The Customer Experience in Real Estate
Infinity Property Ventures, LLC
We all know that the life blood of most companies is the customers that conduct business with us. One of the most important aspects therefore should be in the customer experience during all points of contact throughout the dealings with that particular customer. Each company has their own ways in creating the customer experience. Real estate companies are not much different in that mindset when compared to retail establishments. The customer experience should always be conducted in a similar manner no matter if the client is a onetime buyer, or returns due to superior customer experience.
According to Fast Company there are six parts that tend to make up the customer experience which are: strategy, customer understanding, design, measurement, governance, and culture. If these six areas are observed along with the company being able to satisfy the wants and needs of the client then loyalty by the client should ensue.
Strategy is important because this will help define how the customer experience will eventually be established. If a strategy is not clearly stated then we will be unclear of how to go about creating an experience that will in turn lead to customer loyalty. In real estate the end goal is to connect our client with a property that they absolutely love, so one strategy could be to help develop a vision of the property’s potential that the client could envision then provide opportunities that will help them make that a reality. Although simplistic, this strategy provides a clear cut method to help move properties to those looking for investments. Since real estate tends to be a combination of service and offering products, creating a strategy the blends these two areas can help create a great customer experience from the first interaction with the client.
The ability to understand the potential customer base for the particular properties within the company portfolio is also quite crucial. We all know from personal experience that attempting to meet all needs of all clients could lead to disaster. Start by determining what client base you wish to serve, and take the necessary time to understand their wants and needs for particular property investments. For example, if the mission of your company is to connect the baby boomer generation with their perfect retirement home then perhaps showing them two story extravagant homes might not be ideal for their needs. If time is taken to truly understand the client then this will further strengthen the customer experience since property showings will be in the realm of satisfaction.
Design can help increase customer experience if done in tandem with the strategy and customer understanding. Let’s take our two prior examples of baby boomers as our client and the strategy of creating a vision of what the home could become. A small to moderate sized property that may have two bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen, living room, porch/patio, and yard could be the perfect retirement home for the client. The strategy of helping them envision the potential property could be done by an initial walkthrough of the property, and then stage the property to meet their needs. Take some time first to speak with the client and learn more about their personality, hobbies, likes/ dislikes, etc. then stage the property to reflect their characteristics. This type of approach will help us to create a design that takes into account the first two areas of the customer experience.
Metrics to a company is like a friend that gives it to you straight. In order for a company to understand how the customer experience is, they must develop a way of measuring the experience. These measurements will help determine what areas need to be adjusted in order to improve future customer experiences. One way of obtaining measurements is to never lose contact with past clients. The past clients can help provide the necessary data that will be needed, and sometimes data collected over years can provide a much clearer picture. Real estate properties are often large investments and initial post purchase data might not always provide enough information for improvement; whereas collecting data from clients from five years ago will be more helpful. If those past clients are still happy with their dream property and continue to thank your company for all of your tremendous help then the customer experience was met. Measurements can also help to determine what is not working in order for the problem to be identified then worked on to improve the lackluster areas.
Governance is important in order for what actions and processes will need to be taken in order to create a great customer experience. One great company action that is almost always performed is training. Training helps employees better understand the culture, operations, and goals of the company. This simple yet necessary action is needed to align all employees within a company on how to create the experience for the client. The process that the company utilizes each time should be on a similar track, but allow the flexibility to tailor to the needs of the client when necessary. These actions should directly reflect the strategy since that is one way that any actions along with process can be developed.
Every company has a corporate culture which helps define what they are all about. An example of a corporate culture for a real estate company could be to create a superior customer experience since their main lifeblood is clients purchasing properties from their portfolio. This would help all employees understand what the culture is along with helping them meet the needs and wants of their clients. The strategy should also align with the culture so that employees believe in their goal to create the experience that will establish a lifelong loyalty by the client.
The customer experience is an important part of the company to retain clients. The experience should continue to occur throughout the entire interaction between company and client. The ability to create a superior customer experience could be what separates your company from the others, and if done in such a way could actually disrupt the market which could really help you surpass the competition. Real estate companies should understand each potential client’s wants and needs in order to create a strategy that will enthrall the customer. This will not only solidify their experience, but which could turn into referrals by that satisfied client. The customer experience should become a core competency of the company and if taken into the company’s vision for success could lead to a sustained client base far into the future.