Real Estate News with Terri Taydus, GRI, CNA

Personalized Customer Service A Thing Of The Past?

April 23rd, 2012 7:54 AM by Taydus Taydus

As I drove past a Discount Tire Center with a couple of my clients the other day, I commented on how I would highly recommend Discount Tire to anyone needing tires. I went on to say that one of the things that impressed me most was that the people that worked there were so friendly and helpful, and they seemed to actually enjoy their jobs. My clients then added that they had, had the same success with Discount Tire and that they make a point of using them because their experience with them has consistently been good. They too noticed how the personal service was a step above and how they appreciated the friendly attitudes of the people that worked there.

This made me start thinking….have we become a society so accustom to instant gratification and technology that we no longer expect personalized service? Are we so easily impressed when someone in a service position is pleasant that we find ourselves taken aback when a pleasant attitude is followed up with someone actually taking the time to be helpful? Have we become so accustom to mediocre service (or no service at all), and little to no human contact that it is the new norm to be automated, pushed off, and often times forgotten about? I hope not. However I see such behavior being tolerated as acceptable every day. Sometimes we are so turned around that we actually believe that we have received “excellent service” when the truth is, we received very little personal service at all.

Not to say all technical service is bad. Take email for instance. Email allows us to make contact with clients almost instantly, and to acknowledge their needs. I recently made a purchase from Costco on line. Even though I never spoke to a living, breathing human being, I would consider their service excellent. They acknowledged my order, the next day they sent me another email to let me know that my order was processed, then emailed again the day after that to let me know my order had shipped, and provided me with a tracking number and a phone number to reach a real live human if I so desired. The transaction ran like a well oiled machine. For the item I was purchasing this was excellent service. It was a cut and dry purchase, I knew what I wanted and simply wanted to pay and have it shipped to me – it required very little in the way of “personal service.”

What I find disturbing is that there are many businesses that are being run like a machine. My line of business is no exception. Don’t get me wrong, there are multiple ways to run a successful real estate business. However to me, buying or selling a home is not a cut and dry transaction that can be compartmentalized and handled in a cookie cutter manner. Each transaction, whether you are buying or selling, is unique. Buying or selling a home is very personal. Yes, for those of us on this side of the fence it is also a business. As Realtors we need to pay our bills, and send our kids to college just like anyone else. And it is okay to have help – it is nice to have someone you trust back you up so you can take a vacation once in a while. It is nice to know that you have a team or an office where you can ask questions – because as it is true when dealing with any unique situation none of us have all the answers.

However I also feel that there is something to be said for providing personal service. I think that when you hire a Realtor to represent you in either the sale or purchase of a home, that you should be able to speak to and correspond with, the person you hired. I am always amused when I see very qualified, reputable real estate professionals promote their business by emphasizing all of their years of experience, then promptly turn your file over to the “staff” that may or may not be experienced. Don’t get me wrong; having a staff to help with marketing, social media, etc. is fabulous. But don’t you think your file should be handled by the real estate professional that you met with and hired? (assuming you met with the person you called and intended on hiring.)

This is very likely the largest purchase of your life, and you have a lot at stake. There is so much to stay on top of and it’s your earnest money that is on the line! Would you be satisfied hiring a medical specialist only to find out the intern was going to be managing your medical condition, and the specialist you thought you hired would rarely be the one to interact with you or review your chart? Why would you accept any less from your real estate professional?

There are many good real estate teams out there. There are also several good real estate professionals who choose to take on fewer clients and be personally involved with the ones they have. When looking for a Realtor to handle your real estate needs, it behooves you to ask who exactly will be keeping you informed and handling your file. If you hired a Realtor for their “experience” you may want to check on the experience levels of those that will be handling your transaction. Who will be answering your questions? Who will be calling you back and emailing you? Who will be negotiating on your behalf?

Excellent service should not be a thing of the past. We should expect more from the people we hire, and that includes your Realtor


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Posted by Taydus Taydus on April 23rd, 2012 7:54 AM


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