Follow-Up. Your First Customer Service Test

Services for Real Estate Pros

I recently attended a Nicky Joy seminar. What a powerful speaker! Nicky had a phrase that was extremely relevant. "Follow-Up is your first customer service test."

How true! So many sales executives have trouble following up after a motivated buyer has graced their doorstep. With that being the case, one can only assume that all of those internet and phone leads are not getting the royal treatment they deserve.

Buyers are more than a little reluctant right now to walk through that door considering the economic climate. But they are still shopping! Add that to an already busy schedule full of soccer games, dance recitals and limited family time and it becomes obvious why doing their initial research on the web has become so prevalent. Your new customers are using the internet to shop, research, compare and narrow down their choices. Ultimately, they use the process of elimination to narrow down their selection to an average of 2-3 builders or homes. Then, they'll probably reach out to you digitally and ask those final comparison questions.

It is at this critical moment that you have an opportunity to gain-or lose-a customer. You are being tested. How you follow-up is setting the standard for both you and your company. Do you follow-up immediately? Do you follow-up professionally? Do you follow-up with a friendly and assisting tone? Consider these questions and then ask yourself if you would pass or fail the follow-up test.

I know that managing your current clients as well as new leads is time consuming. But I guarantee, that if you respond in a timely, friendly and consistent fashion, you will pass the customer service test and convert more of those internet shoppers into satisfied customers.

what is your average follow-up response time to that first lead?

Comments (12)

Tim Rogers
Coaches Corner Radio...The Real Estate Guy - State College, PA

It never occurred to me that follow-up is the first test of customer service but you are right about it.  It may be your only test of customer service depending on a variety of factors used during the follow-up (i.e. timeliness, ability to listen to the consumer, etc.).

Thanks for bringing it front and center.


Nov 24, 2008 01:28 AM
Tara Stone
eXp Realty - Alexandria Township, NJ
NJ Estates and Stables

I am always torn on wether to call or email first..but if it's a hot lead requesting specific info I try to respond  within 1 hour of receiving the lead.  The problem is sometimes I don't receive the lead from my manager until a day later.

Nov 26, 2008 12:58 PM
Mike Lyon
Edmond, OK

Tim - Your right. Gotta win them up front! It sets the tone for the whole transaction - plus it let's you have a few screw ups latter on...

Tara - Within 1 hour is awesome! I would try to get those leads sooner from your manager. Over 94% of custoemrs expect a response with 4 hours or less. So you are doing great.

Nov 26, 2008 11:55 PM
Kris Kombrink ~ The Kombrink Team
RE/MAX Excels - Chicago's Western Suburbs - Geneva, IL

Excellent question you pose here, Mike.  Our average response time is about 1-2 hours (even on weekends).  Then we use a drip campaign until they contact us directly.

Nov 27, 2008 07:02 AM
Mike Lyon
Edmond, OK

Kris- That is awesome! That's the goal - 4 hours or less.

Dec 01, 2008 12:14 AM
AMBER NOBLE GARLAND - Top Real Estate Expert, Property Tax Appeal Specialist & Author
Strategic Marketing Expert & Relocation Specialist Serving New Jersey and nationwide! - Marlboro, NJ
- The Agent You Can Trust To Deliver REAL Results!

I am pretty good with follow-up, but I am committed to doing better. Great post.

Dec 02, 2008 07:27 AM
Ryan Hukill - Edmond
ShowMeOKC Real Estate Pros of KW Elite - Edmond, OK
Realtor, Team Lead

Mike - you're right on the money my man.  Our followup time is generally within 20 minutes, but if we happen to be in meetings, etc, it may be as long as 2 hours.  Gee, seems like we've had this discussion a few times  :)

Dec 02, 2008 08:43 AM
Marie LaVoise, CENTURY 21 Platinum Properties
CENTURY 21 Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN

Mike -  Great points, I'm going to track the time of my follow-ups and set goals to do better. Thanks

Dec 02, 2008 02:17 PM
DeAndrea "Dee Dee" Jones
Found It, LLC - Manassas, VA

Great way to phrase it.  I do not like to be annoying but I like to remind them that I am ready to help.  It can be a hard balance.

Dec 03, 2008 04:35 AM
Eileen Begley
Coldwell Banker, DelMonte - Carmel, CA
Monterey Real Estate

If it is a phone call, usually within a few minutes in most cases. Email I am sometimes a bit slower and know I shouldn't be.  Second follow up totally depends on results of first contact. Hmm, probably should be almost as fast the second time, no matter what.

Dec 03, 2008 02:30 PM
Tony and Libby Kelly
Keller Williams Realty Portland Premiere - Lake Oswego, OR

So true.  Way too many realtors out there not only have really slow follow up but are terrible at returning phone calls in general.  I assume these are the ones dropping out in this market.

Dec 04, 2008 04:16 AM
Marjorie Taylor
Florida Homes Realty and Mortgage - Saint Augustine, FL
New Homes in St. Augustine Florida

I have had such great response when I reach a prospect on the phone the same day that they visited the model.  They are pleased and surprised that I have taken the time to thank them for visiting.

Feb 20, 2009 10:53 PM