CategoriesReal Estate

SOCIAL MEDIA AND REAL ESTATE (Part 1)

The internet is fast becoming an integral part of the modern society and our everyday lives. From the time the internet came into existence and social media emerged as a result, it has been used as a platform for connecting with people and communities, encouraging interactions and sharing content. Social media according to Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopaedia, refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks.
social 1
We find today that lots of people are plugged into the internet in more ways than anyone ever imagined. The irresistible force that the internet holds and the vast opportunities it offers attract users of all sorts to explore its potentials and use its resources to the advantage of their businesses. Over the past few years, real estate professionals have found creative ways to overcome the real estate crisis, including finding innovative uses for social media. Real estate professionals have therefore been forced to develop their offline skills in an increasingly social way online. To be successful in an ever increasing competitive market, businesses must adapt to modern technology and trends, employ the use of social media as a platform to reach out to the public, interface with its target market, build a solid database and market their diverse products. The 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry reports that;
a. 94% of all businesses with a marketing department used social media as part of their marketing platform.
b. Almost 60% of marketers are devoting the equivalent of a full work day to social media marketing development and maintenance.
c. 85% of all businesses that have a dedicated social media platform as part of their marketing strategy reported an increase in their market exposure.
d. 58% of businesses that have used social media marketing for over 3 years reported an increase in sales over that period.
The use of internet in real estate is however not an entirely new trend. Social media has been used in the real estate sector as a very strong tool for communicating, promoting and selling. In the real estate world, listings, open houses and tours are the main triggers towards making a sale and online communities have made all these much more easier. The core objective of real estate professionals or companies utilizing social media is to generate leads/businesses, build brands (on an independent and corporate level) to attract sellers and buyers alike. Real estate professionals, brokers and realtors use the following mass social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Youtube, Instagram, and Blogs.
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Facebook
Facebook is a great online community which boasts of nearly one billion users. The primary method used here is by creating a “Page” where information about the business is uploaded in the profile section. This platform allows realtors to share their listings using pictures, videos and information. Events for open house and display of upcoming activities can be uploaded in the “event” feature. Clients can have live personal/group chats or interactive discussions with realtors. Most liked or shared posts/topics are easily monitored. This way, realtors are aware what attracts people’s attention more, what does not and how engaging they are.
Twitter
This has been described as the fastest growing social media network and now a marketing tool which allows the user post updates of up to 140 characters at once. It also allows the user give straight to the point information on products and offerings. It offers a great opportunity for real estate professionals to promote properties to a wider market. Twitter acts as a free press release tool that can generate traffic to a company’s site when enough followers have been built up. It creates room for a two-way interaction with potential and existing clients, thereby building trust, loyalty, lasting interpersonal relationships and ultimately the brand.
(To be continued)

CategoriesReal Estate

CUSTOMER SERVICE IN REAL ESTATE (Part 2)

 

Continued from last edition
For real estate companies to have an excellent customers’ service, below are some vital factors that need to be considered for implementation on a consistent basis:

Eliminate procrastination – As much as possible, try to respond to your clients promptly. If the request is time consuming or cannot be delivered at the moment due to unavailability or other factors, try to inform the customers in advance, providing a timeline to deliver on the request/task. This way they are prepared and aware of the situation or else, have an option of opting for an alternative. But if this can be avoided, it is better to respond promptly.

Answer the phone – Customers always almost reach for the phone in the event that they need to lay complaints about a service before sourcing for other options. It can be upsetting to call the customer care of a business without receiving any response. Ensure that the phone is answered at all times. People prefer to lay their complaints to real people and robots or recorded messages.

Keep clients updated – Constant status updates keep clients abreast with ongoing situations about a project. Informing them of a development’s milestones, construction, repairs or maintenance progress, changes made if any, market analysis etc gives them some sort of reinforcements that they’re involved in the project and more confidence in the project itself.

Be Reliable – Being reliable is a major factor in delivering on good client service. Never make promises if there is no guarantee of keeping them. It is better not to promise than to promise and fail. A client will most times want to continue doing business with a company who stays true to their words in terms of appointments, deadlines and delivery. It goes a long way to show the company’s level of professionalism.

