Most agents understand great customer service, but what they don’t understand is the difference between providing great customer service, and truly providing people with the ULTIMATE CLIENT EXPERIENCE. Meeting expectations is no longer enough. Providing great customer service means you are only meeting expectations. You want, and need to exceed expectations as often as humanly possible.
Disney, for example, understands the difference between “customer service” and the “Ultimate Customer/Client Experience”. Think about it… When you stay at the Grand Californian Hotel at Disneyland Park, you are immediately immersed in the Disney experience! You are greeted at the valet by handsome young men dressed in 1920’s derby hats and wool knickers revealing cool, old school knee-high socks! There’s even a 1920’s car parked up front at the valet. You enter the lobby through beautiful stained glass doors into an entirely different world, where it’s easy to forget about the outside “normal world” you come from.
They do things like:
- Themed costumes for all hotel staff
- Character visits in hotel
- Park ranger story time in the Inglenook by the fire
- Massive spaces filled with the patina of a bygone era that make you feel like you are in a 1920’s Grand Northern California lodge in the middle of an amazing spruce, sitka, and pine filled forest.
As part of the experience, you notice the subtle and tasteful placement of Disney characters and memorabilia throughout your visit. They even give you exclusive, early-bird access to the Grand California Adventure theme park, allowing you to enjoy all the rides before any other park visitors are allowed into the park! I could go on and on about the Disney experience, but you get the point. One of the things you can do to begin providing a “Disney quality” Ultimate Client Experience is to implement what’s called a Client Appreciation Program.
Client Appreciation Program
- The Client Appreciation Program is the system with which you essentially gather all the people you know, all the people that have done business with or referred you, and all the people who know you and are likely to do business with, and/or refer you if you taught them how and reminded them; and you consistently provide value long after you’ve been paid for the transaction. This is very important, and in addition to that, there are things you want to do before, during, and after the transaction to continue delivering the Ultimate Client Experience.
- Keep in mind:
- You don’t have to break the bank to do it.
- Don’t try and do everything at once.
- Consistency matters – systemize it!
Pick three things that you will absolutely implement each and every time you work with a buyer, seller, or engage with a client at any level. We will also post a separate video and blog on the specifics of what you need to do for buyers, and another blog and video for what to do with sellers to deliver the ultimate experience.
Let’s Get Systemized
First and foremost, we love Trello, and many agents are now using it (for FREE) for listing marketing and transaction management. If you’re not using Trello, you’ll want to have a CRM (Client Relationship Management) system that allows you to create action plans, whether it be Follow Up Boss, Top Producer or something similar. You’ll want a system that allows you to implement a checklist system so each and every customer or client receives the same over the top experience (or “WOW” items) each and every time. Your goal should be to have ten “WOW” items for each listing, sale, and customer interaction.
A few examples:
- No matter what, you return all calls, text, and emails each and every day. Your day is not over until you’ve returned all correspondence. If you have an assistant, they can share the bulk of the responsibility.
- Answer all of your incoming lead calls right away. You don’t want them going to voicemail.
- Call all of your online leads within 30 seconds of receiving them. That’s a WOW!! When someone goes to your website and within 30 seconds of entering their information, you’re on the phone with them, that is definitely a wow!
- Every single person on your team should have the V-Card or customer contact information programmed of all of your clients into their phone. By doing this, when a customer calls in you can literally answer the phone and say, “Hi John! How’s it going?” That’s a WOW! Isn’t it better to greet them by their first name before they get a chance to say anything? That causes them to naturally assume that you’ve interrupted whatever you were doing to take their call because they’re important to you. That doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to answer the phone every time your clients call. Sometimes you’ll be in your focused time, or prospecting time, which you’re not going to interrupt. That being said, for those times you are able to pick up their call right away, you want to make sure you answer it using their name.
If you are not able to answer the call because you are in your focused time, you should have a voicemail system similar to YouMail that picks up and says, “Hi John. Michael is not available right now.” That’s a WOW! That’s what people want to hear. You are now exceeding expectations! You’ll come across as World Class as opposed to middle class, like most agents.
Now let’s talk about A+ clients. Coach Michael Hellickson will actually go into his YouMail account and record a custom greeting, that is no longer an auto generated voice or greeting. Something similar to: “Hey John, how’s it going? Leave me a message here and I’ll get back to you as quickly as I possibly can. You are extremely important to me. Thank you so much for working with me and saying ‘Hi’ to Suzie for me!”
