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Customer Service Is Everything

I know we’ve all heard this before, but consider that “Customer Service is Everything” isn’t just some trite cliche that’s been tossed around in business circles. It actually is everything. The very first interaction we have with our customers sets the tone for their entire working relationship with us. We have an incredibly short window of opportunity to earn their trust and their business.

The main reason we invested in PropertyBase is because we know how much business we’re not earning by providing the best customer service possible. We’re all human. Things slip through the cracks. Some days we’re tired. Some days we tell stories about the ‘leads’ we’re getting. What we need is a simple, structured system that makes sure we provide the absolute best customer service possible. Now, we have it.

But even the best systems in the world still won’t replace the actual customer service. If they did, the real estate industry would have gone the way of travel agency business over a decade ago. We still need human interactions.

We know, very literally, that we’re leaving millions in dollars of sales to other brokerages… all because we’re not practicing basic customer service. All we have to do is respond in person to every lead and call everyone who leaves their phone number. It’s that simple.

For photo lead registrations… it’s a simple customer service call or e-mail. You’re not selling yourself and you’re not selling any properties. All you’re doing is making sure the customer was able to get their account set up ok and letting them know that you’re available, in person, to answer any questions they might have. We’re committed to being the main resource for real estate information in Hawaii, plain and simple.

Think about it. If you walked into a clothing store and the salesperson came up to you and started telling you all about why you should work with them to buy your clothes, wouldn’t you be turned off? And, just the same, don’t we sometimes say, “No thanks, I’m just looking” when really we’re expecting to buy clothes? Working with leads online is no different. All we’re doing is letting them know we’re there, that’s it. But we have to actually do it.

Now, in PropertyBase, we have a means to track whether we’ve actually done it or not. It’s simple. When you want send an e-mail, you press the little red gmail button on the contact’s record. That e-mail should be extraordinarily simple. Something like:

“Aloha Bob, thanks for using hawaiilife.com for your real estate search. I’m just checking in to make sure you were able to get your account set up ok so you could see all the photos. Did you have any questions about the property on the beach in Kailua?”

Short. Simple. To the point. Easy to read on a smartphone or wireless device. No novels about how great I am and why Bob should work with me.

Phone calls are just the same. If they leave a phone number, you absolutely must call, and use the ‘Log A Call’ button in PropertyBase. The call is basically the exact same as above. You’re just making sure they got their account set up ok. Don’t harrass them. Be prepared to get off the phone quickly unless they need additional help. Remember, it’s just a customer service call.

For those of you who don’t know the history about why we show 6 photos before requiring a customer to create an account, here’s why: In the world of online shopping, speed is extremely important. If you click on something interesting and it takes too long to load, you’re out of there and onto the next website. When hawaiilife.com first started, we realized that loading all of the listing photos at the same time took way too long, and customers wouldn’t wait. So, we set the system up to load 6 photos (from a faster MLS feed), and then once the user logged in, we figured they would be more willing to wait (for a slower MLS feed) to see the rest. It’s that simple.

So… respond to your leads. Log your calls. Provide good customer service. It’s the first step to earning their business.

 

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Ron Margolis

March 22, 2012

Thanks for the refresher.

Ron Margolis

March 22, 2012

Thanks for the refresher.

Erik Hinshaw

March 22, 2012

Amen. Really is that simple. I’ve had extraordinary success with this and I never send photos, never send a link to the mls, never talk about myself. I just say hi and I say it as quickly as I can. First to respond wins.Im also a bit superstitious. I never use a canned response even though I almost always say pretty much the same thing. Somehow I think they know….

Erik Hinshaw

March 22, 2012

Amen. Really is that simple. I’ve had extraordinary success with this and I never send photos, never send a link to the mls, never talk about myself. I just say hi and I say it as quickly as I can. First to respond wins.Im also a bit superstitious. I never use a canned response even though I almost always say pretty much the same thing. Somehow I think they know….

Brooke Derby R(S)

March 22, 2012

Great reminder Matt! Short & Sweet!

Brooke Derby R(S)

March 22, 2012

Great reminder Matt! Short & Sweet!

Randy Brummett Realtor® (A)

March 22, 2012

Thanks for taking the time to write this. Loved your salesperson in the clothing store analogy. Spot on!

Randy Brummett Realtor® (A)

March 22, 2012

Thanks for taking the time to write this. Loved your salesperson in the clothing store analogy. Spot on!

Winston Welborn

March 22, 2012

Well put Matt. Applying these simple principles will definitely reap rewards for our team and the company as a whole.

Winston Welborn

March 22, 2012

Well put Matt. Applying these simple principles will definitely reap rewards for our team and the company as a whole.

