Why Customer Service Matters within Real Estate


Good morning and welcome to Mike Ferry TV. It is the week of July 27th. I’m telling you what … this year is going to go by faster than ever, and aren’t we glad that this year is going by faster than ever?

Some of you may be aware of the fact that on July 1st, we declared within the Mike Ferry Organization a new year. We celebrated the new year on July 1st this year. We started the new year on January 1st … it hasn’t been the kind of year that any of us probably wanted to have, so now we’re having a second chance.

So, I thought as we look at our new year plan, July 1st through December 31st, I looked at some of the goals that good agents, like you, should have for the year … and one of the goals, of course, would be to improve, in some cases a little bit, and in some cases dramatically, the quality of the customer service that you offer your Buyers and Sellers.

So, I did a call last Monday with a group that I work with called Mornings with Mike. It’s a great group. I have 175 great agents that each Monday morning at 7:00 AM PST I do a 30-minute conference call on different phases of the Real Estate business, and it’s a fun group to work with. I’ve done it for probably 10 … 12 years now … and I asked them to write down three words “customer service levels.” Customer service levels.

I believe that we all have the same basic objective … and that is to give the best service possible. I don’t think anybody in Real Estate, starting with any of us that would be on Mike Ferry TV, would ever have a stated goal to see how poor of service we could offer the public. We know there’s a direct correlation between the quality of the service we offer and how much repeat and referral busines we receive.

So, I started writing down about a week ago some of the common … well I guess the best word would be thoughts … that people like you and I have about customer service. So, I’m going to share with you some of the thoughts and then look at some of the things we have to do to give better customer service to the people we deal with every day.

Obviously, all of us would like to be recognized for the quality of the work we do. We obviously want to be recognized by recognition for production, income, the number of transactions we close, but I also think that we also want to be recognized for the quality of the service we offer. But, that quality of service is not always up to the standards, as you know, or at the quality of service that a Buyer and Seller many times wants to have.

So, one thought is this … “Who cares? The deal is closed and that’s all that counts.” Well, I think you and I recognize that when the attitude is … “Who cares? The deal is closed … that’s all that counts” … probably it is not inviting a lot of good positive feedback from our Buyer and Seller or client because we’ve developed the attitude during a transaction that our only goal is to get it closed, and we don’t think about how we’re responding, answer questions, dealing with situations for that Buyer or Seller.

A second thought … “Hey, the customer was impossible to deal with. I don’t really want to see him again.” And we’ve all had one of those transactions take place in our career. I mean, we’ve had customers … Real Estate Brokers … agents that, quite honestly, we chose not to ever deal with again as a company. But it takes a real extreme situation for us to get to that point because we’re always trying to figure out how to do the right thing for the client, and I know that you’re always trying to figure out how to do the right thing for the client also. So this attitude is that they’re impossible to deal with … you have to understand that a Real Estate transaction, as you know so well, is usually the biggest financial commitment they make in their entire life … and therefore, the stress that they experience and feel during a Real Estate transaction is enormous.

You’re going to do 5 … 10 … 20 … 50 transactions a year … you get used to the stress of a transaction, Buyer and Seller does one every 3 … 5 … 10 … 15 years … it’s stressful. So, yes, they’re impossible to deal with, but that’s part of the job and why you make the big bucks.

I wrote down third … “Hey, I got paid. That’s all that counts.” Well, that probably is not a real good customer service attitude to have … and when you display that, it probably doesn’t bring them to you time and time again for referrals.

I wrote down next … “Hey, I did the best I could. I hope they were happy.” And, you know, it’s always an attitude in customer service that makes the big difference … and the attitude “I did the best I could. I hope they were happy” … is that really the kind of attitude you want to display?

But then I wrote down … “I won’t be putting their names in my database anyhow, so what difference does it make?” Well, see, the truth is … 30 to 35 … maybe 40% of your annual business in the future should come from your database, which means that it’s coming from Past Clients and Centers of Influence. Well, if you’re not treating them right, you’re never going to get referrals, so why put them in your database, but if you treat them right … and once in a while I’ll talk to an agent and I’ll say, “How long in the business?”

“Nine years.”

“And how many names in your database?”

“Thirty-five.”

“Thirty-five? How can you have only 35?”

“Well, I don’t like most people.”

What kind of an attitude is that in terms of customer service? But, how about this thought … or, “It was a privilege assisting them and getting them the home of their dreams or getting their homes sold.” See, that’s a change of attitude when it comes to customer service. Or, “I truly believe they were happy with the results I provided because my goal was to provide them with good results.” That’s a much better thought process regarding customer service.

Or, “I’m looking forward to years of a great relationship with them based on the service that I offer … and they understand the service I offer, so we’ll have a great relationship together.”

Or, “There were some challenging moments in the transaction, but we worked together to get the job done.”

