Building a Client-Centric Brokerage: Your Ultimate Guide
You already know that millennials are incredibly savvy, but you may be surprised to hear that they are more likely to rely on professional guidance from real estate agents than any other generation. Millennials might do most of their preliminary real estate research online, from searching for homes to mortgage applications, but they still seek out the expertise and personalized attention that only a real-life agent can provide. Since millennials make up the largest portion of first-time home buyers, maximizing customer service potential is imperative for your brokerage to stay competitive.
What does this mean for the client-centric brokerage or brokerages that put customer service above all else? When appealing to this generation, and homebuyers as a whole, you have the opportunity to amplify your customer service with unconventional tactics that streamline the home buying process. Here’s what you need to know to take your customer service to the next level and provide clients with the best possible experience.
What is a client-centric brokerage?
When it comes to client-centricity, it’s all about going the extra mile. So, a client-centric brokerage is one that continually strives to build lasting relationships with their clients even after closing. From small gestures such as working around a client’s busy schedule to larger ones like sending closing gifts, client-centric brokerages create an ideal home buying experience for their clients.
Why You Should Enhance Your Client-Centric Approach
In general, consumers are seeking increasingly more personalized experiences. So, client-centric brokerages will naturally set themselves ahead of the pack by providing services that go beyond the expected. This client-centric approach also opens the door to positive reviews and referrals, which you can leverage as social proof to bring in more leads.
How to Enhance Your Client-Centric Brokerage
Focus on building relationships
Relationships are at the heart of every client-centric business, so it’s imperative that your brokerage, and your agents, cultivate strong working relationships with each client. When establishing these relationships, take the time to get to know each individual and fully understand their needs.
To make a lasting impression, be sure to reach out to your clients even after closing. Sending a housewarming gift and a personalized thank you card is an excellent way to show your appreciation for their business. Providing resources and tips to ease your clients’ stress while moving is also a great way to keep your agents and your brokerage top of mind weeks and even months after closing.
Give your clients a welcome packet upon closing
A warm welcome can ease some of the stress of moving. Give your clients a hand by providing them with a personalized welcome packet. Include information and a list of relevant businesses based on their individual needs. Do they have a Labradoodle? Recommend a dog-walker and groomer in the area. If they have young children, suggest some kid-friendly restaurants. This extra care will leave a lasting impression on your clients as they settle into their new home.
Let your client specify their communication preferences
Structuring your communication around your clients’ preferences will benefit both your clients and your agents. Simply asking how often your clients want to be contacted and their preferred method — be it email, phone call, or text message — can make a big difference. Not only will clients appreciate your consideration, but it will streamline communications for both parties.
When working with a seller, you can also establish a timeline and communication plan. For instance, do they want weekly or bi-weekly updates? After you have a list of your clients’ preferences, you can devise a communication plan that is individualized just for them.
Organize your email database
Make sure your emails are targeted by segmenting your email database into specified lists. Depending on your marketing strategies, you can divide the addresses into such categories as leads, current clients, and previous clients. This way you’re sure to deliver the most relevant information to each group. This benefits your clients by cutting down on the irrelevant emails packed into their inbox, and it helps your business by targeting select audiences with the most accurate messaging.
Ask for customer feedback
Distribute client feedback surveys after closing so your clients know that their opinions and experiences matter. This way, you will gain clear insight into what resonates most with your clients.
When it comes to negative feedback, it might be uncomfortable, but remember to respond promptly and substantively to each client. Negative reviews offer opportunities to change a client’s opinion, so use them to show off your customer service skills.
Provide your agents with the best tools
Providing the ultimate client experience takes time and effort. To free up some time on your agents’ calendars set them up with the best real estate apps and tools available. This way, they can spend more time focusing on their clients and impressing them with the tools they need for a seamless moving experience.
Use social media to involve clients in the community
Moving to a new neighborhood can be tough, so keep your clients in the loop with a newsletter or social media posts that announce community events. Whether it’s a neighborhood fun run, a book reading at the local library, or a wine tasting at a nearby restaurant, your clients will appreciate the heads up. This will help them settle into their new community while also maintaining your brokerage as a valuable resource for your clients.
Leverage practical empathy
Buying a home is no small feat. As your clients’ most knowledgeable resource during this time, they rely on not just your expertise, but also your ability to understand their journey as a homebuyer. Try to leverage your practical empathy skills to thoroughly understand your clients. Once you put yourself in their shoes, you can better identify your clients’ pain points and accurately address them.
Offer clients virtual home staging tools
It can be hard for some clients to picture their belongings in a new home. With everything else they have to consider – from the neighborhood to the price – deciding where their TV and the bed might go can leave clients feeling overwhelmed. Take the guesswork out of decorating by offering your clients virtual home staging tools. By showing potential home buyers the potential of each room, you help your clients envision themselves living there, making the decision-making (and homebuying) much easier.
Now that you have all the necessary tools to build even more meaningful relationships with your clients, you can get down to business. As long as you continue to help your clients at each stage of the home buying and selling process, you’re sure to benefit from a client-centric model.
Dawn is a former content marketing intern at Updater. When she isn’t writing, researching, or creating content, you can find her cooking dinner with friends, exploring new neighborhoods, or plotting her next adventure.