We’ve all been there…waiting for a response about an item we wish to buy or seeking further information about a service we hope to use.
Now imagine that query relates to one of the most important financial and emotional decisions you are likely to make in your lifetime.
How long is too long to wait? What happens if you don’t get a response at all? And how do you feel about the person you’ve contacted if a response isn’t quickly forthcoming?
It soon becomes apparent that speed is of the essence when it comes to good service and customer sentiment.
And that’s especially the case in real estate where the asset involved is worth anywhere from a few hundred thousand dollars to a couple of million or well beyond.
Yet too often real estate agents overlook the fact that speed is currency.
Some interesting stats
Recently I spoke with a couple of ‘seller referral’ companies, and I was absolutely fascinated by one particular statistic they both shared.
They noted the most successful agents using those platforms have one common trait: speed of engagement.
Their statistics indicated agents who responded to ‘seller appraisal’ requests within the shortest period of time had an 80 per cent to 90 per cent success rate when it came to winning the business.
And when we’re talking about the shortest time, it was less than five minutes from the time the appraisal request was submitted. Not an hour, not the next day – within five minutes.
That’s an incredibly invaluable key performance indicator. It’s a worthy reminder that ‘speed’ in anything we do has ‘currency’.
And this reality applies to just about everything.
The McDonald’s factor
Let’s face it, consumers have become accustomed to expecting things instantly.
Consider the early beginnings of McDonald’s and the successful introduction of the drive thru. Now cast your mind back to more recent innovations like the disruption that came with Uber.
Each of these has a focus on speed, on immediacy. And while the speed of service is not a new concept, it is one that has accelerated rapidly in recent years as time becomes the customer’s most precious commodity.
Now any form of waiting devalues the user experience. We want things now because, as consumers, we expect speed and delivery of service to go hand-in-hand.
A legacy of the pandemic
As real estate boomed throughout the pandemic, a casualty became the speed of response. Buyers could wait days to have their inquiry responded to.
Even worse, some didn’t receive any response at all. At the time agents were busy, properties were plentiful, and sales were swift.
And yes, it was a market unlike any other most will see in our lifetime, but it left a sour taste in a lot of potential customers’ mouths.
I’d argue that should not have been their experience even at the height of the market, but if you found yourselves guilty of leaving customers hanging, now is the time to turn your business attention to speed of response and not just in sales.
A competitive advantage
No matter what your role, whether it’s sales, property management or administration, a focus on speed will give you a competitive advantage.
So how exactly is that done? Well, you can start by reviewing your processes, your service standards and your delivery of service.
Identify where you can decrease the time it takes to complete a particular task. Where can improvements be made that will separate you from the competition and provide greater perceived value to your clients?
Creating a ‘competitive advantage’ often comes down to simple improvements which are easy to execute. Speed is one of them and now is the time to turn your attention to this metric.