“The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” – William James
Getting a customer in real estate today can be as tough as a $3 steak. But keeping the customer can be tougher than a $1 steak.
Competition has crept in from every corner and the market grows more and more crowded every day. What’s more, customer expectations are always on the rise. They want more, better, faster – all the time.
It’s a fact not lost on businesses of all types. And some forward-thinking and super innovative companies (Zipcar, Dun & Bradstreet, and Visa are among them) are already ahead of the curve by going beyond customer service and creating “customer success” departments. In essence, the job of these departments is to ensure:
- Customers are the absolute number one priority at every turn
- The company consistently delivers above-and-beyond all customer expectations — even if it takes more time or money to do it
- Customers have an amazing experience when they engage with the company.
Think of the old saying “under promise and over deliver” and then stir in lots of steroids. The end goal is this: make the customer experience so good that they will stick with the company until they die. Businesses – the good ones at least – know it’s much smarter to do what’s necessary to keep a customer than to attempt to win back a customer who’s left.
This customer experience trend is real – backed by research. Salesforce.com, a sales software company, surveyed 3,500 companies for its recent fourth annual state of marketing report and says nearly two-thirds are adopting customer experience efforts.
Other revelations from Salesforce’s research:
- Over the past 18 months, 64 percent of marketing execs said their company had sharpened their focus on customer experiences because of changing customer expectations.
- About 65 percent of consumers said they’d switch vendors if a seller didn’t personalize customer experiences.
- A whopping 89 percent of consumers say they want companies to better understand their needs and expectations.
What these statistics say to me is this: Realtors need to get serious about making their customers’ experiences more than memorable – they need to make their experiences astounding.
So, how do you make their experiences astounding? Here are some tips:
Be proactive, not reactive – Up until now, the world of customer satisfaction has been about reacting to problems customers had. But today, in the new “customer experience” economy, it’s about preventing problems by ensuring the experience is not only problem-free, but also, as I mentioned earlier, astounding. To do that, carefully map out the journey customers have with you, from the first time you meet them and then at every contact point afterwards. This will help you think ahead to prevent problems.
Keep the focus on the customer at all times – I know, the world of real estate is crazy and things pop up all the time and it’s easy to get distracted and lose focus on the customer. But remember, it’s ultimately the customer who pays the bills. Keep a reminder on your desk, on your phone, in your car — something as simple as a post-it note with “The customer is always #1.” Or, before you do anything, ask yourself this question: “How will this help my customer?” When you take care of the customer, other problems take care of themselves.
Do a weekly research on “above and beyond” service – The beauty of living in the information age is, well, there’s a lot of information out there. So take a little time each week to find some examples of how other Realtors (and other businesses) are taking customer experiences to the next level and then up your game with what you find.
Let me hear from you. How are you creating great experiences for your customers? Is there room for improvement? Do you think your business would improve if you were able to make the experiences better for your customers?
Bubba Mills is the CEO and owner of Corcoran Consulting and Coaching Inc. an international Real Estate, Mortgage and Small Business coaching company committed to helping clients balance success in business, while building value in life.