- Now that tech has infiltrated our personal and professional lives, it’s time for customer service and support to catch up.
- We say “business is business” —but it’s personal. The biggest indicator of whether a customer will refer you is the quality of your service and their experience.
- Great customer service and support can drive new business —but bad customer service has consequences, too.
- Get everyone on the team involved to make sure you’re not just getting new customers, but are keeping them!
Now that we’ve all crossed the line and have become tech junkies in our personal and business lives —customer service and support better catch up with all this unbelieveable innovation and creativity that we are creating.
Customer service is at the heart of every enterprise, and real estate is certainly no exception. As a matter of fact, in most cases well over half of our clients come from people that love doing business with us passing on referrals. The single biggest indicator for whether a customer will recommend your services is the quality of those services and the experience of working with you.
We say “business is business”, but in fact —that’s bulls#*! —business is personal. Every decision that’s ever made has to do with the personal experience you’re having in that moment.
We know that good customer service is a driver for getting new business. It also creates a long-lasting relationship that will lead to repeat business. Good customer service is about competence and energy, to be sure, but what’s really important is how comfortable it makes the customer feel. A commercial agent wrote on Realtor.com:
“Providing great Customer Service had nothing to do with easy to remember 800 numbers and even less to do with undercutting other investment companies on price points. What real estate investors really want in today’s investing environment is competence, intelligence, transparency and availability. They want to do business with people that help them feel comfortable with making investment decisions in such a different real estate environment. Do you do that?”
We have a pretty good idea of what good customer service looks like, but what are some hallmarks of really poor service? Here are some, uncovered by an American Express survey:
- Automated self-service
- Long wait times
- Poor attention
- Inexperienced agents
You may be able to add to this list from your own experience. Most bad customer service has to do with a lack of responsiveness, pure and simple. The survey indicated that customer service agents fail to answer 50% of customer questions, and the rate for follow-up on inquiries is even more dismal.
What we can’t allow technology to do is take away personal connections —they are, after all, why we all exist on this planet. You will never be as successful by just sending an email or text over the long run, as you would with a personal touch.
The Consequences of Bad Service
#1. Financial Loss
There are some very real costs associated with poor customer service. In hard numbers, American Express offered the following sobering figures. Bad service has these costs annually:
- $84 billion in the U.S.
- $338.5 billion worldwide
#2. Lost Business
Obviously, bad service is the quickest way to lose customers, but the extent to which this happens may surprise you. Of the respondents, 78% had ended a business relationship due to bad service, and 61% had gone to a competitor because of poor customer service.
#3. Loss of Referrals
Losing customers has implications for future business as well. There is zero chance of those customers providing you with a referral. As we’ve noted, this represents a huge portion of our new business in real estate.
#4. Diminished Opportunity
It doesn’t take long for the word to get around, and once your firm becomes known to provide low quality service, it will affect all of your business relationships. Top firms want to partner with companies that do things right, and a reputation for sloppy customer service will get you dropped from their list of potential collaborators.
Customer service and support is critical. It doesn’t take huge amounts of time or capital to improve service. The key ingredients are awareness and intention. Be responsive, and make small changes that address your clients’ immediate needs.
It is very difficult to create new clients and relationships —but it is super simple to lose them if you’re not doing the right thing. So, in my view, customer service, client acquisition, and even sales needs to be combined in a way that ensures you’re not just getting customers —but are keeping them!
It’s much harder to get fired when someone actually likes you as a person. Use personal connections to take your customer service and support to the next level.