Knock Your Clients’ Socks Off: 6 Customer Service Musts

Agents who provide superior customer service build bonds with their clients that lead to long-term relationships. Therefore, the service you provide lies at the heart of your referral pipeline. It’s not good enough to be average when it comes to your customers’ experience. There are many agents to choose from, so you have to prevent your clients from looking elsewhere. Make sure that your excitement and desire to work with a customer is matched by your words, your actions and your behavior.

Contact us background

Put on Your Friendly Face

First impressions are crucial. Whether a client likes you is determined in the first few seconds of meeting. You can have the most professional marketing materials in the world but the test of your likeability and trust comes in the first connection. If early on you aren’t projecting warmth and friendliness, and putting your to-be client at ease quickly, the chances of getting to the next level of a business relationship are reduced.

Text Your Leads

Conventional wisdom says to call a lead, but more than 90 percent of people respond to texts within five minutes. And keep texting and calling them. Research shows that it takes on average six attempts to get a hold of a new client, so your persistence pays off. When you text, make your copy concise and action oriented, such as “I’m setting my appts for the next few days, what day and time would work best for us to meet?”

Communicate All News Good and Bad

If you aren’t brave enough to make a hard phone call, real estate might not be for you. Clients expect you to not be afraid to pick up the phone and deliver bad, conflicting or contrary news. And, the quicker you communicate with a client, the better for all involved. You increase the chances your client will want to use your services again or refer you to others when you demonstrate the ability to communicate bad news effectively.

Learn From Bad Experiences

It’s a good idea in your early interactions with clients to ask them what they didn’t like about their last Realtor. Odds are, the list of what went poorly, or not as the expected, will tell you a lot about how to conduct yourself with the client. Sometimes a complaint might be around communication such as, “My agent would never call me back!” or “My agent didn’t keep me updated.” Take notes of these negatives and use them to inform your responses.

Inform and Educate

Many clients don’t have a clue about what lies ahead in their transaction. It’s important to spend time with them at the very beginning, giving them a short-course on what to expect during their buying or selling process. For example, explain your commission. Many clients think agents are paid a lot for doing little. So explain how it works; how a commission split works, the fees involved, the cost of things like photography and marketing, etc. Make sure they know key terms and people such as what earnest money is, who escrow is, what title does. The more informed they are, the more likely they’ll be positive about the process.

Do the Extras

The key to rising above the crowd is to consistently exceed expectations. Do you roll up your sleeves and stain a fence, perform minor maintenance, plant plants? How about advising clients on how to protect their credit or their identity throughout the transaction? Do you refer and meet contractors at the house, even if the client is there, too? Do you regularly send thank you cards, pay for a bill that might be someone else’s responsibility, or call back with an answer sooner than the client expected? Showing your willingness to step in and get involved. Advising clients on topics that might seem over the top to other agents is a sure-fire way to be a stand-out in your clients’ minds and build a positive reputation.

Note: Even though I’m taking a break, I did say I would create blog posts and share them on social media:

  • If I have something to say
  • If a guest blogger has something to say.

Hope this helps.

Semi – final post

This is my semi-final post. What does this mean? I am taking some time off for some long needed, rest and relaxation. But I will still be active on all my normal, social media channels. And I will still be devoting time each day to studying the following languages:

  • Spanish
  • French
  • Portuguese
  • German

If I have something interesting to say, I will write a blog post. Then I will promote it that week, through the usual, social media channels. And if a guest blogger wishes to share an article, I will promote it for them – via the usually, social media channels.

But I do need a rest from regular blog posts. And there is a rich history of historical blog posts to view.

This does not mean retirement. Nor does it mean a devastating illness. All it means is that I am taking time off from writing blog posts.

Any words of advice? Sure. Watch out for fake social media profiles. They are pretty easy to spot. Most of the time, they only put a minimum of information in them. Take LinkedIn, for instance. Do they have a list of active skills? Have they had these skills endorsed by a few people? Do they have any recommendations present?

Most of the time, they are trying to get something quick. Like they are a tax agent and need you to pay by debit card. Where is the formal IRS letter? Will they give you sufficient time to consult with your tax attorney and/or accountant?

Or they have a romance scam. And they use a picture you can track down with a Google image search.

Or they get emotionally attached to you very quickly – like in a week’s time. And they will try to conger a story about needing money. Like they volunteer for Unicef and need money to pay the doctor. But Unicef provides excellent, free medical coverage for volunteers and are not even situated, where they party want’s money sent to. Go figure!

