I often talk about the perception of “service” in this country- I am of the belief that we expect little and quite often an organisation or individual falls short of even that low expectation. Part of this comes in to what we believe that people are actually supposed to do. What do I mean by this? Take recruitment companies – people are often under the false impression that they are there to “help” an individual find a job, slot them into their dream career, give them guidance and support. This isn’t the case- the recruiter is there to source the right candidate for their client – quite often this is finding a square peg for a square hole. Our perception is based on what we would like them to do, rather than what they actually do to create revenue.
So how does this differ when we actually want someone to sell something for us? I recently had to engage an Estate Agent, they have certainly provided numerous stories and fodder for “bad customer service experiences“. Perhaps it was my skewed perception of what they are actually supposed to do- they are supposed to sell my house- right? It would seem that actually they send out a few emails and rely on a reactive approach surely sales is all about being proactive- trying to get people through the door and then work on my behalf to get a sale at the right price. Currently we are feeling like the service is falling short of what we were told would happen. We are greeted with “those sighs” when we call. This is the first time we have had to use an agent and now I understand why they get such a bad press. I see numerous opportunities for training – first they have to realise they need to make changes.
Being the “customer” rather than the coach or trainer I have to stop myself from addressing the negativity and pointing out every time things haven’t happened 1) When they should 2) How we had agreed things would happen. Is it perhaps that the consequences of us not selling our home mean so little to them? After all every £k we drop has little impact on their final commission cheque- and if they don’t receive a bonus then are they really sales people at all.
If they do not have a desire to sell, they are customer service agents- these have their place and do invaluable work- yet as an Estate Agency are they doing what is written on the tin?
So apart from the “big sigh” each time we call and being told that even though we had agreed pictures with the branch manager, someone in house decided they knew better- I am still no closer to understanding what constitutes a sales strategy! In any of the businesses I have worked with “sales person apathy” is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome. Sales people can forget that they are there to sell – they get caught in admin and support and forget the real focus. So what are the management teams doing about this? Some of the time they are too busy to notice that the service they “think” is being provided is falling short or in the words of Simon Cowell “distinctly average”.
This company need to get back to basics and consider what their proposition is- are they selling houses or simply connecting enquiries to pictures and hoping some of them go through? The worst thing is that there seems to be little competition in the marketplace. We have turned up to see houses where the vendor was not expecting us, the house had been taken off the market- very few followed up to see what we actually thought of them. I know others who are selling houses and they have had no viewings in several months or the pictures do not do the house justice. These seem like basic mistakes that the professionals should get right.
What have your experiences been of engaging an estate agent?