By Denise Lones M.I.R.M., CSP
There is one secret you can apply to your business that’s known to generate word-of-mouth lifetime referrals—and it’s worth its weight in gold.
It applies to every industry under the sun—from the gas station to the brokerage firm to real estate. The handful of practitioners of this art are generally the top producers in their field.
What is it? Five-star customer service.
And it’s hard to find nowadays. Most people seem focused on themselves wherever we go. They do their job, collect their pay, and go home … forgetting about us once they have our money.
Five-star customer service is all about:
1. Great communication with your clients…..
2. Amazing service throughout the transaction…..
3. Fantastic follow-up…..
4. A true desire to keep the client connected to you for years to come…..
My father was an expert at this. As a restaurant owner, he was a busy man. With several pots simmering in the kitchen and a wait staff to manage, he understood the deepest meaning of the word “stress”.
And yet, he managed to create an amazing impression for each and every person who had a meal at his restaurant. After they had finished their meal and were heading out the door, he would always run to them and say, “Thank you so much for coming to my restaurant! I’d love to see you again.”
It actually became a kind of art form. He had to time it precisely because he had several meals cooking in the kitchen.
This simple little act of running from the kitchen to thank people created an imprint in people’s minds. They remembered his warmth and sincerity. The chances that they would come back were increased tenfold just by his doing this. And it worked! His restaurant often had people waiting outside for a table.
When I was a little girl, I asked him one day, “Dad, why do you do that? You have food cooking in the kitchen.”
He replied with one of the most profound statements I’ve ever heard:
“It’s not what you do for people when you’re getting paid that counts. It’s what you do for them after the sale that counts.”
So—how does this apply to real estate?
I challenge agents when I ask this question: “What do you do for your clients after the closing?”
The answer to that question is where five-star service begins. Prior to that, everything you do is judged because you’re supposed to be doing it. But when you do something after you’ve been paid, your stock rises exponentially in their memories.
For example, do you send past clients mailings on a regular basis? And I don’t mean cards that say “Please keep me in mind if you have any friends who need a real estate agent.” That’s transparently self-serving and will lower your value—because it’s just plain annoying.
But when you send your past clients information that helps them long after the sale you become that rare practitioner of five-star service.
How about an annual analysis of their home’s value in comparison to the neighbors? How about a predictions report for the upcoming year? How about a recap of the market in the previous year? People love these materials because they prove the wisdom of their investment.
And here’s a great tip: Call them after you’ve sent the report, but before they receive it. Just to let them know it’s coming and you’re thinking about them. There’s something about a human voice that makes all the difference in the world.
These little things cost very little—but they come back in big dollars over the long run. When you demonstrate to people that you’re not just out for the money, they will love you for it. Plus, they’ll tell everybody about you.
That’s the power of five-star customer service.