I can't stand complaints.
Sometimes we receive complaints at Prudential Real Estate. Yes, we are not perfect, I know. However, we treat complaints very seriously and work hard to resolve issues as quickly as they occur. Fortunately, we don't get a lot of complaints, but even one or two is far too many.
So, what do people complain about?
Almost all unhappy customers are frustrated with a lack of communication. I wasn't told. I didn't know. No one called me back. I was not expecting (something). No one told me.
There's no excuse for not keeping people informed but, I guess, it happens occasionally.
About 18 months ago we came across a technology solution that solved almost all our communications problems with prospective tenants.
As the largest single provider of residential rental accommodation in Sydney's south-west we were inundated with phone calls from people wanting to make inquiries about available properties - hundreds every day. In fact, at that time we had two full-time staff taking calls and answering questions. Most simply wanted to book an appointment to view a property.
As the rental market heated up a few years ago and the number of incoming calls grew steadily every day some people were waiting hours for a call-back. You can imagine how people were feeling.
And then came the solution.
I had a call from a friend who had previously owned a real estate business in Brisbane. He had devised a simple technology solution that allowed prospective tenants the opportunity to book their own appointments to view rental properties online. As soon as they booked they received an acknowledgement by SMS and email. On the day of the inspection they received another SMS to remind them.
Once we put this idea into place our phone calls dropped by 90% almost overnight. Suddenly our prospective tenants were being updated instantly on something that may have previously caused a headache - and at lightning speed. It seemed most people were happy to book their own appointment and bypass the agent until they arrived at the open house.
Within a few months our customer feedback comments reflected how happy everyone felt about this new idea. Prospective tenants could book an appointment to see one of our rental properties at any time without having to contact us. The new system provided a register of all those expected at the open house, so we knew what to expect. At the open house we were able to provide information about the property and lots more to every attendee. If the open house was cancelled we could send an SMS to everyone with a single button press on our computer. Everyone was a winner.
At Prudential Real Estate, we are constantly on the lookout for solutions that improve our customer's experience. Buying, selling or renting property can be very stressful and our job is to make everything go as smoothly as possible.