Real estate is complicated. Whether it’s buying, selling, renovating, building, or managing a property, each facet of real estate comes with its challenges. Working directly with clients and providing services is an especially tough landscape to navigate. Real estate agents must do double duty to both manage expectations and be trusted advisors. They have to help clients see what could be possible and console them when their expectations are out of reach. For so many reasons, customer service is the most important element of our jobs. In this article, we offer 6 tips for great real estate customer service so you can provide better support to your clients.
Because real estate is such a high-stakes game, the client’s trust in you as an agent is essential. If there’s a lack of trust on their end, your job becomes infinitely more difficult. If information falls through the cracks or isn’t communicated in a timely manner, it could feed into a client’s feelings of distrust. To ensure those instances don’t happen, commit to communicating proactively with your clients. Whether good or bad news, do your best to inform them of significant updates quickly. Scheduling weekly check-ins with clients is another great way to communicate proactively. This way, they’ll be up to date on the details and have a regular opportunity to ask questions. Remember, even though you may have multiple clients, you’re likely your clients’ only point of contact. As their real estate lifeline, be available and proactively communicating with them. That extra effort will ease their worry and create a better overall experience.
Empathy is a key trait for realtors. It’s what allows you to understand and appreciate someone else’s perspective. Because buying and selling a home is routine for agents, you may become desensitized to the gravity an individual buyer or seller may feel. To combat that, make sure you’re engaging with your client’s needs. Ask how they’re feeling and listen actively when they answer. This gives them the opportunity to express themselves – and you’ll get a window into their mindset. Understand their questions or concerns and respond from their point of view. You could relate back to the first time you bought a house to see from their perspective. Showing you understand what they’re going through goes a long way in building a foundation of trust.
Transparency is one of the key tips for great real estate customer service. When you’re open with your clients, they may in turn be more open with you. As humans, we tend to worry that honesty will have a negative impact. However, being honest is always the right move and has the potential to improve relationships in the long term. Another way to promote transparency is by empowering clients to find information on their own. Starting a knowledge base such as a blog is one great way to do that. For example. you can share posts answering common financing questions. With the rise of the internet and MLS systems, real estate agents are no longer the gatekeepers of listing information. Home buyers are more informed than ever and often do the majority of the research on their own before ever reaching out to an agent. By actively educating, you signal you’re not trying to hide anything and want to help clients be as informed as possible.
Be an active listener
Hearing and understanding are two very different things. Beyond hearing the content of a message, we must do the work to fully grasp what the speaker is trying to say. Rather than getting distracted or thinking about the point you want to bring up next, be present. Active listening (essentially the act of being present) is one of our tips for great real estate customer service. The speaker has your sole attention, and you’re keyed in to what they’re saying. Begin by creating an environment conducive to active listening. Put your phone on silent and out of view. If you’re at your computer, turn the screen off so you’re not tempted to multitask while someone is talking. If you’re not able to give all your attention, it’s possible you’ll miss out on important information and be less prepared to meet your client’s needs.
Set expectations early
As an agent, your competence resides in many different areas. However, you can’t be everything to everyone. Sometimes you’re going to need some help yourself and will need to call on CRM or a subject-matter expert. Of course, it can be tough for a client if you don’t set the expectation that it’s possible you’ll need to hand them off to someone else at some point. The best way to combat this is by clearly defining the role you play in the process from the start, as well as the times when you may involve another team member. Explain how this is beneficial to them, and do a warm handoff so they don’t have to repeat any information. By setting expectations early, you set yourself and your clients up for success. They won’t be caught off guard and you’ll be empowered to make those choices without fear of upsetting them.
Build a strong network
If someone’s buying a house, they probably need to secure a loan as well. If they’re renovating, they’ll need the help of a general contractor. Being the primary point of contact in the process, clients will likely ask your advice about other areas. And if you’ve been in the business a while, chances are you are familiar with those other services. Even if you’re not the ultimate authority on all things real estate, you want to help where you can. Providing great service for a client does mean setting them up for success as a whole, even when it involves areas outside your expertise. For this reason, the last of our tips for great real estate customer service is to build a network of other professionals to fill the gaps. Participating in industry networking events is a great way to start making those connections. Asking people who’ve worked in the industry longer than you for recommendations can be another way to go. Don’t recommend someone because they’re the only option you have. Bad recommendations reflect poorly on you, so be sure you properly vet anyone you’re bringing into your network.
Are you ready to provide that next level of customer service? Is there a good tip you use that we forgot to mention? Let us know in the comments below!