Why Don’t We Listen to Advice?
It has happened to all of us. And, I’m not exactly sure why. But some parent, guardian, or mentor in our lives advises us to go down one path, and then instead we select another. Probably most of us experienced this as teenagers, when parents or older siblings told us what to do, but we did something else instead.
I’m not exactly why this phenomenon occurs, but it happens all the time. Perhaps we think we know best—that we are more intimately involved in the correct path, so we believe that we can make a better decision.
I’ve just been a fly in the wall in a situation such as this one—and it relates to customer service. In real estate, just as in all fields where customer service is paramount, you meet all sorts of people who have different expectations about the sales process and their customer service experience.
Buying a Home Is Not Like Buying Jeans
However, selling or buying a home or a condominium is not quite the same as buying a pair of jeans at the mall, and most buyers and sellers have not bought and sold nearly as many properties as they have purchases at the mall, and the two are not interchangeable.
So, this agent that I know recently closed a transaction where he represented some acquaintances of his, on the purchase of a low-end home in mediocre condition. They completed all of their inspections and conducted all of their due diligence activities. And while they did run into some personal troubles with their loan, they finally did close on their very first home.
Sadly, in this case, the agent’s work didn’t end when the transaction closed and the commission check was paid.
Now, the clients are dissatisfied with the property and have a laundry list of wants that include new carpet and removal of the “popcorn” on the ceiling. They are requesting that the agent and their lender to chip in. And, despite my advice, this agent is getting much more involved than he should.
3 Ways to Avoid an Unpleasant Customer Service Experience
Unfortunately a situation such as this one is not uncommon in real estate, and there are three ways to avoid finding yourself in such a hole.
- Set expectations accordingly. If you are working with homebuyers and sellers or any other sorts of clients, you need to set expectations accordingly. You need to explain your role in the transaction up front, and clarify what your clients can expect from you.
- Explain the process thoroughly. If you are working with newbie homebuyers and sellers, you must take the time to spell out every part of the process in detail.Explain why the home inspection is important and encourage your clients to study all of the disclosures in great detail so that they are making an informed decision and not one with rose-colored glasses. Don’t rely on electronic signature platforms and text messages to do this for you; this must be accomplished one-on-one.
- Just say “no.” Commission-based earners need to determine where the rubber meets the road. While sometimes awkward, it’s often easier to say “no” than get involved in a dicey situation where you end up using your entire commission check to pay for new carpet for your client’s home.You may need to set a policy about not working with friends or relatives, and instead refer them to colleagues. It may also mean that you tell clients what the specifics of your contribution policy.
Hindsight is always 20/20. But if you develop some good policies and procedures for working with your own clients before you embark on a sales adventure, you’ll end up closing lots of deals and getting lots of referrals. And when you visit a past client’s home, the carpet on the floor will not have been a gift from you.