Career Woman

How to automate customer service measures while still retaining the personal touch


Customer service automation has got a bad reputation, but I believe it can actually be highly beneficial to your business. When used correctly, automation can actually improve your offering and increase customer satisfaction. In my view, the trick is to automate while retaining the personal touch.

While the majority of us would usually rather interact with a real person, sometimes in business it isn’t always possible – nor is it profitable. From a financial perspective, providing a consistently good customer experience can be time consuming and costly, but what if there were another way? Well, I believe there is, and the answer is automation.

In an industry such as real estate, you simply can’t compromise on customer service, but that doesn’t mean you seek help from other sources. Technology is advancing at an incredible pace, and there are a variety of innovative new options that can help you maintain a superior standard of service while eliminating those extra hours of administration.

Many of these impressive new programs have been designed to deliver greater efficiency and faster response times, but they also allow for you to add your own personal touch, ensuring the continuation of quality service your customers have come to expect.

In my own business at Biggin& Scott Knox, I successfully implemented a series of automated customer service measures which were instrumental in allowing our team to increase our rent roll and expand our service exponentially – helping us to achieve a 100% landlord retention rate and a 95% customer satisfaction rate. Here’s how you too can automate your customer service duties while retaining the personal touch.

Direct mail marketing

Within the real estate industry, direct mail marketing is one of the most popular methods used by agents to land new leads. However, sending generic ‘Dear Homeowner’ letters to every house in the neighbourhood isn’t necessarily the best strategy.

I find the most effective direct mail marketing campaigns are the ones that are more personal and are specifically addressed to the individual – this way they at least stand a chance of making it through the front door.

Make the most of your mailing list, and start looking at ways you can increase your potential customer database. Using simple mail merge processes in Microsoft Word, you can still fully automate the letters themselves, and once printed, the agent can sign their name in blue pen to add that extra personal touch.

Custom built platforms

Across a range of industries there are now a variety of custom-built platforms designed to meet their own specific needs. Within the field of real estate, there is an incredibly useful tool called Inspect Real Estate (IRE) which has helped me to revolutionise Biggin& Scott Knox.

(IRE) is a customised online booking system which allows prospective tenants to book property inspections, while simultaneously enabling agents to keep landlords informed during the rental process. Using this system, we’re able to produce instant, comprehensive, yet easy to understand reports for landlords about how many enquiries have been received, how many people attended an inspection and how many applications have been received for their property.

Although it’s automated, this rapid response technology means we can communicate with our customers faster and far more efficiently than before, and has greatly advanced our ability to deliver award-winning personalised service.

Online checklists

In professions that require employees to manage a lengthy list of tasks, it can be difficult to stay organised. Many find it helpful to implement processes and checklists, but some of these systems still have their flaws.

In a move that has been a real game-changer for our team, we recently established a series of online checklists using the cloud based task management system, Asana. The program offers many benefits, and it has supported us to streamline tasks associated with the listing of a rental property and manage our team more efficiently. In turn, this means we can reduce the amount of time spent on administrative responsibilities and spend more time out in the field liaising with customers directly.

About Danelle Hunter

Danelle Hunter is the Managing Director of Biggin & Scott Knox with many years of experince within the real estate industry. An expert in her field, Danelle was recently awarded the REA Group’s 2017 AREA Customer Service Excellence Award for her highly acclaimed ability to grow her business by up to 46.3% while maintaining a 100% retention rate simultaneously – a truly impressive feat that has not been surpassed by many.

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