There continues to be a consistent trend and transition from customer service to customer experience, from marketing listings to marketing your services, from transactions to relationships, from cold calls to personal texts, from automated emails to artificially intelligent chatbots, from photos to videos and, of course, from print to social media.
Because of this, many real estate agents are at risk because their business and marketing models are dated and possibly irrelevant, considering the way our audience wants to consume data, both digitally and instantly. So, think about the way you work: Are you focused on customer service or customer experience?
Customer service is reactive; customer experience is proactive. What are you proactively doing to enhance the customer’s experience?
One way I see an opportunity to create a better experience is in our vendor and ancillary partner handoffs. I’ve seen and heard it so many times, “Just call my mortgage (guy or gal)! They’ll take care of you.”
But what if we could do it better? Let me explain a more proactive approach!
When referring a customer to an ancillary partner, there should be a script and story that you share to explain why you would recommend one or more professionals to your customer.
Here are three sample scripts that you can use to enhance the customer experience.
“It’s my goal to help you leverage the full benefits and expertise of vendors and partners who treat you like the most important client in their business because if they don’t deliver an exceptional customer experience to you, they risk losing future business! You represent the whole of my business. That’s how important you are! Is that OK with you?”
Surgeon and team
“I hope you will consider working with my team the way you would work with the team of a highly skilled surgeon. If you hired a brain surgeon to do a surgery for you, would you also try to handpick all the nurses and other doctors around them, or would you allow them to work with the team they have done this with so many times before?”
One-stop show/community of experts/well-oiled machine
“I find in today’s fast-paced digital world that most of us want things quickly and efficiently. Working with our ‘well-oiled machine’ helps us maximize your investment of time and money to work with us to achieve your goals. Is this important to you?”
What systems are you employing to connect the customer and the ancillary partner proactively? One way to better connect your customer and your ancillary vendors is to embed partner links to their website, as well as their contact info, within your email signatures and vice versa.
This way, the connections are made early and are familiar to the customer. Have you considered doing more joint emails, texts, videos and co-branding with your partners?
These are all ways to improve the customer experience because it displays a long-standing and committed partnership between you and the vendor, full of trust, loyalty and business synergy.
Finally, here are a few strategies to employ a better customer experience with ancillary partners.
First, it starts with who you chose to work with; it begins with selecting synergistic partners!
Do’s and don’ts
- Don’t choose a partner over money.
- Don’t avoid the hard questions.
- How do they handle mistakes?
- How do they communicate problems?
- Will they also refer business to you?
- Don’t ignore the signs! (good or bad)
- Do an interview, and confirm that you know, like and trust them first.
- Do check vendor reviews and call some of their past clients to confirm customer experience.
- Do surveys on every deal about how that vendor partner did.
Another strategy is to include your partners in initial buyer and seller meetings. For example, have the title representative join your meeting via Zoom to introduce themselves at the start of the business relationship with the seller or have a pre-recorded video to play.
So many times, sellers are uninformed on who they are working with until the day of closing. That’s a bad customer experience!
Let’s introduce them to one another at the beginning of the relationship because this is who the seller will be sending confidential information to for the closing.
Building know, like and trust starts with transparency and communication. You could do the same or something similar to other partners as well.
Even if you had to recommend three lenders or three home inspectors, for example, have them record a quick video introducing themselves to the customer. These are small ways that will have a significant impact on your relationship with the customer.