In some industries, customer service isn’t nearly as big a deal as it is in others. For example, when I roll my garbage can out to the curb the night before trash day, I really have no other expectation than the woman or man driving the truck the next day will extend out the big mechanical arm, grab my garbage can, empty it into the gaping maw in the back of the truck, and return the can in the same spot (or within a reasonable distance of the same spot) for me to retrieve and put it back behind my fence later in the day. The only other expectation I have is that someone in a similarly equipped truck will come back the next week and repeat the process. End of story.
In the mortgage and real estate world, customer service is a HUGE deal, of course, and a lot of the reason is we’re guiding a person or group of persons through a process that takes more than a day or two. On top of that, no transaction is exactly like another one, so we’re constantly “on call” to face whatever curve ball the underwriter throws at us or overcome whatever roadblock an unwitting buyer (or seller) throws up in our path. But you knew all that, right?
Whenever I see someone post a review from a client on Instagram or Facebook, I laugh a little to myself. The source of my subtle mirth doesn’t stem from the typeface they chose (while I would strongly recommend against Comic Sans) or the format in which they created the post but from the fact 99.9% of the people leaving these glowing reviews (because who’s going to post a bad review) only know about 10% of what went on to produce such a positive result. It’s the iceberg phenomenon: 10% is what you see, 90% remains below the surface and invisible to the casual observer. And that’s the way it should be!
I’m reminded of a transaction I did last year that looked like the most generic real estate purchase you could ever find. It closed in 30 days, and both the listing agent and the buyer’s agent walked away very pleased with the whole thing. I can’t speak for the seller, but I know the buyer was ecstatic over how easy it seemed. That’s the 10% everyone else saw.
However, during that 30 days, all sorts of nasty stuff was flung at us, figuratively speaking. Had we called all parties involved with our hair on fire each time another negative thing occurred, we would have caused a great deal of unnecessary panic. This is where TRUE customer service plays out: behind the scenes that no one knows about. That’s not being sneaky. That’s being smart. And in those moments when we did need to bring a problem to everyone’s attention, we already had a solution or group of solutions in place.
So, the next time you read a rave review about a real estate agent or a lender, ask yourself what she or he kept back from the customer to ensure that positive experience. What’s NOT said is going to tell a much more interesting and compelling story!