Or they have several million and want your help getting it out of the country. As if you can’t find someone to hire in your own country?

I’m going back to using more direct response methods in products I sell. I’m a big fan of this style of copywriting and wish to use it more – for my own ends. I miss the good, old days of studying ads by folks like Clayton Makepeace, Ben Heart, Dan Kennedy and Bob Bly. It’s kind of fun and you can use these methods, in your own web copy and promotional landing pages.

I’ll stop back in – from time to time. And I might have guest bloggers stop by – from time to time. But this is a offical period of blog post resting.

Reward Online Customers with Offline Services

E-commerce customers deserve rewards no less than customers who visit retail shops. Whether it’s earning points for each purchase or a notch punched into a loyalty card, smart merchants understand online customers expect pretty much the same as in-store shoppers: competitive pricing, customer service when they need it, and not overwhelming them with frequent communication.

Online payment

As Mark Macdonald wrote on Shopify’s blog, shoppers everywhere — online and those who stand in line to pay — respond to a merchant’s personality much more so than they do to a brand. It stands to reason that repeat customers should get similar awards regardless of where, when and how they shop and not what they buy.

E-commerce Should Adopt the Local Touch

While e-commerce businesses have national or international customers, they would do well to adopt a personal touch, which Yodle recently found helps smaller businesses win more customers than national chains, even when their prices are higher. In fact, the survey found local businesses outperform chains in personalizing services and treating customers fairly by a factor of more than 9:1. It isn’t that customers yearn for face-to-face service, either. In fact, their number-one wish about their favorite stores is for an improved online presence.

This provides a lot of food for thought for companies that sell online exclusively or to supplement brick-and-mortar stores. An independent online site can adopt the same personalized tactics local businesses depend on to compete with big-box stores.

Consumers Like Online Rewards Best

According to another recent study — this one from Johns Hopkins University’s Carey Business School — Loyalty programs pay off best when used online. Why? Because most consumers do their initial product research online. They “scour the Internet” for the best deal, with little regard to a loyalty concept, but an appreciation for offers that give them a reason to return to an e-commerce site.

Here are a few incentives that can encourage online shoppers to remain on a site, order from it and return:

  • Free shipping. Unexpected shipping costs lead to an abandonment rate approaching 30 percent, says Kissmetrics. One solution is to offer a low-cost membership that provides free shipping year-round, particularly for perishable gift items like chocolates or flowers that happen to be go-to gifts for just about any occasion: birthdays, housewarmings, Mother’s Day, anniversaries, sympathy gestures.
  • Inexpensive upgrades. For $5 or $10 more, offer a minor upgrade or add-on product such as a business card case.
  • Coupon code for the next purchase. To get the most out of this offer, make sure the code appears in the shopping cart when the customer connects via an email. Kissmetrics notes that a small number of shoppers will abandon a cart when they can’t find a discount code.
  • Provide upfront cash rewards. Pymt.com reports 60 percent of consumers prefer a rewards program connected to a credit card rather than business-specific programs customers are expected to track themselves.

Online Shoppers & DIY Customer Service

Shopify’s Macdonald notes that online customers are fine with the DIY approach to customer service so long as the information is accurate. FAQs are helpful tools for this; smart companies ask customers for feedback and update them as needed. Customers also share FAQs on online boards and chats, including social media outlets.

In addition, more customers turn to Twitter and Facebook for customer service, making these tools important ones to check on at least daily.

Lessons Learned from Door Installation

You would think that Buying an entry door is an easy process. But it takes some work. Here are some of my recent experiences.

Home Centers

There’s a couple interesting articles at Home Depot and Lowe’s Installations Services…A Good Deal?? and Home Improvement Sales Gimmicks.

If you go to Menards, they don’t have an installation service. Instead they have recommended contractors, from their bulletin board of independent contractors.

Home Depot and Lowes have their own installation services. But they try to charge you thirty five dollars for measurements. The problem is that Menards independent contractors and door and windows companies will do measurements and proposals for free. Luckily, I had a special for free measurement services from Home Depot. They charge around 300 for basic installation. But they had a proposal of around six hundred for installation. There were costs for hauling away the old door, supplies needed to put in the door, etc. It would be the same story at Lowes.

Pelle Doors and Windows.

