What is your return call policy ?

By
Real Estate Agent with The Somers Team at RE/MAX Access

I got a call last night from one of my investor clients who I referred to a management company.  He told me he had left messages with the representative from the management company three days in a row with no return call.  He commented sarcasticly that he wished they would do what I did when he called me - answer the phone !  I was infuriated because to a certain extent, the reflection is on me as it was my referral to him.

Whenever we meet with new clients, I always tell people that we have a same day return call policy.  Sometimes even a 4 hour return call policy !!  Being in sales, I think it is imperative to get back to both clients. leads and other agents within the same day.

What is your return call policy for your business ?

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Rainmaker
997,584
Rob Arnold
Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc. - Altamonte Springs, FL
Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F

If you don't return calls at least 2 to 3 times each day, then you are not in the service business.  You are in the no-service business.  I've intentionally fired quite a few service providers - title companies, mortgage brokers, etc. because they don't return calls in a timely manner.  If I leave you a voice mail or send you an email, I don't want to wait 3 days to hear back from you.  Anybody in real estate right now that can't return calls on the same business day is either way to busy or simply does not care.

Jul 25, 2008 11:45 PM #6
Rainmaker
985,858
Will Nesbitt
Nesbitt Realty at Condo Alexandria - Alexandria, VA
Nesbitt Realty is a family-run brokerage.

I very nearly always pick-up the phone, if only to say that I'll call you later.  That said, we do a some property management, so I feel for the property manager who did not call back promptly. I have some understanding because the margins in property managment are very low.

I don't advertise for property managment accounts, nor do I actively seek them out. But property management opportunities find me from time to time. 

I'm selective about what I add because I don't want my primary business or or existing clients to suffer as a result of a single troublesome property or landlord. 

I agree that it was rude not to call back and decline the business. But, here's the scenario I imagine. The property manager was none too thrilled with details of the account. The property manager had every intention of calling back. But ... that call never happened. He just got busy with some other property management detail. Sometimes, things just slip between the cracks.

The property manager owes you and your client an apology, but perhaps we owe the property manager the benefit of the doubt.

Jul 25, 2008 11:50 PM #7
Rainer
132,319
Jon Wnoroski
America's 1st Choice RH Realty Co., Inc. - Green, OH
Summit County Realtor

Service to your clients and potential customers is a must!  I try to return calls ASAP if I am unable to answer them when they come in.  People appreciate good customer service and appreciate the agent even more when they are responsive to their needs.

Jul 25, 2008 11:54 PM #8
Ambassador
769,686
The Somers Team
The Somers Team at RE/MAX Access - Philadelphia, PA
Real People. Real Dreams. Real Estate.

Rob - I agree that we are on a service industry period !  I think it sends a strong message for firing those companies because if they are doing it to you they are certainly doing it to clients and customers too.  I think as agents the stronger we are at service, the more successful we can be.  And how simple is it to just answer the phone or call back the same day ?

Will - Im with you that property management is a nightmare.  I know they receive a ton of calls.  But the way I look at is that I am a referral source and would expect my client to receive a return call within one of the 3 days.  Perhaps something slipped through the cracks - I called the owner of the management company on it so we see how it handled from here.

www.thesomersteam.com

Jul 25, 2008 11:55 PM #9
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The Somers Team
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Real People. Real Dreams. Real Estate.

Jon - totally concur.  I think it is what makes the better agents stand out amongst the rest.  The flipside is that if every agent was excellent at service, there would be more competition.

www.thesomersteam.com

Jul 25, 2008 11:57 PM #10
Rainer
30,122
Darin Haughie
Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell, Inc. (EWM) - Pinecrest, FL

I have a motto, I will return your call within 30 minutes  (9-9pm) or I leave a message of whom to contact (If I'm out of town) I talk on the phone everywhere..car ,while Kayaking, Water Parks, on the Boat, in the store, on the floor! Yes I do like green eggs and Ham! Seriously you HAVE to be available. When I started in this business a top producer told me... you want to be successful, then always pick up the phone!

Jul 26, 2008 12:01 AM #11
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The Somers Team
The Somers Team at RE/MAX Access - Philadelphia, PA
Real People. Real Dreams. Real Estate.

Darin - wow, that is an intense policy.  I like it !!!! Although my wife tells me that at certain points (such as a vacation) we need to turn the phone off : )

I like the motto too - so simple !  Who said to be succesful is hard ?

Jul 26, 2008 12:17 AM #12
Rainmaker
1,039,575
Charles McDonald
Charlottesville Real Estate Solutions - Charlottesville, VA
REALTOR®, Blogger, Principal Broker®, Owner

Simple rule ASAP! never leave a prospect or client hanging.

Your friend in Charlottesville!

Jul 26, 2008 12:23 AM #13
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The Somers Team at RE/MAX Access - Philadelphia, PA
Real People. Real Dreams. Real Estate.