Always listen to your Customers – It is paramount to try to listen and understand what a client is communicating. Some clients have difficulty expressing themselves or can be ambiguous with words. Still, it is the responsibility of the customer service personnel to ask for clarification where there isn’t any to avoid the customer leaving with the joy that there was understanding while there wasn’t. Such can only lead to more complaints, unsatisfied customers or worse more, bad publicity.

Be well informed – Knowing all there is to know about the project or service and having up-to-date information that answers to customers questions or needs put the company in a position of confidence and professionalism. Train your staff to be knowledgeable and courteous and always helpful. Knowing the basics of customer service interactions equips them better to handle those curious and questioning clients.

Be Patient – Refusing to display agitation to the knowledge of your callers who either derive pleasure in pushing peoples buttons or do not in truth understand the message been relayed to them takes a lot of practice and expertise. It is important to maintain professionalism at all times.

Go the extra mile – Often times, clients come up with one request or the other. Whatever that extra step may be, good client service takes it. Clients always notice or know when an extra effort was put into delivering on task, and though some may not say it, others actually show gratitude or appreciation. Now, not only will these lead to an indebted client, it would have paved a path for future businesses or transactions.
Many more companies are turning to good customer service to differentiate themselves from the competitors. This is the only way they can stand out. This is why Customer Service is essential in real estate.

Under-promise and over-deliver – The level of expectation in today’s real estate environment is so low that simply doing what you say you are going to do or following up when you say you will follow up is often all it takes to make a customer happy. Never promise what you do not mean or are incapable of offering. Doing a little more that the customer expects makes a positive impression and ensures repeat business or at the very minimum a referral.

CategoriesReal Estate

CUSTOMER SERVICE IN REAL ESTATE (Part 1)

In today’s world with the overload of information, the fast pace of life and the exposure to boundless real estate services; personalized services and full customer experience is a powerful value proposition and differentiator.

WHAT IS CUSTOMER SERVICE?
Customer service as defined by Wikipedia is the provision of service to customers before, during and after a purchase, According to Turban et al. (2002), It can also be seen as the knowledge delivered with care to make life easy for the customer. Customer service is a collection the different activities that a company has designed to enhance the level of customer satisfaction by satisfying the customer needs and exceeding their expectations. It is that one-on-one contact with the customer.
Good customer service involves the careful development of personal and interpersonal relationships with customers and gaining confidence of new customers plus solidifying those of the old customers via the product or service been offered. Unfortunately in recent times, many businesses have lowered the standards of customer service with inconsistent delivery of promises while customers have equally lowered their expectations and therefore expect poor service at all times. Companies with proactive attitudes can leverage on this to their advantage by applying enforceable customer service strategies and tools to maintain the old customers and attract new ones.

SIGNIFICANCE OF CUSTOMER SERVICE

Quality customer services have the following positive outcomes:

a. It adds value to the product or service the customer purchased from the company because the customer leaves feeling he/she has bought a product worthy of the amount paid for it.

b. It offers competitive advantage to the customers and provides an opportunity for elaborate understanding of the product.

c. Good service creates a good public image for the business by elevating the brand in the public eye which is essential in order to survive competitive business.

d. Without the customer there is no business, therefore the customer is very important. Excellent customer service leave customers satisfied. And these customers would most likely do a repeat business in the future, would help spread the word/give referrals, become loyal customers who in turn would result to increased sales and profits. On the Contrary, companies with poor customer service may lose customers and this would definitely have a negative impact on the business. It would cost much more money for a company to acquire a customer than to retain them, due to advertising costs and the expense of sales calls.

e. Customers always have complaints about a product or a service from time to time and require support in solving those problems. Good customer service that address questions, answers to complaints or problems timely leave customers satisfied. These results in fewer complaints from the customers and shows the customer that the company cares about their satisfaction and happiness.

f. A good customer service can also increases the morale and confidence that customers have in a product or service.


g. It converts your clients to your raving fans.
Because customers are vital to any business, real estate companies need also to be well equipped in offering real customer service solutions. However, good customer service is not easily achieved. It takes time to establish. It requires investment to deliver consistent standards. What real estate investors and end users are really interested in today’s investing environment are competence, expertise, intelligence, transparency and availability. They want to do business with people that help them feel comfortable with making investment decisions, people that answer their questions promptly and appropriately, people that invest time ensuring that they are satisfied at the end.

Customers should always feel special whenever they experience your brand. This is very important to the real estate business which majorly thrives on referrals to survive.

(To be continued in the next edition)

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