This is an interesting proposal. They had a construction company they work with, give me a bid. For the door, it was around $3100. Now the problem is that Pelle has two door lines and both are sold at Lowes. They sell for $900 and $1000 for the same door measurements and features I’ve asked for. And all the home centers say that installation takes two to four hours. So are they carrying doors that Lowes doesn’t sell? And what could possible take around 2000 is costs for a simple two to four hour door installation?

Felco

They actually have a cost proposal similar to Pelle. But I can’t really obtain the line of doors they sell, via the home centers. So I can’t compare prices. And they do have a current rating of F from the Better Business Bureau. But the salesman did explain it was from past advertising using the word free. He did give a reasonable explanation. And their doors and windows are made by Amish craftsmen. But I really don’t need anything that fancy.

Most fiberglass entry doors from the home centers would sell from six hundred to one thousand. These are really good doors and even if you paid three to five hundred for installation, it’s a big savings over Felco and Pelle.

Local door and window company

They actually had the best proposal on a factor painted installed door for about $1375. It’s really not that much different from the home centers.

The secret for the consumer? Menards doesn’t have an installation service but will just provide recommended contractors, from their bulletin board. Pick 3 and get quotes – check them out. Try to do the project when contractors are not busy with construction periods. Then pick one to do the install project and get the door, windows, etc., from Lowes, Home Depot or Menards. Let the contractor pick them up at the store. Don’t use the Home Depot or Lowes installation services.

How to Create Compelling Case Studies

Seeking to boost the credibility of your offerings in an effort to grow your business? A case study may be worth exploring since it can show consumers that your claims about your products or services are valid.

Case Study

Here are a few tips for getting started:

See How Others are Using Case Studies

Seal manufacturer Apple Rubber offers a collection of case studies on their website for visitors to access. These reports share industry insight, educate consumers on their products and ethical business practices, and dive deep into the technology behind their product.

Delete, a digital strategy agency uses case studies to provide an overview of client work, and attract new customers by allowing them to see how the agency might help refine their brand through a carefully-crafted strategy.

Find the Ideal Candidates

Carefully analyze the pool of candidates to identify those who are most qualified to be featured in your case study. Ensure the clients who you choose to highlight are extremely knowledgeable of the product or service, have experienced exceptional results, or have decided to make the switch from a competitor because you had more to offer, HubSpot suggests. Also, look for those companies who are key players in their industry or who don’t fit the mold of a traditional customer—the latter conveys your versatility as an entity.

Pre-Interview Documents

Once you’ve selected your primary participants for the case study, it’s time to schedule an interview. But first, you’ll need to handle the small technicalities, which include obtaining their consent via a written release form and drafting up questions for them to answer beforehand to help both parties prepare for the live interview.

The Interview

Now that all the administrative tasks are taken care of, it’s time to get down to business. Before you dive in head first, kindly remind the interviewee you’ll be asking a sequence of interview questions that correspond with the questionnaire.

Areas to address include:

  • Overall business structure, mission, and any other relevant company information readers should know
  • Problems experienced before the implementation of your product or service
  • Why your product or service was chosen; focus on the benefits of what you were selling before listing out the features
  • How the product or service was implemented; be specific when describing how they benefited from your product or service’s unique features
  • Results achieved
  • Why the interviewee would recommend your company to others

Put It All Together

Edit the responses for fluidity and grammar without altering the actual content. Also, add a captivating headline and briefly introduce the reader to your client. Discuss how you were able to assist, followed by a synopsis of the live interview responses.

A Few Additional Tips

Don’t just stop with the text. Use visuals, such as images, graphs, and videos to support your assertions and further engage readers. You also want to remain objective, which can be done by letting the customer’s voice shine through direct quotes.

Customers want proof of your company’s promises, and what better way to do so than by harnessing the power of a well-written case study? With these helpful tips, you’ll be on your way to publishing an effective case study in no time.

Collaborating With Video – An Overview

 

Before you we get into an in-depth discussion regarding collaborating with video, let us learn a few things about video collaboration. It is a process of collaboration between virtual team members carried out via video conferencing, which is a technology-mediated method of communication.

Collaborating With Video - An Overview

Let us discuss the new way of communication that has off late become extremely famous.

It has altered face to face collaboration

There are a number of techniques, which the end users can use for making calls. They are Skype, Google Video, YouTube and the likes. The users can use these forms to make calls, post and share videos, establish libraries, showcase creativity and do a lot of other activities in the virtual world. All these modes of video communication have affected the business fraternity in a great way, by helping them market their products and service, and thus, businesses are surging ahead strongly with these modes of video collaboration.

