The answer? Customer service is 100% important and ought to be every real estate agent’s number one priority.

Madina Ashour, a consumer research analyst with Keller Williams Research and the author of KW’s 2018 US Home Seller Satisfaction Survey, correlated data taken from some 1,600 current homeowners who sold a house within 1-5 years to determine key customer service elements. Here are some of the report’s findings.

  1. 85% of current homeowners who sold a house within 1-5 years believe that real estate agents are “absolutely essential to the home selling process.”
  2. Client perspective and client loyalty shift over time. Because customer loyalty decreases over time, it is VERY important that agents remain connected with their clients. This client connection is wholly the responsibility of the agent. Social media, texts, emails, market updates, newsletters, special events, coffee, a hike, whatever…be in touch with your clients so that you are a reality, not a fading or forgotten memory.
  3. 84% of clients who experience excellence with/from their agent say they would “positively” refer their agent to family members, friends, colleagues. Above average custom service delivers only 28%.
  4. Over and over again, clients say the biggest inconvenience they experienced when selling their homes was having to have a “show-ready” house. After that, other inconveniences include:
  5. Staging – 45%
  6. Repairs – 44%
  7. Open houses – 44%
  8. Time required for the closing process – 34%

Sellers typically like their homes furnished just the way they’ve furnished them. When told that the house has to be staged, sellers may become offended that their personal taste is being questioned. Sellers may also not want to have to pay to have their home staged.

Agents might clarify with sellers the difference between staging and decorating a home. The purpose of staging a home is to have the look and feel of the home appeal to the largest number of people possible whereas the purpose of decorating a home is to showcase the personal taste of the homeowner.

Sellers typically do not want to repair things and/or pay for repairs when after all, they are not going to benefit from and “use” those repairs themselves. In these days of HGTV reality real estate shows, however, agents might remind sellers that buyers want “move-in ready” homes and that buyers will pay premiums for that move-in readiness.

Open houses are inconvenient for sellers, no doubt about it. The house has to be immaculate, the children and pets have to be out of the house, the sellers have to be out of the house. Agents might share with their sellers their open house schedules as far in advance as possible so their sellers have as much “warning” as possible and can even plan to be out of town during “show” weekend.

The amount of time required for the closing process can be annoying and/or inconvenient. New disruptive platforms associated with iBuyer and iLender programs are being developed to shorten the time required for the closing process. Crypto-currency use is also enabling faster closing times. It might well be that within a couple of years, all closings may take just a few days or even hours rather than a few weeks.