Apple has become the most lucrative company in the world because of the simple, consistent customer experience it provides, Terry Watson, ABR, GRI, a Chicago-based real estate professional and motivational speaker, told attendees at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo on Sunday. “Apple stores are designed so that you can scan everything in the entire store with a simple turn of your head,” Watson pointed out. “Apple doesn’t make its customers think.”
Whether it’s smoothing out the closing process or making some other aspect of the transaction easier, simplification is the key to improving customer experience, Watson said during his session, “Providing Expertise the Public Wants and Expects.” He listed several dos and don’ts real estate pros should follow when refining the experience they provide.
- Reduce the steps clients have to take. Make it easier for them to get to the end result they’re seeking. They shouldn’t have to talk to three different people or leave messages at multiple phone numbers to hear back from you, for example.
- Get rid of distractions for clients. Whatever distracts your customer from their goal—thereby lengthening the time it takes for them to achieve it—remove it from the process. Come up with a solution that makes the distraction irrelevant or invisible.
- Implement a stress management plan. “If you want to give a good customer experience, you have to be in a good mood,” Watson said.
- Never say “I don’t know.” Not knowing the answer to a client’s question isn’t completely unacceptable. But saying “I don’t know” indicates an unwillingness to find the answer. “Instead, I’d say, ‘That’s a good question; let me find out…,’” Watson said.
- Don’t make the client guess what comes next. As you complete different stages of a transaction, talk to your customer about what the next step will be. “If they’re not prepared for what’s about to happen next, they get worried—and that’s a bad customer experience,” Watson said.
- Avoid being typical. If you give customers something they can’t get from another agent, the experience of working with you will be more memorable for them. Figure out what makes you special as a professional, and do something to show that to your clients.