The Enterprise Video Difference 

Businesses nowadays, regardless of whether they are small, medium or large scale, rely heavily on a wide range of applications for running their corporate network effectively. That includes the various web based video as well as collaboration apps for mobile devices.

Enterprise Video Collaboration

The most important feature of modern enterprise video collaboration is that it has the capacity to pull together even a remote team of experts from across the globe collaboratively and put each and every member face to face in a meeting, without having to travel or even leaving their work stations and that is what makes the difference for the businesses today.

End-To-End Video Services

Video collaboration involves effective use of software that provides end-to-end service, which provides reliability as well as quality of service for broad adaptation backed with success.

Video collaborations are extremely easy to use, and they come up with video concierge services as well, which give an extra echelon of support for lengthy and important video meetings or events involving a large number of people, like financial reporting, introductions of new products or service, and company-wide announcements, AGMs and the likes.

User Friendly Domain

The technology comes up with a user friendly domain, with a central delivery, command and control mechanism, which can manage and at the same time, distribute the digital content in a jiffy, and in a seamless way from a centrally located point, without any hiccup whatsoever. The digital contents are of several types like static, dynamic and real time visual content. Besides, the technology can also be used to impart clear as well as consistent training and other activities related education, delivery of corporate updates, and content related to compliance across the entire organization.

Thanks to the advent of video collaboration, video services are using the cloud. This implies that it is now possible to avail video conferencing, without the need to invest in and operate expensive and complicated video infrastructure.

Video collaboration is completely different from the cloud video services available in the market. This is in fact a service that can be managed using the cloud and facilitates in establishing connection among telepresence systems, meeting rooms, software-based endpoints like tablets and desktops and executive appliances. The end users can not only internally connect with colleagues and co-workers but also with the suppliers and customers that use compatible systems. These videos can be streamed to other users and even recorded to later references. Organizations can easily offer customer support that is both responsive and efficient.

About the Author

Michelle Patterson is excited with the new technologies that are threatening to change the way we stay in touch and communicate, particular in business. She works with companies that are introducing these technologies to make understanding them easy for regular people.

Ooma-Obihai Hybrid

I have been experimenting with the following VOIP systems:

  • Magic Jack Go
  • Ooma
  • Obihai

Now I thought I would take some time to summarize things. I’ve been using Ooma for two years and I have used MagicJack and Obihai in the past. Now let’s look at the different systems and their pluses and minuses

MagicJack

The problem is that it comes with a cheap Ethernet cable and a cheap USB power charger. In order to have the MagicJack work and last longer, you need to replace these components with ones from places like Walmart, Target, Amazon, etc.

The MagicJack component is not recognized by my router, until after I plug it into my computer USB port and register it. Ooma and Obihai components can be registered, just by plugging them into the router.

They do not have a 911 service included and can’t tell you what the price would be for your area – in advance.

On the plus side, they do have a good Android and IOS app. And they have a B rating on the Better Business Bureau site.

Obihai

There’s really no down side here. You just need to register it with a vendor approved service provider. I did this with Ring To and Google Voice, on an Obihai 202 device. It’s also recommended to check each week for firmware updates. They are not automatically provided.

Ooma

The only downside is the higher hardware cost, as well as the F rating on the Better Business Bureau site.

The plus side is that the called are both compressed and encrypted. I have run this off a Linksys router, via the Comcast service. It works very well. But I don’t like to pay the higher cost for the primer service. So I have come up with the Ooma/Obihai 202 hybrid.

To use the hybrid, I needed to set up Obihai 202 with both Ring To and Google Voice. And Google Voice would also ring my Ooma device and cell phone – but not the Ring To number on Obihai. Otherwise, there might be a conflict on the Obihai side.

Ooma-Obihai hybrid

I gain the following advantages by using the hybrid

  • All lines are under Google Voice
  • There will be two separate lines. And in the second line, I can switch between Ring To and Google Voice
  • I can call anywhere in the US on all three systems and anywhere in Canada on Google Voice
  • There are Android apps for Ring To, Google Voice and Ooma
  • I have 911 service on Ooma, as well as Obihai
  • If one device goes out, I have a backup in place. And the cell phone will be a backup for the VoIP systems

Here’s what I lose with the new Hybrid

  • Name look-up on caller id
  • Some advance filtering that filters out junk calls. But I do have all numbers – including the Google Voice one – registered with the US federal do not call list.
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