5 Things Agents Can Do To Improve Communication
Throughout a real estate transaction, there's a lot of communication by a lot of involved parties. Buyer, seller, buyer's agent, seller's agent, buyer's agent's transaction coordinator, seller's agent's transaction coordinator, escrow, title, insurance, lender, HOA, etc, etc ---- it can get messy and inboxes can quickly get cluttered. In working for years with some of the very best (and I'd argue a few of the worst!) communicators, there are a few things that some people do very well that require a little up front work that make each and every transaction they're a part of run more smoothly.
Typically, little things like these 5 tips are ways agents scale their business with systems that lead to stellar service. Here are 5 tips based on things our team has seen that we love, and in part based on things we wish more people would do to help us save time and streamline communication during a purchase transaction.
1. Put your phone number in your cell phone email signature
Getting a reply with a signature reading "sent from 'insert phone carrier service here'" is better than no reply - but if I need to call you and all I have are the emails you send, it would be helpful (for me, your customers, and anyone else needing to reach you) to have quick access to your number
My mobile email signature is simple - my name, and my phone number. And since it's sent via email, anyone receiving it has immediate access to my phone number and email. This makes getting a hold of me easier, and if you're an agent, it'll work to improve the customer experience for you, too.
2. Complete the contract with contact info
If there's a space in the purchase contract for your contact info, complete it with the best information to contact you. If you use a direct phone number, don't put the office number (unless where required by law). If you use a team email, don't put your personal email. Complete the contract in a way that provides any/all info that others involved in the transaction can use to reach you.
3. Outline who does what
So you're a high level producer with a high level team? That's great! Create a one pager you can send to anyone working with you on a transaction that outlines who everyone is, and what they do. You want me as a lender to communicate 100% with a TC? I need to know who they are. An issue comes up with an appraisal - am I reaching out to you or one of your associates?
Outlining who does what on the team promotes your team members and can streamline communication without cluttering everyone's inbox.
It's important to remember when working with others (eg me as a lender), I work for the client - if you send an email to me and the email has a ton of people cc'd with various emails (eg 'firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com) I'm not going to reply all without knowing who those people are, specifically. Want all communication going to everyone? Create a team email, "firstname.lastname@example.org" that goes to everyone on your team. We can't (and won't) work with people we don't know considering a lot of buyer information is personal and private.
4. Check (and delete) voicemails (better yet, answer the phone!)
I understand people aren't always available to talk. I'm not either! But in transactions where time is of the essence, sometimes a call is the best way to address situations that pop up along the way, versus an email that you may or may not see immediately. And voicemail is an important tool - nothing is more annoying that calling someone that uses their cell phone for business and hearing "the voicemail is full". Can we text? Sometimes. Can we email? Perhaps. But to maximize your customer service experience for everyone, it's important to remove as much friction as possible. Keeping your voicemail available helps keep things frictionless. Or better yet, answer the phone. The most successful (and busy) people I know answer their phones.
5. Create and send a contact form
One of my favorite parts about doing business in the state of Colorado is that they're the only state we work in that includes a Contact form as a part of the initial contract. We receive a document outlining all of the involved parties and their contact info. This is immensely helpful as it saves us time digging through the contract, HOA paperwork, and hunting down title/escrow information. Though it's not a part of a contract in any other state we do business in, I'd argue every agent should have this form when they go under contract, as it brings everyone together and ensures everyone has everyone else's contact info, which is super helpful throughout a transaction.