- Make it extremely personalized. Again, this is for A+ clients only!
- With referrals, you want to follow the 10 step checklist entitled “10 things you should be doing every time you receive a referral”.
- You can find this in the free download on this blog.
- One of the things you want to do with this checklist is to make absolutely sure you are sending them cookies or some other type of edible arrangement to their office with balloons and the whole nine yards when they send you a referral.
First of all you are rewarding the act of sending the referral.
Secondly, the gift is delivered to their office and everyone there is saying. “What The Heck!?! What does Michael have going on over there? How did he get all of these balloons and cookies? Why did he get that?”. “Ohhh, that’s from my real estate agent! I sent him a referral, so he sent me these cookies and balloons.” How cool is that?! This starts up amazing conversations with you and how great you are as the topic of conversation!!
Client events! You simply have to be doing Client Events! If you are not doing Client Events in your business right now, you are missing the boat on referrals from four Client Events each and every year.
YES, THAT’S FOUR EVENTS EACH AND EVERY YEAR!
What happens when you do a client event? You will have all kinds of touch points before, during, and after the event which you can use to reach out to people and have a genuine conversation with them about something that’s in it for them, rather than being all about you. Rather than calling them up and saying, “Oh by the way, if you’re buying or selling a home or have a friend or family member that is, do you have a realtor to refer them to?”
Why not call them and say something like, “Hey Suzie, we’re having a client appreciation event in two weeks, where we’ll be taking all of our clients to go see this really cool movie. We would LOVE to invite you to enjoy that movie with us and you’re welcome to bring friends with you!”
Isn’t that a much better conversation than, “Hey, are you ready to buy or sell yet?” Of course it is!!
Stop by with swag (or Pop-Bys). These are items of value you are going to bring to you’re A+, A, and B clients. Make sure they are things you would want to receive if someone gave them to you. They don’t have to break the bank or cost a ton of money.
A pop-by example from Coach Michael Hellickson: A client lives near Bill Gates, on Mercer Island, in a gated home. Michael is delivering corn stalks to each of his A+ and A clients for autumn decoration. Since he was delivering corn stalks and couldn’t get past the gate, he left three corn stalks and a message saying,
“There’s a stalker in the Neighborhood… and his name is Michael Hellickson!!”
Sometimes it’s okay to be a bit ‘corny’. The clients loved it so much, they called Michael before they even walked through their front door to compliment him on his unique marketing techniques.
(Watch the full length video for more details and Coach Michael’s full ‘Stalker’ marketing strategy.) This is a great example of taking things from great customer service to “Ultimate Client Experience”. There’s a big difference between the two!
Handwritten personal notes! These are awesome!! There are two ways you can implement this strategy:
Send Out Cards. If you’re not using them already, you should be! It’s a great service and we highly recommend it. You can send cookies, brownies, mugs, photo collages, etc. Check It Out!
Actual handwritten, personal notes.
There is no substitute for an actual handwritten personal note to a client. We recommend writing at least 5 notes a day! If for some reason handwriting notes is just not your thing, have your admin staff do it. You can even have your staff use Send Out Cards to do it in your absence. That way, you are still achieving a WOW! touch point with your clients, and though it’s not as powerful as actual personal handwritten notes from you, it is better than no note at all.
Another thing you can include in your handwritten personal note is a gift card or gift certificate to Starbucks, Amazon, or even a local restaurant. Again, going above and beyond is the goal here. It doesn’t have to be an expensive gift certificate. Even if you sent a $5 Starbucks card, it’s the thought that counts, and it’s better than what your competition is (or is NOT) doing!
Appropriate gifts for milestones in their lives. Examples:
Maybe they’ve become an empty nester. Go to Amazon and find a book about what it’s like to become an empty nester and send it to them. Wouldn’t this be better than sending them a cheesy mail-out that says, “Are you thinking about buying or selling a home?” Make it about them and the things that are important to THEM!
Vendor Directory. Consider creating a vendor directory. Vendor directories are HUGE! People LOVE them. You want to become the resource when someone needs a plumber or handyman or painter. This way, you become their go-to, the home expert. Make sure they are coming to you for these things. You could even add a few discounts in your vendor directory. The majority of the time, the vendors are happy to cooperate and offer a discount because you are sending them business they would otherwise not have received.
