Whatever Happened to customer service in real estate?
A lot has changed since I started my career in 1999. Back then, the only way for a consumer to learn about homes for sale was through an agent or a sign in the ground for the most part. Today, consumers are inundated with information. With just a few clicks they are swamped with information. Some is good and some is bad. Much of it is automated. I have a love hate relationship with this type of tech. I always want to make sure a client gets what they are searching for, but I dislike the lack of personal touch it has. Take this newsletter for example-when I meet folks to discuss listing their home, many sellers comment on how personal I tend to write and that it’s appreciated. That really makes my day, but sadly, I am not always able to convey that with automated programs. To me, there is nothing like the real thing, which in this case in human interaction. I always prefer a phone call over an email or heaven forbid the dreaded text. I try hard to use a form of communication that allows the potential client the ability to get to know me. It also helps we decide if we are a good fit. Automation has a purpose and a place. That being said, many of today's new agents tend to rely more on automation and less on an actual phone call. I see it all the time. The other day, I had an agent actually send a text to make an offer. The agent didn't write up the contract, they just typed basic terms. When asked for a written offer, the response was “I’m very busy, your choice”. I about fell out of my chair. The real loser here is likely their client who has no idea how poorly their agent is conveying their offer. This happens more than I would like to admit. The same is somewhat true for large teams or “groups” that sell real estate. They lack personal attention and in many cases, the seller never even meets the agent responsible for selling their home. I don’t know about you, but if I hire someone, I expect them to be the person doing the job and not someone I have never met, especially when it’s as big an investment as my home! Ironically, they think this IS customer service when in fact, it’s a customer hand-off. Every agent can use a helping hand. I don't pretend that I do every little thing myself, but the difference is, when you need me, you can reach me. You never have to wade through a sea of hourly employees to get me in person. I provide each and every person my personal cell number. That’s because I am 100% accountable for my clients' satisfaction. Personally, I think many agents that have these systems that prevent direct contact to potential clients, end up losing business. I can tell you myself, that if I can't reach the agent directly when referring a buyer out of state, that agent does not get my business. At the end of the day, this is a customer service job. Those that excel, do well. Those that farm it out, will eventually find that when clients are ready to buy or sell again, those clients will be looking for a more hands on person that takes better care of them. We all want to feel like our business is important to the person we are working with. Many agents today want the buyer or seller to be given to them on a silver platter with check or listing agreement in hand. I think we all know that that’s not how it really works. Anything worth doing is worth doing right and usually take hard work to get the desired results. Technology should be a tool and not the only way your agent works. Need help?