 2019 02:34 PM #12
Rainmaker
4,277,245
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy

Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS many agents do not understand customer acquisition costs.  A good agent should be able to tell you how much it cost them to acquire a new customer...based on their marketing costs.  Once you acquired them, you have to keep them referring, and that also is a cost,  A

Apr 09, 2019 02:57 PM #13
Rainmaker
4,277,245
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy

Kathy Streib we will not put a negative review on line.  We will tell friends in asked about a certain business we had dealt with.  The negative reviews I have seen on line are for the most part rants and unfair criticism.  I saw a decent business in Santa Barbara, where we had good service driven out of business with Yelp reviews...We try to handle it "live" with a phone call or face to face.  A

Apr 09, 2019 03:02 PM #14
Ambassador
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Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Agree with you regarding negative reviews - to what end? If they are perpetually letting people down the problem will take care of itself. Conversely, it's better to handle it as you mention in comment #14 and give them a chance to make it good, if they don't, move on. 

Apr 09, 2019 04:23 PM #15
Rainmaker
4,277,245
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy

Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD when one spews negativity, they keep attracting more people that create negative experiences. And who needs that? 

Apr 09, 2019 04:28 PM #16
Rainmaker
3,150,964
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Well I had a situation the other day, we bought something and another website had it 30% less... too late I was not going to return it and start fresh.... instead I asked if they could price match... ABSOLUTELY NOT.... on the second note ready to offer me a 10% discount on my next purchase.... seriously had they offered me 25% - 30% I would have been fine.... but this way this company is off my list....Endre

Apr 09, 2019 11:14 PM #17
Rainmaker
2,803,342
James Dray
Fathom Realty AR LLC - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Morning Alexandra.

As I've said many times, customer service has left the building.  There are still some companies who offer exceptional customer service, but the list is getting smaller.

Apr 10, 2019 01:57 AM #18
Rainmaker
1,507,369
Amanda S. Davidson
Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group - Alexandria, VA
Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale

Alexandra, your points are always so well articulated. I had a similar experience with a meal prep service and we will never use them again because of late deliveries and no desire to correct the mistake. On the opposite side, I just had a wonderful experience with a seamstress who went above and beyond to have my wedding dress altered at the last minute. It will be a high priority for me to tell everyone I know about her. Hiccups are bound to happen but, how they are handled makes all the difference. 

Apr 10, 2019 04:49 AM #19
Rainmaker
2,939,140
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Good morning, Alexandra... truer words have not been spoken. If people paused and took two minutes to think about a problem or situation and how to handle it they could indeed convert more problems into golden opportunities instead of missed opportunities.

Apr 10, 2019 05:01 AM #20
Rainmaker
2,416,950
Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

Your words are so true, mistakes will always happen and when they do, it is such a great opportunity to show off how much you truly appreciate your clients/customers!

Apr 10, 2019 06:17 AM #21
Rainmaker
1,826,644
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good afternoon Alexandra - this is one thing that I stress.  You can win a customer back with even more loyalty if you quickly correct a mistake.

Apr 10, 2019 12:18 PM #22
Rainmaker
4,277,245
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy

Endre Barath, Jr. I would have done the same thing, that you did.  Those who price match reap the rewards of loyalty which is cheap when it comes to retaining a client. A

Apr 10, 2019 12:30 PM #23
Rainmaker
4,277,245
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy

James Dray we have culled our list, and we have a nice group of firms who understand the value of customer acquisition. A

Apr 10, 2019 12:32 PM #24
Rainmaker
4,277,245
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy

Amanda S. Davidson those meal prep services have such a low profit marging that so far no one has really made it.  So much competition with Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and other supermarkets who have meals ready to take out.  I was at one of our high end markets this morning, and they have brand new ready meal selections. that were well priced and great quality.  A

Apr 10, 2019 12:35 PM #25
Rainmaker
4,277,245
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy

Nina Hollander Just two minutes to really hear what is happening, and take one's ego out of it and understand that every client came as a result of one's marketing and hard work...A

Apr 10, 2019 12:36 PM #26
Rainmaker
4,277,245
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy

Brian England 

Well said, and we agree, and it gains you a customer for life.  A

Apr 10, 2019 12:42 PM #27
Rainmaker
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Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Great examples, Alexandra. We had an instance last when when a cord in our Hunter-Douglas blinds broke. We purchased the blinds about 7 years ago; a cord broke 3-4 years ago and H-D repaired it at no cost. Lo and behold, they again replaced the broken cord at no cost, even though we've had the blinds for 7 years. Do you think I appreciate them and refer clients to them? You bet I do!

 

Apr 10, 2019 08:20 PM #28
Rainmaker
391,425
John Wiley
Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty - Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Great post.

No action is most often taken as negative action. 

You are right, a hiccup can be turned into a positive. Action is required.

Thanks

Apr 11, 2019 03:44 PM #29
Ambassador
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Ron and Alexandra:

Those are great examples to illustrate the thesis of your post. It's so easy to ruin a good relationship, or destroy one before it really begins...valueable insights to bear in mind always in all that we do and say.

Jeff

May 09, 2019 05:30 PM #30
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