atomic consultancy

Don’t be the restaurant that doesn’t turn the heating on this winter…

Following our exciting win of Best Supplier in the Acquisitions Services category at the ESTAS, we spoke with Simon Brown, Founder of The ESTAS Group. He gave us his insight on the importance of customer feedback and told us about the new ESTAS tool which makes gaining valuable feedback easy.

Written by Simon Brown, Founder of The ESTAS Group:

It’s a brave business owner who actually invites criticism;  I speak from the personal experience of asking the opinions of the great and the good of the UK property industry for their thoughts every year after The ESTAS Awards (which took place on 20th October). 

All feedback is hugely valuable – be it negative or positive.  I go through the process of asking clients to tell me what they think to make sure that, in the event someone feels that there is room for improvement, I can address that and fold it into the planning for next year.  It may sting a bit at the time, but it’s a much better outcome for the business than finding out months later and not being able to do anything about it.

We Brits are not a nation of complainers”

By the same token, client feedback plays a pivotal role in improving the overall buying and selling process for your clients.  By gaining insights into consumers’ needs as their transactions progress, and actively soliciting feedback at all major touchpoints, you’re effectively giving your customers the opportunity to voice any concerns without any feeling of awkwardness.  We Brits are not a nation of complainers, that stiff upper lip and propensity to ‘not make a fuss’ is great but it can lead to a lot of pent-up frustration which can have serious consequences for a property transaction. It could result in the client taking their business to your competitor down the road, or lead to a damning customer review or a rant on social media, or worst case, all three!

At ESTAS Towers, we speak a lot internally about the need for companies to provide the opportunity to hear ‘the voice of the customer’.   Giving your customers the opportunity to voice any small concerns – before they become big problems – is a great way to keep transactions on track.   It’s also an excellent way to understand where any internal processes may not be working quite so well and perhaps require improvement, or if any staff training needs are highlighted.   Any way you look at it, those are all much better outcomes than a customer stewing about something that they don’t feel able to talk about.

Giving your customers the opportunity to voice any small concerns – before they become big problems – is a great way to keep transactions on track”

The other benefit of actively seeking and encouraging client feedback throughout the life-cycle of the transaction is that you then have the opportunity to not just meet but exceed customer expectations around ‘what good looks like’ in terms of excellent customer service.  And for this, I’ll use my favourite restaurant analogy…

Imagine that I’ve taken my family out for lunch to a really lovely restaurant for a celebratory meal.  Once we’re settled at the table, it becomes apparent there’s a cold draft.  The waiter approaches our table…and has two options:

Option one:  Waiter asks for our drinks order, engages in polite chat and provides us with menus to peruse.

Option two:  Waiter asks for our drinks order, engages in polite chat, provides us with our menus to peruse and asks if we’re comfortable or if there is anything else he can do for us?

The first option represents a good level of service but the second option represents an outstanding level of service because the waiter is proactively seeking customer feedback, which then encourages the customer to mention that something isn’t quite right in a way that makes them feel comfortable and enables the waiter to then go on and deliver an even higher level of service…by fixing that problem.  In this example, that could look like closing a window or turning on a radiator.

In the first scenario I probably wouldn’t say anything ‘for fear of being seen to cause a fuss’ and then stew for the entire meal, maybe criticise the food or wine and telling other people that I didn’t have a great experience – possibly via a review or social media.

However in the second scenario I feeling the waiter and restaurant are offering outstanding service, which then positively changes my perception of the restaurant, leading to me recommend it to other people, leave a generous tip and of course, submit a glowing customer review online.

Now think about how that example relates to your own business…which of those outcomes would you prefer?  

That’s exactly why asking customers frequently throughout the often long and convoluted process of a property transaction how they are finding the service they are receiving and providing that opportunity to collect ‘voice of the customer’ feedback is so critical.

ESTAS has launched a new INSIGHT tool which enables agents to gain valuable feedback from clients at key touch points in the customer journey and help avoid fall throughs. Click here to book a demo.