Todd W. Barrett, R(S), ABR

March 22, 2012

Thanks Matt. A great intro into the Hawaii Life model mindset for a new agent like myself.

Todd W. Barrett, R(S), ABR

March 22, 2012

Thanks Matt. A great intro into the Hawaii Life model mindset for a new agent like myself.

Sharon Brown

March 22, 2012

Realizing that I am not selling anything but providing a customer service has made me feel so much more relaxed when emailing or talking to the client. And, I believe, it shows and they become more relaxed as well. Thanks Matt.

Sharon Brown

March 22, 2012

Realizing that I am not selling anything but providing a customer service has made me feel so much more relaxed when emailing or talking to the client. And, I believe, it shows and they become more relaxed as well. Thanks Matt.

Tracy Stice

March 22, 2012

Now that we have the tools, we need to monitor the replies. Monitoring lead replies in Highrise has been highly humorous to say the least. I have read novels written by some of our agents on ” 1st replies “. Eric nailed with his method, fast and simple wins !

Tracy Stice

March 22, 2012

Now that we have the tools, we need to monitor the replies. Monitoring lead replies in Highrise has been highly humorous to say the least. I have read novels written by some of our agents on ” 1st replies “. Eric nailed with his method, fast and simple wins !

Annie Mendoza, (RS)

March 22, 2012

I needed this…big time! Mahalo Matt!

Annie Mendoza, (RS)

March 22, 2012

I needed this…big time! Mahalo Matt!

Diane Chavez

March 22, 2012

Less is more……

Diane Chavez

March 22, 2012

Less is more……

Byron Barth

March 22, 2012

Winston recently created a brilliant catch-term for Beth Holiday, “Relationshipping” My personal goal is to relation-ship Customer Excellence to all of our Clients and Associates as often as possible.

Byron Barth

March 22, 2012

Winston recently created a brilliant catch-term for Beth Holiday, “Relationshipping” My personal goal is to relation-ship Customer Excellence to all of our Clients and Associates as often as possible.

Katie Minkus, R(B)

March 22, 2012

I’d like to encourage everyone to read Erik’s response to this post again. And while you’re reading it, keep in mind that last year he closed 5 web leads to the tune of $2.5M, and this year he already has 5 more in escrow pending for about $3.5M. If you aren’t experiencing the same success, you might consider taking his advice. The proof is in the pudding, as they say…

Katie Minkus, R(B)

March 22, 2012

I’d like to encourage everyone to read Erik’s response to this post again. And while you’re reading it, keep in mind that last year he closed 5 web leads to the tune of $2.5M, and this year he already has 5 more in escrow pending for about $3.5M. If you aren’t experiencing the same success, you might consider taking his advice. The proof is in the pudding, as they say…

Julie Keller

March 22, 2012

Thank you!

Julie Keller

March 22, 2012

Thank you!

Jan Nores

March 22, 2012

Perfect, short & sweet, cause that’s the way I like it!

Jan Nores

March 22, 2012

Perfect, short & sweet, cause that’s the way I like it!

Jeanne E Buboltz

March 22, 2012

As Always, Matt….I enjoy getting the words of wisdom from you and the others. You all are so ‘Right on the Mark’. Mahalo! JeanneEB

Jeanne E Buboltz

March 22, 2012

As Always, Matt….I enjoy getting the words of wisdom from you and the others. You all are so ‘Right on the Mark’. Mahalo! JeanneEB

Kahea Zietz

March 22, 2012

I 100% agree. We practice this in the vacation rental division. If I am able to capture them while they are still “shopping” we have a 90% chance of them using our services. Customers are always thankful for the call and many comment on how many other agencies have ignored their request. Thanks Matt!

Kahea Zietz

March 22, 2012

I 100% agree. We practice this in the vacation rental division. If I am able to capture them while they are still “shopping” we have a 90% chance of them using our services. Customers are always thankful for the call and many comment on how many other agencies have ignored their request. Thanks Matt!

Margaret Reynolds, R(B), Broker-In-Charge

March 23, 2012

Great advice! Everyone needs to be told this and reminded of this often. Too many of us try to do and say too much or put it off until later because we think we don’t have enough time to respond immediately. As Erik said saying Hi and saying it quickly and being the first to respond wins. Thanks Matt.

Margaret Reynolds, R(B), Broker-In-Charge

March 23, 2012

Great advice! Everyone needs to be told this and reminded of this often. Too many of us try to do and say too much or put it off until later because we think we don’t have enough time to respond immediately. As Erik said saying Hi and saying it quickly and being the first to respond wins. Thanks Matt.

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