In our last article, we introduced Laurie Weston Davis, co-founder of Geeky Girls, and Linda Davis, owner of Ledyard Realty, and began breaking down their one-on-one with Jimmy Mackin. We’ve already discussed how they are early adapters of new technology, but this time around we will be analyzing the unique customer service strategies that have helped them become successful.
Today agents have the perception that we do a great job and all of their clients love them. If that was the case, then we would be receiving more referrals from these clients and would be doing business with them again, but that’s not happening. This is becoming a trend because we have social networking sites where clients can speak with no filter about their experience with you. Can you talk a little about customer service and the role it plays in your business and how you are keeping it front and center?
Laurie says “When someone tries to contact you, please answer them. People always get leads online but never contact them. Being very responsive and treating every client like they’re your only client is huge.”
It’s important to remember that there are tons of other agents out there, but they decided to contact you. Every lead you receive should be top priority, not just an addition on your to-do list. Mackin recommends apps like Yesware that allow you to better manage your emails. This tool allows you to schedule when emails are to be sent and receive reminders to respond to the emails that periodically slip through the cracks.
Customer service is a crucial element to running a business because it’s how you keep customers coming back. Furthermore, if your previous clients are happy then there’s more of a chance that they’ll refer you to their connections.
But how do you do this when you have 300 transactions? When you’re working so much, how do you make sure that the expectations of acting on these leads are being set and being met?
“Listening, communicating and staying in touch. I always try to look at every transaction as being a teaching experience, always make sure they know what comes next in the home buying process. Especially with first time homebuyers, they have absolutely no idea what’s going on and even previous home owners still may have difficulty remembering the entire process. I try to walk them through everything so they feel comfortable and trust you” says Laurie.
The most frustrating aspect of buying a home from a consumer standpoint is simply not knowing. Not knowing what to do first, not knowing when certain documents need to be completed or even not knowing how long the entire process takes. All of this can be stressful for a potential homeowner that is making the biggest financial decision of their life, so reduce the late number of late night phone calls and emails by just keeping them in the loop. Linda explains that she sends “Here’s What Happens Next” letters and emails to each of her clients. These letters are step by step explanations of the home buying process that include the dates in which the homebuyer can expect to see progress being made.
They also offer helpful advice like directions to an attorney’s office or don’t forget to remove all paint cans before a showing. Although these hints may seem insignificant, they are things that many people forget to do and by bringing them up, it shows why you are the expert. The last key piece of advice that the ladies offer is to inform the client that problems will always arise, so don’t worry about them all.
Talk to me about customer service after the transaction, as an industry we do a pretty bad job of staying in touch. During the process you build a relationship and they begin to trust you, but when the transaction is done, you’re gone. What are your thoughts on this and what are you doing that’s working?
Laurie says that she uses the Real Satisfied tool as the first step in keeping her clients happy after the sale. This tool provides her clients with a survey for them to rate her agent’s performance during every step of the home buying process, which allows her to address any issues and fix them immediately. Mackin recommends using third party services like this because they make customers fill more comfortable providing their honest opinions, without the pressure of having a camera in their face.
In the weeks following a transaction, Laurie and Linda explain that they use the Happy Grasshopper tool to keep in contact with them. This follow up tool sends the client an email every three weeks that provides them with fun information with no regard to real estate. These emails generally have great opening rates and are a great way to stay top of mind.
Little touches like the ones used by Linda and Laurie are what have allowed them to operate successful real estate businesses. Take some of these tips and apply them to your own business to see if they benefit you as well. Come back for the conclusion of this discussion panel, where we will be discussing how Laurie and Linda have been using social media to stay connected with previous clients and to find new ones.