CUSTOMER SERVICE IN THE REAL ESTATE SECTOR
Every entrepreneur understands that the customer is the life wire of any business.
Every business starts with customers and ends with customers. Therefore a business exists in order to meet the customers’ needs and ensure that they are satisfied to the core. That is why every entrepreneur understands that the customer is the life wire of any business.
According to The ACA Group, “customer service is the ability of an organization to constantly and consistently give the customer what they want and need. They further defined excellent customer service as the ability of an organization to constantly and consistently exceed the customer’s expectations”. One of the authors of “Raving Fans”, Ken Blanchard also said “good customer service means looking after every whim of the customer but only within the window you have defined as your particular customer service product.” In other words, customers’ needs and expectations should be met and exceeded in the line of the service product which your business provides.
Customer service is not just improving customer satisfaction, it also creates an enabling environment for employees productivity to thrive and beneficial. Modern day customer service also focuses on employees, the workplace and the way they carry out their assignments.
The business of real estate offers the following services ranging from Estate Agency, Asset Valuation and Advisory services, Property Management, Facility Management, Property Development, Project Management and so on. It is expected that clients or customers demand the best practices from firms in this sector. Customer service principles are the same in every sector but different in their methods of approach in relation to their kind of business. According to Micah Solomon a Forbes contributor said “there’s no industry where customer service is more essential than it is in the real estate“.
Customer service as being practised nowadays leverages on technology.
From job sourcing, job execution, customer satisfaction follow up complaints and solving issues relating to customer satisfaction all are carried out through the use of technology. Nigerian firms are also not left behind. In a conversation with one of the Estate firms in Nigeria, it was revealed that their customer service is been outsourced. Drafting a manual called “Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) which the customer service firm uses. The manuals are guidelines and template they use in carrying out their various professional services thereby directing every client or customers’ dissatisfaction to the outsourced agency’s email address directly. Then the customer service company sends feedback to their quality assurance that analyzes the situation to see if the feedback will affect their brand name. If it does, they immediately visit or write the customer an apology letter and do the needful as fast as they can.
The essence of customer service is to drive productivity, improve companies’ efficiency and effectiveness, boost profit and in the long run improve customers’ satisfaction. A Gartner study from four years ago predicted: “that by 2019 more than 50% of organizations will invest more money into the customer experience“. However, this doesn’t just happen without first ensuring the internal customer is very much happy with the organization because they are the ones that will drive the positive experience that the external customer desires. One of the Estate firms in Nigeria said that customer service has boosted its level of productivity with at least 95% success story. They also mentioned the negative impact they had to work on in their organization due to inadequate follow-up and relation.
In conclusion real estate business according to Steve Trice, Managing Communications Director for BoomTown, a real estate software company based in Charleston in United States, said “in a world where competitors are only a click away, customer service really is the ‘new’ marketing. So much of the real estate industry is dominated by referrals, reviews, and general word-of-mouth. Any wrong hiccup could cost you both current business and future business“.