Real estate professionals should look outside the industry to learn the best techniques for customer service, a senior industry executive has said.
Julianna Forsyth, head of specialist divisions at Harcourts International, believes real estate agents can learn a lot from the car industry about how to create a positive experience for a client.
“Agents and property managers have got to realise that client service and customer service needs to be the one most important thing,” she told Real Estate Business at the recent PPM National Property Management Conference on the Gold Coast.
"I don’t want them to get confused between what a client experience is and what customer service is, because so many times they think customer service is going to fix everything. Well, it’s not going to fix a client's experience.
“Agents have got to go out there and make sure that every little part of a transaction with a client is flawless because any errors affect a client’s experience.”
According to Ms Forsyth, if a principal can perfect a client's experience then their business will benefit.
“If you really focus on a customer’s experience, it will change your business tremendously,” she added.
“Look outside the industry. Just 22 years ago the car industry and the real estate industry both had bad names for not looking after their clients, and right now the car industry is starting to do it really well, especially the high end car industry, and we should be keeping an eye on what they’re up too.”
From a product quality perspective at least, cars and trucks have improved dramatically, according to recent research by J.D. Power and Associates, a marketing information services company. Its 2012 U.S. Initial Quality Study, released on June 20, found the car industry is producing higher-quality vehicles, leading to fewer customer complaints, than ever before, led by Lexus.
Michelle Williams, managing director of @Home Property Management, and the national winner of the 2012 PPM Property Management Department Award, said it is the experience she creates for her clients that gives her the edge over her competition.
“I think it is our focus on customer service that really sets us apart,” she told Real Estate Business at the PPM Conference.
“Eighty per cent of our budget is purely focused on our clients and customers.
“We take it to the next level and try to give them an experience, unlike our competitors. We get to know our clients on a much greater level and by doing that I think we are offering a much more personalised service.
“For us it was about getting the recipe right, with the right clients and properties to attract the right tenants. That way we are able to be much more consistent across the board with our management, so I guess we had a recipe as such for property management where we felt we could sustain and maintain that reputation.”