Franchise boss sounds alarm about terrible service

One real estate executive has said her “level of frustration with agents is at an all-time high” after a series of negative house-hunting experiences.

Harcourts’ chief executive for Victoria, Sadhana Smiles, said she found that many agents lacked basic customer service skills while recently helping a friend search for an apartment.

“I have had to become a customer in our industry and my experience with agents, regardless of the brand they represent, has been nothing short of disappointing,” she wrote in a blog for Real Estate Business.

Ms Smiles said she had been frustrated by agents making basic mistakes such as not having section 32s on hand and not asking her what she thought of a property she had just viewed.

She said there had also been instances in which agents had ignored her at open homes and failed to make follow-up calls.

“If agents cannot do simple follow-up calls and provide information in a timely way, how will they get the absolute best price for their vendor?” she said.

“Delivery of exceptional service isn’t hard. Technology is not the answer: picking up the phone and having a valuable conversation is.”

Ms Smiles said the poor service had left her with mixed feelings.

“On the one hand, my level of frustration with agents is at an all-time high,” she said.

“On the other, however, it makes me realise that the competition in our marketplace is perhaps easier to beat then we realise.”

Ms Smiles advised agents to secretly analyse their rivals by having friends attend their open homes.

“Guaranteed, it is most likely to be similar to mine, and this provides you with the opportunity to deliver not just higher levels of service and follow-up, but use this experience and knowledge in listing presentations,” she said.

“If I have experienced this level of service in the short time I have been on the market, it fills me with dread to think what the general public's experience is.”

[Related: My disappointing experience as a real estate customer]

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