Happy New Year!
Here I sit on first workday of year. The office is not yet open and phone has not yet rung. I love this time of year. Nothing yet accomplished, and no mistakes yet made. It is a wonderful time to reflect on year that was, and look ahead toward year that is yet to be.
The idea that comes to mind is that it will be a fantastic year if we can inspect another 3000 homes and do it without a single complaint! A lofty goal indeed, but one worth working towards!
Imagine a year without a single complaint! I reason that goal is good for real estate professionals, good for me, and great for our mutual customers. Just how would we work toward a year without an unhappy customer?
First and foremost, we must always remain customer-focused. There is a very easy test of every decision we make with or on behalf of our customer. Simply ask "if I were doing this for my mother, how would I do it"? Works like a charm every time! It seems that when we have a deep personal interest in putting best interest of another individual first, things always work out better.
Long ago I worked for a fellow who often said "want it bad, get it bad". He was a commanding officer of a Navy squadron, not a realtor, but his point was this - sometimes we want a particular outcome so bad that we do bad things to get there. Some deals just don't need to be done, or done in manner that they are preceding, when not in best interest of customer. If we stay centered on their best interest it is likely they will end up happy with their home, happy with their real estate professional, and have a low probability of complaint. Maybe even become a referral source!
Second, we must educate our customers on how good choices are made. Using home inspection as example, it is not enough to simply refer a particular inspector or inspection company, or, worst of all, put our head in sand by sending them to yellow pages. We need to be able to articulate how and why sound choices are make. Have them compare companies on web. Even if we make specific recommendations, we owe it to ourselves and to our customers to explain process by which we made recommendation.
When people lack a well-articulated case for recommendations it has numerous risks. Customer confidence is reduced with an answers such as "be sure inspector is licensed", or my favorite from agents, "he has never killed a deal in my office". As all should know, there is no license requirement in Florida for home inspectors (a subject for another column), and deal killing statement is hardly customer-focused. A more compelling case might be something such as a description of our own Chris Brown, "Chris has been a state licensed contractor for over twenty years, an ASHI certified home inspector since 1997 and has performed more than 3,000 home inspections. I would recommend Chris to my mother". Now THAT is compelling!