All brokers have either an administrative staff person or their agents answer incoming calls for the entire company. This form of customer service is essential to provide prospects, clients, and cooperating brokers the information they need to take action based on how you communicate with them.
How do you define exceptional customer service? Is it:
- Getting what you want?
- Getting it when you want it?
- Simplifying the message?
How long does the average phone call to answer? How many times are they put on hold, sent to voicemail, or even disconnected and made to repeat the process again? I’m not saying that to get rid of your phone, but as we approach the new decade, it is time to explore new, more efficient ways to communicate with your agents, clients, and prospects.
I am seeing more and more real estate professionals use Twitter each week. You can see for yourself by looking at my List of Associations on Twitter (let me know if I missed your association). The best part about Twitter is that the messages are instantaneous, archived like email, and short and to the point (140 characters or less). Since 80% of Twitter messages are sent and received from a mobile device it is crucial that agents have some way to access either from the phone internet browser http://m.Twitter.com, iPhone application, or Blackberry.
To use Twitter as a customer service tool I recommend downloading one of two programs that are free: TweetDeck or HootSuite. TweetDeck is a program that allows you to manage your account from your desktop just as Microsoft Outlook does for email. HootSuite allows you to set a series of ‘Tweets’ to be time released throughout the day
All you need to adopt Twitter in a real estate brokerage is to set up the account, learn best practices, and train the agents on how to create their profile, notification settings, and communicate using this tool. For this last step you might consider pointing your agents to my VIP Library where they can watch videos that explain the process in detail
Typical phone calls fall into the following categories:
- Call from a yard sign about the listing price
- Call from a newspaper asking for more details
- An agent wants to show a property
- An agent wants to talk with an agent live
- Someone is soliciting the broker for business
Let’s take a look at some examples on how a broker could use Twitter as a customer service tool.
A prospect calls on the telephone about a property and you ask them the question, “What is your preferred method of communication? Do you use Twitter?” If they say yes to Twitter then send them a Direct message (not a regular public tweet but one that only they see) with a link to the property website, YouTube property tour, and SlideShare presentation that defines the advantages of buyer agency. All will fit into 140 characters or less.
An agent calls about showing a property on 123 Main Street. You ask, “Do you use Twitter?” They say yes. You say, “Can I send you a Direct Message with the confirmation of appointment, approval of seller, and special instructions?”
The broker wants to get out a quick message to all of their agents about icy conditions on the road, notification of office closing next week, and or special event. Send a Tweet. Note that your agents must be following you and check Twitter to receive this Tweet. In addition, make sure the agents have enabled the mobile settings on their Twitter profile and have subscribed to the companies updates through the mobile device.
A seller calls into the office and wants to know what his/her home is worth. You ask, “What is your preferred method of communication? Do you use Twitter?” If they say yes, send them a Direct message with a link to your SlideShare (online PowerPoint presentation) with the 56 Things you do to market a property, a link to your blog which demonstrates your success at selling for top dollar, a link to client testimonials, and/or a link to a current but generic neighborhood market analysis and ask for the appointment. Often Twitter users receive tweets by phone and computer, so you will have effectively communicated with them twice, and they will know that you are easy to reach
An agent wants to speak with one of your agent on the phone but your agent is either out of the office and/or too busy to take the phone. Ordinarily you would write down a note or send an email with the agent’s name, phone number and additional info. If it is urgent then send a Direct Message in Twitter.
You ask, “Do you use Twitter?” If they say yes then two things:
Send your agent a Direct Message that someone is trying to reach you and include name, company and best way to call.
Send the calling agent a Direct Message a thank you for calling.
Bonus Question and Answer
Q: Who should a broker follow on Twitter?
A: Anyone who interacts, transacts or speaks real estate business.
These people include:
- Your agents, supporting staff, and broker’s personal Twitter accounts.
- Your competition. It is a good idea to know what they are posting to get a feel for their opinions on the market. Use Twitter as a listening tool instead of publishing tool in this case.
- Your clients. Knowing what your clients share on Twitter will give you a better feel of their professional and personal lives so you have something to talk about when you meet live.
- Your prospects. If they ask for real estate information ask them for theirs. Ask what their Twitter username is and start following them.
Bonus Bonus Question and Answer
Q: If someone posted something BAD about your company do you want to know about it?
Q: If someone posted something GOOD about your company do you want to know about it?
Create a FREE account at www.TweetBeep.com to use as an online reputation management tool. Anytime someone Tweets keywords that you specify you can be notified. You can set the alerts to occur only once a day so that your inbox does not get flooded. This way you can thank those who recommended you and rectify a situation when someone disagrees with you.
Be sure to check out the VIP library of how to videos on how to use Twitter for your real estate business. These are step by step explanations in real time of knowing what to type, what to click, and how often to click it.