The customer experience (CX) is at the core value in the real estate industry. Buyers, sellers, tenants, investors and real estate professionals base their buying behaviour and brand loyalty on the level of service and engagement they receive.
When competition is stiff in the real estate industry, and technology is automating services everywhere you turn – what makes you stand apart from the rest? Providing a VIP client experience that will leave a lasting impression. It is important to never forget that you are in the service world. The experience your clients have will make or break your reputation, and amazing experiences can build the foundation for a lasting, thriving business.
THE ONGOING SHIFT TOWARDS CX
Give customers a great experience, and they’ll buy more, be more loyal and share their experience with friends and family. That’s what every company should be striving for. Yet so many consumers seem let down. According to a 2018 PwC study, consumers are willing to pay up to 16% more for a better customer experience.
Meanwhile, bad experiences can quickly repel customers, with many saying that they would stop doing business with a company due to unfriendly service (60%), lack of company trust (50%) and unknowledgeable employees (46%). However, it is speed and efficiency (80%), knowledgeable and helpful employees (78%) and convenience (77%) that matter the most when it comes to customer experience.
The needs and expectations of consumers are changing drastically, with over 40% of consumers expecting a reply to their query within the hour and 52% of consumers willing to pay a price premium for greater speed and efficiency. In other words, customer experience is everything.
CREATING A VIP CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
What’s important about creating a VIP experience? This worldwide focus on creating a royal customer experience is indicative of the shift towards customer experience in real estate. In an industry built on trusting relationships, providing a great customer experience is imperative to increasing customer satisfaction and retention levels, managing your reputation and growing your real estate enterprise.
Additionally, increased competition from new market entrants has meant that real estate agents are under more pressure than ever to clearly articulate their value proposition and offer a superior experience as a point of difference. Owners.com, a customer-focused real estate brokerage, revealed in a recent survey that the top reason 42% of participants chose their real estate agent was through a referral from friends or family, making this a crucial way to build and retain a client base.
With the above information in hand, here’s five ways to create a VIP experience for your customers as a real estate agent.
1. Specialize in a Niche
Real estate experts have been promoting the benefit of niche marketing for years. In terms of the customer experience, niche marketing still makes a lot of sense: A niche can be based on specific locations, types of architecture and types of lifestyles etc. If you’re working in a niche, you’re the one with the answers at your fingertips that customers are searching for. You don’t need to research what a buyer should look for in a horse property – the answers will be immediate and informed by in depth knowledge.
At the end of the day, a customer is more prone to sign with someone who has a passion, expertise and unique foothold with their interests in mind. So find a suitable niche in your area by figuring out what types of properties are available, gauging your own interests and connecting with like-minded groups to see if there’s a demand for the service.
2. Anticipate (Tech-savvy) Customers’ Needs
If you meet your customers’ needs before they even mention them, you’ll be sending a signal that you understand what it’s like to be in their shoes and that you care about providing them with everything they need. It’s not enough to consider what your current customers want; you need to anticipate who is going to walk through your door tomorrow. Start by surveying your current customers on what they feel is lacking and ask how they search for properties.
Consider adding QR codes to your property listings, sending out a text messages or offering live virtual tours where you can answer their questions as you show the property. Think beyond technology and consider what type of knowledge your customers truly need.
Another way you can provide prospects and customers timely assistance is by leveraging real estate robots and automation. For example, chatbots like Aisa Holmes and Chatfuel can be programmed to trigger messages based on certain actions or keywords to provide assistance and qualify leads at all hours of the day. In effect, this reduces the number of support inquiries, helps you provide a better customer experience and can help you save time and money.
3. Make the Process Easy & Enjoyable
When dealing with monumental life purchases like a new home, communication is key to your customers. If you have an overwhelming fear of picking up the phone, perhaps being a real estate agent isn’t the best career for you. You must be able to communicate confidently, clearly, and frequently. Aside from phone skills, you should be proficient at sending professionally worded emails, checking in frequently, and connecting on social media.
Customers need to get in touch and move along the property buying process on a moment’s notice. If you manage tenants, offer an online payment system and automatic reminders to make paying on-time easy. Make it simple for customers to get in touch for quick answers and solutions, regardless of if they’re on their cell or a wireless device.
4. Build Strong Relationships
As mentioned previously, you’re a key player in some of the biggest moments of your clients’ lives. You have to prove that you’re trustworthy and reliable enough to do business with. You can be a trusted advisor and resource, but only if you take the time to build on relationships.
This takes a commitment to what you do and to your customers. Show a passion for your chosen field. Ask customers non-prying questions about their personal lives and refer to their answers later. Reward long-term clients with gratitude and gift baskets. These are just a few ideas for solidifying relationships that can last for years.
5. Measure Satisfaction Levels
When improving your real estate customer experience, it’s crucial that you measure your current satisfaction levels. This will help you identify areas of improvement and provide a benchmark for you to improve on each year. While there are many customer experience research solutions available, customer surveys provide real-time results with authentic feedback. Depending on your specific needs, there are multiple survey solutions that provide actionable insights to every level of the organization:
- Customer Satisfaction Surveys: Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Surveys provide you instant results, unlimited feedback, and allow for customer incentives in exchange for completing surveys. These quick and easy surveys are cost-effective and user-friendly. Surveys can be conducted via mobile or computer, with QR codes or kiosk links.
- Crowdsourcing Live Insights: Engages real customers to gather the data important to YOUR real estate brand and company goals. The customer community is invited to perform “tasks”: gathering data that is important to your brand. Customers are offered a reward to complete these “tasks,” giving them incentives to complete more “tasks” to get more information you need.
- Employee Engagement: Put your employees at the heart of their training with mobile learning on demand. Reduce the time needed away from their roles with short, engaging training to suit them.
It is a key measure of your customers’ overall perception of your brand and indicator of growth in the long-run. By investing in customer experience research, you can receive critical data to make meaningful business decisions in your real estate organization.
Making your customers feel like VIPs can help differentiate you from your competition.
The shift towards customer experience in real estate reflects the changing needs and expectations of consumers worldwide: Speed and efficiency, knowledgeable and helpful employees and convenience are what matter the most when it comes to a seamless customer experience.
Commit to implementing a few new strategies to improve their experience and you’ll find that your relationships will gel quicker and stay strong longer, and that will help you grow your real estate business for years to come.