Even top real estate agents make customer service mistakes. But it’s the best agents who find the lesson in each of their failures and use it to ensure a better outcome next time.
Unfortunately, as a real estate professional, you have a small margin of error. You’re helping your clients make the largest purchase of their life, so your missteps can quickly send them running into the waiting arms of another agent.
After all, clients have options. More than that, during a time that can be rife with emotion and stress, they want to work with someone they have confidence in and can trust. Egregious mistakes on your part deteriorate both—and the following four mistakes top the list of worst offenses.
1. Being too pushy.
In your mind, you know a great deal when you see it, you understand the market and you don’t want clients to miss out. In customers’ minds, you want to be done with them, cash your commission check and move on.
Buying or selling a home is a major decision, so even if you’re dealing with an indecisive customer with too-high demands, you need to be patient. Have an open, honest conversation about their indecision. Find out why they are so worried and arm them with information, so they are more confident in their decision.
It’s only natural to want to give up on clients who don’t seem serious about buying or who are never satisfied, especially when you have more motivated clients, but that’s bad for business. Instead, ask them “What do I need to do to make you happy with my service?” Then do what you can to meet their expectations.
2. Putting in a lackluster effort.
The work you put in up front is key to moving properties quickly, and if you fail to do your job, you all but tell clients that you don’t care about them. Some big-time offenses include:
– Taking and posting blurry, terrible pictures or ones that don’t show a clear view of the property. If you don’t have the skills to take photos that make a great impression, hire a professional.
– Writing bad listing descriptions. Poor grammar, bad language usage, misspellings and typos have no place in a listing. Writing too little doesn’t attract enough attention, and stretching the truth will only disappoint buyers when they do show up. Write accurate, clear descriptions—and proofread everything.
– Failing to update the MLS listing when homes are contingent, under contract, pending and so on. Keeping an inactive property active to pull in clients is misleading, and you are sure to disappoint customers when they find out the listing is gone.
3. Setting the price too high.
Is the customer always right? Not really, and you are doing a grave disservice to your clients if you agree to sell their home at an unrealistic price, which will prevent the house from selling. It’s your job to provide guidance, and that means telling clients the truth, even when it is hard to hear. If you over-promise just to land a contract, what happens when you can’t deliver? Unhappy clients, that’s what.
4. Failing to meet the customers’ expectations.
It could be that you continuously show people homes above their budget or that you don’t show them homes that include all their must-haves. It could be that a property you’ve been hired to sell sits on the market too long. It could be that you aren’t available as much as you said you would be or that you don’t communicate as often as the customer would like.
While some agents do a bad job or overpromise, market conditions can also make it impossible to deliver. In other cases, the client’s expectations are way too high. Regardless, you must still provide outstanding customer service. That means managing clients’ expectations from day one. Have an honest conversation with the client about how they want the relationship to work. Tell them what is realistic—and most important, tell them the truth when you know you can’t live up to their expectations.
McKissock Learning is the nation’s premier online real estate school, providing continuing education courses and professional development to hundreds of thousands of real estate agents across the country. As part of the Colibri Real Estate family of premier education brands, McKissock Learning, along with its sister schools Real Estate Express, Superior School of Real Estate, Allied Schools, The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, Gold Coast Schools, The Rockwell Institute and Hondros Education Group, helps real estate professionals achieve sustainable success throughout each stage of their real estate career. Learn more at mckissock.com/real-estate.