I mentioned last time that my theme would be things in our industry that have changed over my forty years and things that are still the same - watch out next time for “Ties and Tattoos”.
On Friday of last week, in the results of the EA Masters mystery shop, we saw a first class example of how some things have been changed forever by tech, but at the same time how other things will never change.
When I started in this business in 1978, one of the first things I was taught (OK it was beaten into me) was how important it was to make an excellent first impression. In a world where the vast majority of first contacts were face to face, this meant standing up when the door opened, walking to meet the customer, offering a seat, offering coffee, lots of smiles and lots of friendly eye contact.
Equally important was answering the phone promptly and enthusiastically, asking sensible questions, building rapport, showing genuine interest.
Whether this was the first time this customer had been in contact or just the latest one - the objective was always the same. We want this customer to be wowed by our commitment to helping them achieve their goals.
Some things never change
That objective remains the same, customers still expect to be wowed. They’re desperately hoping to find someone who they can trust to help them. As soon as they find that person, then they can stop talking to all the other idiots. Most customers make up their mind within seconds - first impressions still count.
However, the way this is achieved has been changed for all time by Tech. Very few customers now visit your branches, a lot more use the phone of course (no mobiles in 1978), but overwhelmingly when I ask agents or customers I’m told that most customers’ first contact is always by email….and they expect an immediate response.
So, what did we find out at EA Masters last Friday?
Simply this - if you’re a modern customer and your favoured method of first contact is by email then with your average UK estate agent you only have a three in ten chance of gaining a good first impression. Frightening but true - 69% of Rightmove enquiry emails are still unanswered after an hour and only six out of ten have been answered a day later!!
Agents that use Callwell are able to turn an email into a phone call within twenty seconds. Our customers are disappointed if they haven’t dealt with all emails within an hour. If you believe first impressions still count, then you need Callwell.
Every agent I’ve ever met believes in standing to greet walk-in customers and believes in answering the phone promptly. If that’s true, why do seven out of ten of those same agents ignore emails?