- You have to ask your clients about your customer service level, or you won't know where you can improve.
- Average first response is the most important metric when it comes to customer satisfaction.
- It's crucial to communicate with your clients, even when you don't have the answers right away or the best news.
At the beginning of each year, companies start coming out with all kinds of reports based on the previous year. The most interesting one I’ve seen so far is from a company called LiveChat about good customer service and what that means.
The “Customer service report: What makes online service tick” compiled data from over 8,400 companies from 21 industries across 118 countries. This study group combined more than 6 billion website visits and 2.5 million support tickets.
It covers many of the most important aspects of customer service and support, so it’s definitely worth a full read, but below I’ll break down the most important aspects for the real estate industry.
Customer service metrics that matter
Before we get into the numbers, you need to know what they actually mean. To begin with, customer service for real estate is any interaction with a past, current or future customer or client.
With that in mind, you might think that referrals, sales or conversion rates would be the most important statistic, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Sometimes the most important support that you can give is to tell clients that your business isn’t the right fit for them.
Instead, LiveChat looks at several metrics that matter to customer support.
This is a funny metric because unless you actually ask your customers, you won’t know how well you are doing. By asking questions, you might find problems you never knew you had, which could allow you to improve the training of your support staff and discover confusion in your processes and procedures.
Are you sending too many emails? Are you providing enough value in the emails that you do send? Perhaps you are providing confusing statistics, numbers and terminology that only a real estate agent would understand. You will never know unless you ask your average client.
This metric is a bit of a double-edged sword, in that you won’t know if this is a good or bad thing until you do your research.
If you don’t have many tickets, that could mean that your service is awesome or people are so confused that they aren’t even contacting you (or don’t know how to contact you).
If you have a lot of tickets, it could mean that you need to educate clients more (via your website, newsletter, etc.) or it could mean that you are doing such a great job that people see you as a valued resource for answers.
Don’t just follow how many people are contacting you; find out why people are contacting you or why they aren’t.
Average first response
This metric is one of the most important when it comes to customer satisfaction, but don’t let speed trump quality, or your customer satisfaction scores can plummet.
Instead, think about the last time you emailed a lender on a transaction. Would you prefer for him or her to not email you at all until the file was ready to close, or would you appreciate communication along the way?
That’s exactly how your clients feel as well. Even if you don’t have the answers right now, respond and let them know you are looking into it.
Total handle time
In the scenario above, you let clients know that you were looking into an issue. Now, you actually need to find a resolution. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you answer their question.
Sometimes you have to tell them you couldn’t find an answer or give them bad news that they won’t qualify for the home they wanted so badly.
Just because the answer is bad, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it to them. The longer you delay, the worse it will be. Once the issue is fully resolved, your total handle time ends.
So how does the real estate industry do in terms of customer support? Pretty much about average. Unfortunately, these days average isn’t good enough. See the infographic below.
Are you providing average customer service? Do you even track the metrics above?
What are your thoughts? Agree or disagree? Please share in the comments section below.
Brian Rayl is a Dallas real estate agent with Keller Williams and the co-founder of Home Value Leads, where he teaches agents how to generate real estate seller leads quickly and cost effectively.