See, the truth is … any of these six or seven or eight … nine thoughts could apply to a transaction. So, I wrote down, question … Do any of these eight or nine thoughts apply to you? And which of these brings you the most business in return and in the future? If you look at the goal when you start a transaction, isn’t the goal always to provide the best customer service possible … and I think the goal for 98% of the people we get to talk to is … yes … I want to provide the highest quality service possible to my client.

Well, with that being said … one of the advantages … and I’m not selling coaching … so get over that thought … but if you’re involved in our coaching, we send out a pretty extensive big kit, and in that kit, there is a book, and that book is something that I wrote … and there’s 21 steps in the Mike Ferry Sales System … and under each of those 21 steps, I’ve written 15 to 30 separate points on how to execute that step. Well, in the book, one of the chapters is Customer Service … and I wrote 20 very specific points for all of our clients to use in enhancing giving better quality customer service, which brings the repeat and referral business back to you, which builds your business.

So, I went through the 20 points, and I want to share 6 of them with you today … and I want you to think about them … and I want you to execute on them, take action on them. I want you to watch this particular episode of Mike Ferry TV every day this week … very important.

Here’s the first thought I want to share on customer service in terms of what we published in our book.

  1. Let’s always use the process of under promising and over delivering good service.

It’s always better to under promise and over deliver than it is, of course, to over promise and under deliver.  See, the truth is, we can’t always project some of the things that get haywire on a transaction. An appraisal comes in low … there’s a question about a credit report … maybe there is some repairs to the property that nobody anticipated … you’ve got to get them done. Well, these bring up a little dilemma in a transaction.

So, if you under promise, you over deliver … they’re going to be more excited about what you’re doing than when you over promise and under deliver. The Seller says, “Do you see any potential problems on getting our listing sold?” “Oh, nah, I don’t see a thing. I don’t see a thing.”

Then, it finally sells, and the Seller forgot to disclose all the problems on the property that have to be fixed. Well … “Do you see any problems in getting our listing sold?” “I can’t answer that until we get it sold and get into escrow to see what potential problems there could be for you or for the Buyer.” See, under promise and over deliver.

But I wrote down second …

  1. Great customer service revolves around answering questions and concerns they have.

Great customer service always involves providing solutions … and we don’t expect you and I to have all the answers, but I expect that we have access to the people that have all the answers … mortgage, escrow, title, home inspections … these are smart people that we deal with every day. Therefore, our job is to make sure that we are able to get the answer if we don’t have the answer to their questions and concerns. We get paid in direct correlation to our ability to answer questions, solve problems, and take care of the concerns they have.

But then I wrote down number 3 … and I’ve said this for 45 years …

  1. There’s a direct correlation between the income we receive and service we provide.

Or, in essence, increase the quality of the service to increase, of course, our personal income in the transactions we do. When the service is bad, you don’t get paid often. Why do agents cut commissions? Because they don’t have any value in the service they offer so they can’t charge as much. Why would one person drive a brand-new Mercedes and somebody else drive a lesser car? Because they see value in the car that they chose to buy.

  1. Make customer service your obsession and repeat and referral business will always follow you.

You almost have to become obsessive about customer service because you have to look at every transaction and say, “What can I do to assist my Buyer or my Seller in getting the best service possible and getting this transaction closed in a timely manner?” We have to become obsessive in your ability to not only think about what you want to promise and deliver, but then execute on that promise and deliver, and surround yourself with the people that can provide the best service for your client.

  1. Great customer service requires regular communication.

Don’t avoid calling people back. Give all your Sellers a call once a week. Update them as to the market … what’s going on.

Then I wrote down last …

  1. Use all the service providers. Build strong relationships with your service providers … the mortgage, the title, the escrow, etc.

Why? Because these are the point of contact that your Buyer or Seller has on a day-to-day basis through the course of the transaction. Yes, we list it … somebody brings a Buyer in … we negotiate the contract … and there’s really not too much we’re going to be doing until the closing takes place, but our service providers are doing a lot every day to make sure this transaction closes. Treat them with the highest amount of respect.

So, I wrote … since we restarted the year on July 1st, focusing on strong customer service is an important tool for each and every one of us. I need you to do the best job you can do for the next 5 and a half months until the year ends. Start today doing your lead follow-up, your prospecting … making sure that you’re strong in your communication … making sure that you’re offering good advice, solving problems and communicating with your Buyers and Sellers … and always doing it with a smile on your face and energy and enthusiasm.

Customer service is the name of the game. It always has been, always will be … let’s always work to improve it. Talk to you next week. Thanks for today.

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Mike Ferry is the global leader in real estate coaching and training. Watch Mike each week as he discusses a variety of topics to help real estate agents and brokers. Grow your real estate business by improving your mindset, developing your skills and creating a plan of action to increase your production!

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