Whenever possible, you want to provide a charitable component in your client events, and other marketing efforts.
Charitable components are HUGE and they provide a WOW factor. It says to your clients, “Hey look, I’m active in the community. I’m helping out. I’m not just take, take, taking.. I’m give, give, giving back to you, to the community and the people in need”. Let them see that side of you. Be genuine about it, don’t be fake. Be transparent about it. This is EXTREMELY important.
Make selfless calls to your clients. Don’t just make calls asking if they’re ready to buy or sell a home. Make calls that say, “Hey so I saw on Facebook that you are going through some stuff and I thought I’d reach out and see if you want to get together for lunch sometime.” Make selfless calls to bring them value, and make them important in your world instead of you trying to become important in theirs.
Come from contributions. Even when there is nothing in it for you, come from contributions, and bring value to them in every way you can, every time you have the opportunity.
- Take your A+ clients to lunch on a regular basis. If somebody is sending you multiple referrals or doing multiple transactions with you, you want to take them to lunch at least once a quarter. By doing this, it’s a WOW!! They feel special! That is much more important than you feeling special.
Snail mail newsletter. Most people who send out a newsletter are going to send out a real estate informational newsletter. Here’s the thing, people don’t care about real estate unless they are actively looking to buy or sell. What do they want in a newsletter? Something Fun!! Put their names in it, make sure it talks about the referrals (mentioned in your Friends Referring Friends section) that others have sent you and mention them by name. Do stuff that puts your clients in the forefront… not you.
Have a personal message somewhere in your newsletter. A few lines from you, about you. Kind of like how people send out their Christmas cards with letters on what’s going on in their lives and their kids’ lives the last 12 months. Do this with your newsletter. People want a backstage pass to your business and to your life. They want to get to know you. People do business with people they know, like, and trust. be that person! Make sure they know, like, and trust you. The only way to get there is to be transparent with them. Do a coloring contest and/or quiz questions in your newsletter. Provide engagement, get people involved in your newsletter.
You’ll also want a Client of the Month” in your newsletter or a “Client of the Year Award”. One thing we do at Club Wealth® to WOW our clients is send them a huge box full of really cool stuff when they sign up for coaching. Things they can use, not just stuff we want to send them, but stuff they need. Items of value they will want, the kind of things we want!
For more information on Newsletters, read our blog Perfect Real Estate Client Newsletter and check out our FULLY CUSTOMIZED and COMPLETED newsletter created for you by our Club Wealth® team! Remember, the emphasis should always be on them… not you. Treat them like the rockstar.
We also go out of our way to introduce them to other people. This is very, very important. People want to be introduced to other people. When you become the connector, you provide value to multiple people. Now they want to connect you to other people. You get their reticular activator going. Watch the full length video for more in-depth details on how your reticular activator works.
At Club Wealth® for example, we also take extra time between coaching calls to give a little extra attention to our clients. We call them, text them, Facebook message them, and they call us or text us. We provide unlimited coaching calls, at a time when most other companies limit the amount of calls you get with your coach. This is very, very important because it allows us to build deep, deep relationships with our coaching clients. You should be doing the same thing with your clients. Take the time to send them a video Facebook message for their birthday, or send them a little text message here and there just to let them know you were thinking about them.
Pick up the phone once in a while and just say, “Hey! I was thinking about you today and wanted to check in and see how you’re doing!”.
This has nothing to do with real estate, but it builds massive value. That brings the wow factor! This is something that other real estate agents have not done for them. Think about all of these wow factors. There are lots and lots of things you can do. We barely touched on them here.
There are all kinds of ideas you can use to create your very own version of the ULTIMATE CLIENT EXPERIENCE. Also, when you use one of these ideas, post it on Facebook, Instagram, AND tweet it out!! Hashtag it #WOWCLIENTS, #ULTIMATECLIENTEXPERIENCE and #CLUBWEALTH!
Who knows, we may notice your #hashtag and enter you in one of our drawings for something REALLY AWESOME!
(There’s a download on this page, make sure you get it!)
(Don’t forget, not only should you download the WOW ideas, you should also check out the specific blog – ULTIMATE BUYER EXPERIENCE.)