Charles - your simple rule rocks !!!  The only time it is difficult is when we are drained from being on the phone all day : )

Jul 26, 2008 12:38 AM #14
Rainmaker
193,754
Mary Strang
Viroqua, WI

Yes... when drained from too many calls, it is hard to make the last one, but do it.

Jul 26, 2008 12:45 AM #15
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The Somers Team
The Somers Team at RE/MAX Access - Philadelphia, PA
Real People. Real Dreams. Real Estate.

Mary - good advice.  Sometimes that last call is the most important one.  If we have difficult calls I like to try to get them done first.  Can be a relief most of the time.

www.thesomersteam.com

Jul 26, 2008 01:00 AM #16
Rainer
33,354
Sara K. Braden
Bloomfield Homes - Fate, TX

I just read another post with a similar story.  In this market, I wish I could afford not to return calls!  Who are these people?!?  Doesn't everyone deserve the respect?  Thanks for posting.  Same day is a must for return calls!

Jul 26, 2008 06:30 AM #17
Ambassador
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The Somers Team
The Somers Team at RE/MAX Access - Philadelphia, PA
Real People. Real Dreams. Real Estate.

Sara - I could not agree more !!!!  Im about to return a few calls I just missed !  LOL

Jul 26, 2008 07:42 AM #18
Anonymous
Not Yet Licensed

Mary - good advice.  Sometimes that last call is the most important one. 

This comment about the last call is very true.  One of my clients on the east coast had a lead come through her website at 9:00 PM.  However she noticed the buyer was in CA, so she picked up the phone and called him right away.  He was surprised to hear from her and even made a point about the long hours she worked.  Turns out that he's an investor.  He was so impressed by her prompt call that he eventually did about $2M worth of business with her.

Jul 26, 2008 08:12 AM #19
Rainer
78,168
David Slavin
Keller Williams Premier - Katy, TX
CDPE, ABR, SRES Keller Williams Premier

I don't have a call return policy because I almost always answer the phone.  Many people including clients and other agents have commented to me that they can always get me.  One of my clients just yesterday told me that they appreciated me always answering the call and their questions right away.

In today's world of service, everyone has the fastfood mentality.  If they can't get their call/question answered NOW, they get upset.

Jul 26, 2008 09:36 AM #20
Ambassador
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The Somers Team
The Somers Team at RE/MAX Access - Philadelphia, PA
Real People. Real Dreams. Real Estate.

Agreed that the last call is very important... basically to return all the calls !

David - that is great that you always answer the phone... but what about when 3 calls come in at the same time ???  I try to pick up the phone most of the time but utilize the voicemail for time efficiency.  I get a lot of calls off signs and other agents that are kinda meaningless type calls but still important because you never know how important it could be !!! LOL

www.thesomersteam.com

Jul 26, 2008 09:45 AM #21
Rainer
184,664
George Tallabas
RE/MAX Advantage - Nampa, ID
Idaho Real Estate

Great post Christopher and Stephanie and as I mentioned on my post My #1 Lead Generation Tool that you commented on, communication is everything. I know have an investor that is going to buy 150 homes from now to the end of the year.  This investor told me that before he was referred to me that he had called 4 Realtors in the past month and only 1 Realtor returned his call 2 days later.  This investor told me I am the first Realtor that returned their calls promtly.  This just blows me away how much business Realtors are loosing because they don't place importance on the value of returning calls promtly. 

Jul 27, 2008 10:17 AM #22
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The Somers Team
The Somers Team at RE/MAX Access - Philadelphia, PA
Real People. Real Dreams. Real Estate.

George,

It is amazing how much business realtors lose by not returning calls or following-up.  The good news for us is that if every agent did that in our specific areas, there would be more competition !

I worry sometimes that if I did not get a chance to call someone back (was sick, on vacation...etc) that it might be too late !  I can have a bit of ocd sometimes !! : )

Philadelphia Real Estate

Jul 27, 2008 10:26 AM #23
Rainer
27,869
Ken Land
Fairway Independent Mortgage - Weddington, NC
NMLS#108157

This is so TRUE - someone calls you - rtn the call.  A simple rtn call takes mins.  Even if you have something else going on, there is no reason you can not call, find out what it is they need, let them know you will need to check on it and get back to them.  It so amazes me how many people just do not get the importance of the phone call.  During the day - I live on my phone if I need to.  Its just what we do. 

Aug 08, 2008 04:09 PM #24
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The Somers Team
The Somers Team at RE/MAX Access - Philadelphia, PA
Real People. Real Dreams. Real Estate.

Ken,

LOL - give me a computer and a phone and I can work all day and do a ton of business without meeting a soul that day.  These days, just need a phone with a Blackberry !

Philadelphia Real Estate

Aug 08, 2008 04:31 PM #25
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