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Customer Service: Modeling Your Real Estate Business After the Big Companies

Posted by Russ Laggan on April 15, 2016 at 2:15 PM

As real estate agents, we have a tendency to get caught up in the details of a particular property or deal. While those details might be important in the moment, the most successful real estate agents are the ones who focus on offering the best interactions with their clients at all times.

Nordstrom.jpgIn order to improve our efforts when interacting with clients, let’s take a look at some of the things that the best customer service companies in the world are doing and see how we can model those practices in our real estate businesses.

Respond Quickly to All Communications

There is a famous story about author Peter Shankman tweeting that he would love for Morton’s Steakhouse to meet him in the airport he was flying into with a porterhouse steak. Much to his surprise, someone from Morton’s was actually listening and showed up with a steak dinner for him.

This was obviously a bit of a publicity stunt, but it still drives home the point that you have to always be listening for opportunities to wow your clients.

At the very least, you have to be able to respond to any direct or indirect communications very quickly.

Have a Great Return Policy

One of the all-time best customer service stories involves a man returning two snow tires to Nordstrom. The cashier was happy to give the man the exact price listed on the tires on the spot…despite the fact that Nordstrom has never sold snow tires. The customer is always right at Nordstrom.

You might not have to worry about someone attempting to return a house after closing, but you’ve almost certainly dealt with clients who change their minds after making an offer. Having a “the client is always right” policy will ensure that you still get their business when they are ready to pull the trigger for real.


Reward Your Best Clients


Zappos, the online shoe company, is absolutely legendary for their quirky and over-the-top customer service stories. While there are tons of great examples to pick from, one of the simplest things that they do is upgrade their best customers to faster shipping options at no charge.

Do you have great customers that work with you more often than the typical buyer or seller? Think of ways that you can go above and beyond for them in return for rewarding you with their business!

Expect Problems and Offer Solutions

One of those classic Zappos customer service stories involves a woman staying in Las Vegas who realized she forgot to pack a certain pair of shoes. She tried to order them from Zappos, but couldn’t find them on the site. When she called customer service, she was told that the company no longer carried those shoes.

For any normal company, that’s where the story would end. But Zappos is not a normal company. The customer service rep she spoke with located the shoes at a local mall, went and purchased them, and then hand delivered them to the woman at her hotel.

Every real estate deal is going to have its fair share of complications. There will be issues with the mortgage company, details involving the inspection, and a host of other concerns. Make sure that you are prepared to offer your clients solutions when these problems arise.

Don’t Point, Show Them

Employees at Nordstrom never point a customer in the direction of something they are looking for. Instead, they are trained to escort the customer right to the product and make sure it is exactly what they want.

In the real estate world, it is sometimes far too easy to tell clients to check out an open house or go drive by a property on their own, when in reality the right thing to do is make an appointment to show them the property yourself.

Treat Clients Like Real People

There is a famous customer service story that comes from a Trader Joe’s location in Pennsylvania. During a snowstorm, a woman called a number of local grocery stores asking for someone to deliver some basic food items to her 89-year-old father who was snowed in.

Most everywhere she called informed her that they did not do home deliveries. Trader Joe’s doesn’t do home deliveries either, but when this woman called they told her that they would be more than happy to deliver the groceries to her father at no charge…simply because it was the right thing to do.

As a real estate agent, there are certain things you are expected to do and certain things that you usually can’t be bothered with. But, if an elderly client asks you to help him move a sofa, think twice before you tell him that isn’t really in your job description.

Get Creative

One of the all-time best customer service stories comes from the staff at the Ritz-Carlton. When they received a call about a missing stuffed giraffe named Joshie, they assured the caller that they would do everything they could to find him.

Then they went a step further and backed up the story the customer told his son, which was that Joshie had just decided to stay on vacation for a few extra days. When Joshie was returned, he came with a collection of pictures documenting all the fun he had in his extra time at the hotel.

Real estate deals come in all shapes and sizes, but as long as you keep in mind that you are dealing with real people who have real needs, wants, and desires, you can offer a level of customer service that is absolutely unmatched.

Topics: Agent Resources


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