When the discussion of tactics over strategy for a successful brokerage is happening – “must have technology” is what usually makes the cut in most strategic conversations with agents.
But what Broker Nelson Goulart from Better Homes And Gardens Signature Service in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada excels at is having a customer experience centric strategy – one that stems from the satisfied customers he and his agents have worked with. Never a perfect science, customer experience management and the business intelligence he gleans from it has turned up even more meaningful surprises – especially after recently launching a customer satisfaction platform for all of it’s agents. He initiated the process after having seen the success of the program with Better Homes and Garden Real Estate® offices in the United States. What he quickly learned is that the detailed surveys revealed far more than he ever expected.
Agent empowerment through customer service and satisfaction measurement and validation
When he started looking at the feedback from their clients a couple things popped out right away. “Having a survey/review process in place ensures two major benefits,” Nelson notes. “The first benefit, from an agent perspective, is that it provides a real validation of the service provided, setting them apart from all the ‘supposed’ number 1’s in the marketplace.”
In watching the roll-out in the United States, Nelson had become keenly aware of the testimonials collected and customer satisfaction numbers calculated as a by product of the detailed surveys, powered by RealSatisfied, but it wasn’t until his own data began streaming in that he realized the business intelligence benefit.
“We have been able to get to information that we’ve had to guess at in the past,” He says. “For example, we had no simple way to gather data on ‘factors of influence’ in choosing a broker and agent. These surveys give us this data and they make sharing it easy.”
Broker Business Intelligence: Getting a leg up by focusing on “Factors of Influence” from clients – not disconnected tactics from conference stages
It is this additional business intelligence data collected by the detailed customer satisfaction surveys that gives Nelson and his team a leg up over brokers focusing solely on the marketing aspects of ratings and reviews. Nelson continued, “The second benefit, from a broker perspective, it that it provides a complete breakdown on where the business is coming from, allowing the broker to customize specific training for their agents to maximize where their marketing dollars are being spent, and at the same time, monitoring the service level provided by their agents.”
And this is where Nelson plans to focus his efforts – on making sure his agents are focusing on the right tools and marketing practices, not jumping at every new trick being talked about on conference stages. “It’s my job to help my agents understand what they should and should not be focusing their attention on,” he says. “It’s too easy to get caught up in the hype floating around the internet and at conferences. It is eye opening, and empowering, when you have the evidence to speak confidently to ideas that may be contrary to that hype.”
What Nelson has come to realize through the collection of his agent’s customer experience feedback is that there is so much more to this process than the focus on agent ratings and reviews can reveal. “Today’s consumers live in the age of Yelp, Google Reviews, Trip Advisor and other online review systems. Consumers can now rate, comment and critique everything in their buying or selling experience from hotels to restaurants to cars and now, finally, their real estate agents,” Nelson states. “But what are agents and brokers really learning from that process? Not enough.”
Ratings and reviews attract customer’s eyeballs – but it’s the detailed, validated feedback from clients that matters most in business leadership
The focus of ratings and review sites is necessarily skewed toward the marketing benefits. The goal is to attract consumer eyeballs. Nelson understands the value of that, but feels it’s simply not enough. He knows that knowledge is power and the more insight he has, the better he can run his business. “With RealSatisfied , I get the best of both worlds – a validated customer satisfaction ratings and clients testimonials we can use publicly, and detailed feedback that helps us make better decisions when helping our agents succeed.
“In this business we must seek to understand customer’s needs, wants and most importantly gather feedback,” Nelson confidently states. “After all, a smile and a thank you doesn’t mean a client will refer you, or use your services again.”