Starr Partners CEO Douglas Driscoll said that customer complaints in property are fast on the rise, but it’s not that real estate standards have dropped. Here are his four principles to better manage client expectations in a changing market.
1. Implement a customer service charter
Mr Driscoll said that, as a principal or manager, developing clear customer service standards will have an enormous impact on the success of your business.
“By putting in place a written charter that defines the purpose, scope and standards of your agency’s commitment to customer service, it will ensure both your agents and customers know what to expect,” he said.
“In turn, your charter will define greater transparency around the customer process.”
2. Improve your customer on-boarding process
Getting your on-boarding process right is essential for making sure that new customers feel valued and supported by your company, Mr Driscoll said.
He said that there are tangible gains to be made from a focus on customer relationship management, such as loyalty and customer retention.
“It’s likely that your real estate agency will be more profitable as a result. Research shows that up to 70 per cent of customer complaints could be avoided if there were better on-boarding processes.”
3. Develop KPIs around customer service and experience
Tracking performance is key to improving it, Mr Driscoll said, so it’s crucial for a principal or manager to put in place measures that will help them drive business success.
“Setting networking, listings and client communication targets is a good place to start,” he said.
“Developing a short survey to send to buyers or vendors after they have bought or sold with your agency to gather customer feedback for your agents is another way to measure client satisfaction.
“These days, clients expect agents to offer them not just market information but local knowledge. Developing KPIs for agents around building area knowledge, and even getting involved in a local cause, is crucial to retaining the maximum number of clients as possible.”
4. Embrace technology
Mr Driscoll said that, according to research, 85 per cent of customer interactions will soon be managed without a human.
He added that, as cutting-edge companies turn to artificial intelligence and other technologies to transform how they interact with customers, the real estate industry must also begin deploying a variety of technology-enabled solutions to strengthen the customer experience.
“Taking advantage of online virtual offices, setting up interactive surveys, improving customer’s mobile app experience, and ensuring timely and effective handling of customer enquiries are good places to start.
“The challenge for agents is maintaining a personal connection with their customers and a nuanced understanding of their needs, while ensuring the highest standards of personalisation, choice, speed of delivery and quality in every interaction.”