There isn’t a company in real estate that does not believe that it pays attention to the needs of its customers. We all want to think that every one of our customers would give us a 5-star rating, but we know deep down inside that is not the case. Because we interact with our customers every day, we do have some sense of what they are looking for. Here’s the problem though…. We don’t TALK to every one of our customers regularly – the silent majority are out there forming opinions without ever talking to their MLS, Association or brokerage directly.
So how do you really KNOW if you’re doing the right thing for your customers? Those that are the most unhappy are probably not talking to you about it. There could be a ticking time bomb out there and you have no idea its coming.
Conversely, you probably have raving fans that have not told you their story about why they respect your service, technology or training as much as they do.
As we start to think about New Year’s resolutions, why not add a commitment to get a better handle on what your clients, agents or customers think about your services?
Here’s three quick suggestions about inexpensive, but effective ways to make sure you are focused on constant customer satisfaction improvement in 2019.
The quickest and easiest way to get a handle on customer perspectives is to ask them directly. We all think we know how our customers feel, but we have found when doing customer satisfaction research for our clients that is not always the case. Sometimes an organization needs to see it black and white before it can be addressed. We have fielded hundreds of surveys for MLSs, Associations, Brokerages and Tech Companies so we can help you field a study that is unbiased and asks the right questions to uncover the most important answer to drive your organization forward. We have been able to help brokers address a dissatisfied agent BEFORE they got recruited away. We have been able to help MLSs identify a weakness in their technology suite and work with their technology vendor to build a roadmap to fix the problem. We have helped tech companies understand the level of awareness and understanding of their solutions to help them refine their messaging and reprioritize their product roadmaps. SO many good things can come out of one simple annual survey.
Another interesting way to solicit feedback is to offer a forum on your site where your customers can provide suggestions and then invite other customers to comment and vote on the customer suggestions submitted.
Focus groups can be a great way to get a dialog going with your customers. We have found that if you conduct even just 2 or 3 focus groups with the same target audience the most important topics to be addressed will surface relatively quickly. If you cover a large region and don’t want to incur the expense of travel costs, renting space and feeding your attendees, you can also conduct virtual focus groups. They are a great way to get feedback for your current offerings as well as suggested enhancements BEFORE you spend thousands re-engineering something that does not hit the mark.
We have been able to help our clients refine their messaging, prioritize new development and get unfettered access to customer feedback that had never been shared with our clients directly.
If 2019 is the year that you would like to get to know your customer’s needs better we would love to help!
In nearly all cases, customer surveys a have become the norm for business. Insurance companies, carpet cleaners, airlines, restaurants, vendors of all types and so on all without exception, request feedback from their customers.
And then there’s residential real estate.
Vetting, filtering or the selective sourcing of feedback from only certain parties to complete or display surveys flies in the face of what such surveys have been intended to surface in the first place.
Is this still some secret that this industry has not figured out?
Brokers should without exception, submit surveys to all parties of the transaction. No exceptions. And then take apprprpiate action when they learn the results. To do anything different will only serve to mask the real issues that need to be resolved by the broker and to further denigrate the overall reputation of this industry.
Consumer-first thinking is today more important that any tech that can be developed or provided to this industry. Without this focus, the tech is inconsequential and the entire industry will ultimately face a day when others who make consumer-first thinking mandatory, enter the market and will simply take the business.
Love your comments Ken! If you don’t know what your customer is thinking how can you improve? We have so many threats coming after us in real estate. The best defense is always to EARN your customer’s trust and loyalty – that’s true for agents, consumers and every service professional involved in a transaction.