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.