I travel a lot with work and often frequent a coffee shop or two. The other day I entered a shop, it was busy but not so busy that there weren’t any tables free, but there was a big queue. It was evident that the barista was in training and therefore service was slow. A couple of people in front of me left, as they weren’t prepared to wait. We just expected a certain speed of service as a customer, don’t get me started on telephone services, press 1…. press 2 … You may nod in acknowledgement of these frustrations but imagine if this was your customers experience, what does it say about your agency?
I attended a Rightmove seminar when this topic was highlighted. How quickly do you actually respond to a daytime enquiry, shockingly only 20% of agents in the area I was present, responded within an hour. Don’t think this is unusual as this figure is represented up and down the country. Another shocking stat was the number of agents who failed to respond at all to an enquiry. So why, in our competitive industry, are we failing at the first hurdle? Surely we should be jumping on each and every enquiry?
There is a real lesson here, those agents that are investing in their client’s journey ensuring that effective communication is at the forefront of what they do, have seen the results in instructions and the bottom line. It doesn’t matter the size of your agency, todays mobile technology means that there is no excuse for not responding to each and every enquiry.
From a customer’s point of view, if you fail at this first point of call they are extremely unlikely to contract your services no matter how good your reputation in the area is. People may ring once, often twice, but they will certainly never call three times. I think sometimes we can get blinkered and so inwardly focused, that we often find it difficult to step back and see our service from a customer’s point of view. Never presume that they will understand, just accept or not care. They are selling their biggest asset so if they won’t wait in line of a coffee; they are certainly not going to wait for you to communicate at a speed they see less than acceptable.
If you respond quickly, this tells a potential client a lot about your business. This first interaction sets the tone for the rest of their dealings with you. They will already be forming an opinion and foundation of trust; this is essential for winning the instruction. Opposed to popular belief, vendors are not looking for the cheapest agent, they are seeking a level of professionalism and service that matches or exceeds their expectations.
Make new enquiries your priority and you will see a rise in the number of instructions. In our business the speed of service is key.