Think about some of the best people or businesses you have worked with in the past. Without even knowing it, they probably excelled at customer service. When most people think about the real estate business, customer service isn’t something that immediately comes to mind. However, it is much more important than you think. There are a few real estate customer service tips that everyone should know about. With all of the competition out there, you need to separate yourself from the pack. One of the ways to do this is by delivering excellent customer service every day. This should be done not only on the deals you are part of but ones that elude you as well. What is excellent customer service in the real estate world? Here are five examples.
- Responsiveness. One of the biggest pet peeves in the real estate industry is with a lack of responsiveness. There is no excuse not to return a call, text, or email in a timely fashion. In this day and age of increased technology, you should be able to get back to someone in a few hours. Anything less is a sign that you are either too busy, too unorganized, or you don’t care enough about the person to return their call. Neither one of these is very good for your reputation. The average length of a return call is typically less than 60 seconds. Regardless of who you are, you can find 45 seconds to answer a quick question or put someone at ease. Even if you don’t know the answer, you should let everyone know. The worst thing you can do is to keep your buyer, seller, attorney, business partner, mortgage broker or fellow investor in the dark. Make a habit to return any communication as quickly as possible.
- Honesty. Are you trustworthy? Do you do what you say you are going to? Are you willing to blur the lines of ethics on a given deal? People in business often put a premium on how honest you are rather than how well you can get things done. No deal is worth going to jail over or ruining your reputation. By trying to squeeze a few extra thousand dollars on a deal you can do much more harm than good. It may sound cliché but your word is your bond. If you are not trustworthy and honest on a deal, there is very little chance anyone involved will want to work with you in the future. It is important to take a few extra minutes before you get too far into a deal and commit to something you aren’t comfortable with. Once you put your word to something, you are going to be held to it. The more honest and forthright you are, the greater the chance someone will want to work with you in the future.
- Reliability. Nobody wants to hear about how much business you close. They would rather work with someone who under promises and over delivers. If you boast to a fellow investor that you have twenty leads a month, you better be able to back that up. People like to know what they are getting when they work with someone. If you say you are going to be somewhere, you had better show. If you prove to be unreliable, there are several other investors in your area to turn to. This doesn’t mean you have to make an offer on every property you see, but once you commit, you need to back it up. There are several investors and real estate agents who are skeptical working with a new investor. The best way to put them at ease is by being as reliable and consistent as possible. This won’t happen overnight. It will take a series of small events to slowly build up trust. Once you prove reliable and trustworthy, you will slowly find yourself with more deals.
- Follow up. A large part of customer service is staying in touch with your customers. In the real estate world, your customers are often your business partners. Every real estate agent, attorney, mortgage broker, wholesaler and fellow investor should be treated as a business partner. This means staying on top of the relationship and finding time to reach out to them. Every time a new lead comes your way, you should stay in constant contact with your lead source. Even if it doesn’t close, you should be thankful that they thought of you. From there, every few weeks you should give them a call, email, text, or stop by their office. By following up, you stay on their mind if and when they get their next deal. If you ignore them and don’t follow up you can’t expect any business in the future.
- Consistency. People like to work with people they want to be around. You should try to remain even keel regardless of the situation. If you come into a meeting screaming and yelling one day and pleasant the next people won’t know who they are getting. Everyone has days that are better than others but your mood can’t reflect it. Nobody should be intimidated to call you if they have a question. If they feel you are going to jump down their throat they will find someone else to work with. Consistency is key in everything you do in business. By being too much of a risk factor to work with you will lose the faith of the people around you.
How you interact and communication with the people in your network is important in growing your business. Every phone call you make or email you send is being judged by someone. Always focus on customer service with everything you do. It is that important.