How delighting clients can be your marketing’s secret weapon | Kerfuffle

How delighting clients can be your marketing’s secret weapon

How delighting clients can be your marketing’s secret weapon

You’ll know better than us the importance of building trust and great relationships when you’re helping people buy and sell their home.

It can be a stressful process for both sides of the fence, and a service that makes the process easier, ensuring everyone is kept up-to-date can make all the difference.

It’s all too easy to think of customer service in an estate and lettings agency environment as a support service. Something you use when a buyer, seller, landlord or tenant gets in touch with you with a question or issue they need help with.

But customer service can be so much more than that.

If you’ve ever read Unreasonable Hospitality by Will Guidara you’ll understand the impact great customer service can have on your business, and how it can be used as a marketing tool to win more business - without leaning on the usual marketing and sales costs.

Here is how we think, and how we’ve seen our own customers, use service as a tool to grow their business.

Make yourself stand out in a crowded marketplace

Estate and lettings agents work in competitive and crowded markets, that’s what our customers tell us.

And when the end product (buying or selling a house) is the same regardless of which agency is chosen, it’s often how you work, and the experience a buyer or seller gets that can make the difference.

This is something Guidara touches on in his book, detailing how he wanted his restaurants to stand out on the service and experience his guests had, not just on the quality of the food (which, at least at the time, is what his competitors focused on).

Using his own experiences, he outlines how his principles of “unreasonable hospitality” can easily translate into any industry where service plays a big part, including property.

And while the “hospitality” part of your service can be as flamboyant as you like, it could start with something as simple as having someone available to answer the phone when someone calls about organising a valuation or booking a viewing for a house they’re interested in.

These first interactions can make a big difference, and if customers can’t get in touch in these early stages it could impact the perception they have or, worse, result in losing the opportunity (especially if multiple agencies are handling a sale).

Retaining your business

There are many things you can’t control as an estate and letting agent.

And with the current environment around housing costs and mortgages, it seems like the list of uncontrollables is growing all the time.

One thing you can control is the level of customer service and communication with clients.

And with sales taking longer, this can be even more important to keep clients assured.

Again this can be as simple as how available you are to answer the phone and provide information, or how proactive you are in communicating with clients when there’s an apparent lull in activity while paperwork is being dealt with.

There’s also the long-term benefits that come with providing exceptional service.

It follows that repeat sellers will come back to an estate agent if they’re confident they’ll get a better level of service based on past experience.

But on the other hand, a bad experience could put sellers off using an estate agent.

Similarly, buyers who’ve had a good experience with an agent will be more likely to choose that agent to sell their home when looking to move, again because they can be confident in the level of service they’ll get.

On a purchase as big and important as a home, service can make a huge difference.

Winning business on referrals

Here are two questions we guarantee anyone who has ever bought or sold a house has been asked by a friend or family member about to start the same process.

Who did you use?

What were they like?

The answers to these questions can make or break whether agents have a chance of getting the business.

“They were really good, very responsive and made everything easy.” You’re in a great position to win the business.

“It was a nightmare. I could never get hold of them and it took ages to get any information.” The business is more likely to go to someone else.

Referrals are a huge part of pipeline generation for estate and letting agents.

And getting it right on service can play a massive role in earning them.

Customer marketing with online reviews and testimonials

Of course it’s not just friends and family we now rely on for referrals, we have the entire internet.

And no matter how much research we do on our own, we’re always open to being swayed by a review or testimonial from someone who’s used a service before us.

This is important, because customers are highly likely to leave reviews on search engines like Google or to leave comments on social media.

Providing a great experience and customer service is a defence against potential negativity and increases the chances of positive reviews.

Building trust through communication

It’s a bit obvious to say that going through a house sale or purchase is a complex transaction. But, like most cliches, it’s also true.

There are lots of moving parts. Lots of information to gather. And lots of forms to get through.

There’s even more complexity and potential risk (and anxiety) when you’re in a chain.

And it can be worse when your client is going through the process for the first time.

With so much happening and so much uncertainty while things happen behind the scenes, communication can be a godsend to clients, helping assure them the process is moving. Very often it’s the not knowing where things are up to, or being unsure about what’s happening with a certain part of the process that can cause the most stress.

So being available with a friendly, calm voice and with the relevant information can make all the difference.

This high level of customer service can’t be underestimated as a marketing tool for building long-term trust between you and a client.

Long after the sale has gone through, when they’re on the lookout for the next sale or purchase, that client will remember the service they got and will be more likely to use you again, or recommend that someone else does.

Building success on the back of delighting your clients

Estate agents can gain substantially by seeing how exceptional customer service and delighting clients plays into their long-term marketing strategy.

It’s not just about reducing concerns or making clients happy in the short-term.

Being known for providing higher levels of customer service can help agents stand out in a crowded and competitive market, building long-term loyalty and winning more business from referrals.

You may not have to go to the extremes of Will Guidara, but using service to delight clients and building it into the marketing toolkit can create a thriving pipeline of business - without the costs of outbound marketing.



Find out how Face For Business can help your agency here.

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Posted by

Chayne Bennett

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