Mapping the Consumer Experience
You as a real estate professional know an understand that you’re great at what you do. The knowledge you bring to the table is invaluable in your eyes, simply because you do what you do, every day. Add to the top of that your ability to reach out online to the consumer- you’re a superstar agent.
Now, lets think about all the ways in which you touch your client before they’re actually clients (Vendors should take notice as well.) We begin with your message to the broad consumer. You’re attempting to reach out to as many people as you can with a solid message, or are you? Are you trying to say to many things to to many people? Or are you clean and concise in exactly what you can and will do for them? Look at all levels of marketing when doing this.
Next would be your website. Again, are you all things to all people? Or are you clear on your area of expertise? Are you delving into so many areas that you are confusing the consumer at the first experience?
Next look at the mechanics of your site. Is the copy easy to read, is the site simple to navigate, and have you defined your product or service?
Do the mechanics work? Is your idx program the best for the consumer? Is it buggy, is the data on time, does the program really work the way it was intended now being blended into your site? Would you use your site in a demonstration to sell this idx feed if you had to? Would your idx vendor use your site as a demonstration to a crowd to sell their service? Are the controls within it easy to use, simple to navigate, and does it function properly? Last but not least, do you ask for the sale?
Once the buyer attempts to reach you, what is your response time? Are systems in place to allow for the consumer to ask questions, talk to you, or at least reach a human when the mood has struck them to respond to your advertising and marketing? What about problems with the site? Is assistance easily reached while avoiding the tendency to sell?
Lastly (but only for this post), are you willing to test your answers with real time consumer response? Have you asked a client to take the experience and asked for constructive feedback at the time of closing? Are you everything you cracked yourself up to be? Or could you improve the quality of the consumer experience?
The experience doesn’t end with your marketing and advertising, it begins there. It actually ends with you. The same efforts we put into marketing and branding should be put into the service we as professionals deliver. Do you have a comment line? Do you have an impartial consumers complaint department? Do you have your own professional standards policies in place on your site? If you don’t, why not?
Defining your business is part of being in business. Remembering to elevate the consumer experience in your practice keeps you in business.
Larger brokerages need to take heed in what I’m laying out here. I realize that agents are not your employees and that distinction is very important. However, having standards as part of the practice and releasing those agents that do not rise to the level of those standards is important and practical. Selling is not the most important thing to a selling business, the client is- we all live this reality every day, employed or unemployed.
The excuse of being an independent w/little budgets is no longer an excuse. These questions are answered easially within yourself. Are you willing to realize the consumer experience you offer and shine a light on it? Does it pass the test? These are some basic ideas on places to look where problems may be presenting unknown to you. I hope that you’ll begin a personal and or corporate map of the consumer experience you offer.