We are a society glued to our phones. They no longer are used to call people but for games, social media interaction, ways to stay “in the know” and viewing everything from the next major news feed to a stupid cat video. We are literally missing the world around us. Now, I’m not saying that this technology is useless – far from it as it also keeps us in touch with loved ones, offers local news, the latest book, or just gives us something to do on the bus, in line or sitting an open house – ok maybe that’s just me. But will it ever replace the real interaction of a human being? I certainly hope not and of course in my line of work I hope that really never happens.
Yes, technology and machines do eventually take the place of a human for many tech jobs such as assembly lines and such but there is nothing that beats real human contact. Technology, however, must be used in today’s day and age for listing, promoting and marketing and many forms are now available online – heck, some transactions can go through without a person every touching a piece of paper with electronic signatures and all. But are we so inundated with technology we’ve lost the goal of customer service?
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I like to be in the know and provide my clients with flashy information on an iPad or tablet and show them what I can do and how we can accomplish their goals but often times they just don’t want that. They want to know how I can help them buy or sell a house. Pure and simple. No fuss, no fancy graphs or charts, just tell me them the facts and why they should hire me.
This is where it gets tricky – not every client is like that so this is where we have to “be all things to all people”. Find what they respond to and accommodate. Some clients are impressed with online communication, texting, electronic signatures and all, and for some this is the best way to communicate. But others prefer the face to face contact, the hand shaking, the look-them-in-the-eye approach so they know they can trust you.
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While all agents should be able to navigate the Internet and provide online searches catered to their clients, they also should be able to provide printed documents to review later at a moment’s notice. Most agents can at least get into their MLS and send listing but some don’t even know what to do when a new addendum must be created or a contingency must be altered due to some unknown issue down the line. This is where technology and their knowledge of it is not going to help. Experienced agents can offer on-site inspection advice, information and suggestions on negotiations, what to ask for and how to get the terms the client wants. This kind of skill is not achieved online but in the day to day experience of this business. When time sensitive issues are on the line, no amount of tech savvy knowledge will beat the tried and true experience of a qualified and seasoned agent. It’s that clever negotiation tactic of voice to voice communication, convincing an inspector to take one more look at a property; it’s the subtle urging in the face to face contact that makes the seller come down another $1000 on an offer for the agent’s buyer, and it’s the smile on the face of the young family whom you just handed the keys to their new home that really makes the difference. These expressions cannot be handled digitally. This really is a people business and it will remain so regardless of how “techy” we all get.