Every business has a culture, and it either contributes to achieving organisational goals – or hinders your efforts. What’s yours doing?
As well as having a huge impact on employee satisfaction, engagement and retention, company culture is critical to long term business success. Your culture reverberates across all aspects of your real estate agency because it represents the way you do business. It’s both your image and your identity, determining how staff operate as well as how prospects and clients perceive you.
Your real estate agency’s culture is a reflection of the behaviours and shared values of your agents and admin, who then pass those values on to new members. In a post-covid world, where remote work is the new normal, it’s more important than ever.
So, what does your agency value?
There is no one-size-fits-all culture template that all real estate agencies must pigeon-hole themselves into in order to succeed.
Every business’ culture is unique. However, there are a couple of fundamental principles that should apply to any real estate agency. The most important is customer service: recognising and valuing customers as individuals. It’s the biggest core value of a high-functioning real estate agency.
The customer experience you provide is also your best competitive weapon. It’s far easier for another agency to slash their commissions or run a promotion than it is to try and copy your unique brand, your values and the way in which your staff live by them.
Values instil the practice
If your agency values customer service above all else, your agents are going to:
- keep their promises;
- happily go above and beyond; and
- build great relationships
all of which attract testimonials, referrals and ultimately more business for your agency.
Exceptional customer service drives customer loyalty, and repeat customers cost your business a whole lot less than prospecting for new ones. You just have to give your agents the tools to live by this key value.
CRM as a tool for cultural change
The easiest way to make sure your agency culture is working for, not against, business goals is to link your set of values to the way staff use their tools. Your customer relationship management system is the tool that’s going to have the most impact, as it’s what your agents and admin spend their days in. It also solves the biggest problem real estate agents face: volume.
The two main elements that will help you provide great customer service at scale are customer data and templates.
Customer data in your CRM
Your CRM should be your SPOT (“single point of truth”) that provides agents with everything they might need to know about a contact, right at their fingertips.
One of the biggest hurdles to providing exceptional customer service is accurate information – about their property needs, family make-up, likes, dislikes, where the kids go to school, etc. If your agency has a process (or, even better, a requirement) for entering customer data, problem solved!
Your agents will have the tools and the information they need to hear, understand and relate to each of their clients – three key elements of providing exceptional customer service.
Agents are busy people, we don’t need to tell you that. So, if you provide them with template letters, emails and even text messages for things like anniversaries, birthdays, open home reminders, agents will use them. (Especially if your agency uses tracks, and effectively puts these touchpoints on auto-pilot.)
Some of those communications are easy enough to shoot off without much thought. But what about:
- a thank you email asking a vendor for a testimonial upon completion of the sale;
- a letter advising a vendor that it’s time to renew the listing agreement, as their house hasn’t sold yet; or
- an email to an open home attendee who wasn’t interested, telling them you’d love to talk about other listings you currently have.
These kinds of communications require some planning and, above all, they need to be written in your agency’s tone of voice.
Creating and enforcing useful best practice is an incredibly important (and equally difficult) element of any real estate agency’s culture. Provide nothing and your staff will be forced to go rogue, thinking on their feet whether they’re rushing between open homes or at the park for a Sunday family picnic. How they respond, the tone in which they write, will depend on that context. By providing templates that are perfectly curated to suit your agency’s tone of voice, you create consistency for your clients and take the pressure off your staff – a double whammy.
Your CRM should help in the adoption of your agency’s culture. The future workspace is probably going to look a whole lot more remote, so spend the time creating processes and workflows that suit the way you want your people to work – then reap the rewards.
Want to know more about CRM strategy? Check out our latest ebook, the 2021 Property CRM Strategy Guide.