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Predictable customer experiences

By Ben Faulks

For a long time we have been investing in resources in our business to try and make our customer experiences more predictable. We have created roles such as our customer service manager who handles the process from the time of signing an agreement until the point we go on the market, and our stock manager who handles our entire vendor reporting.

It’s our goal to ensure that regardless of which agent in our business you list your property with, that you receive the same high level of service from Ray White Belconnen.

With this in mind, this past weekend I experienced an interesting parallel to this endeavour, which spoke volumes about how easily our brand can be damaged by not meeting our customers’ expectations.

I have a favourite breakfast place which I try to get to every week or two. Each week I turn up, and without consulting a menu order my long black and ‘paleo’ breakfast which consists of spinach, poached eggs, avocado and smoked salmon. The food is always fresh, well presented, and tasty.

From the time I get in my car to drive to the markets I start envisioning the breakfast I’m about to eat, and creating a sense of expectation – and every time this café delivers.

That was until Sunday morning just passed when I stopped in for breakfast, sat down with the paper, and saw what I thought was an entirely different breakfast placed in front of me. It was still ‘paleo’ and gluten free, but there was now sausage, bacon, tomato and the salmon was poached rather than smoked. It was definitely not what I was expecting, and I turned to the waitress and said ‘I’m sorry, I think you have the wrong breakfast’. To which she replied ‘No, that’s our paleo breakfast’.

I was visibly disappointed – and I was immediately conscious that my opinion of this café started to decline. I wondered if it was unreasonable for me to have such a strong reaction. The food was still tasty, the service great, and the overall experience very good, but the simple fact that my expectations were not met, had an immediate impact on me.

 I had eaten there several times, and told other people about the place, but for the simple reason of a change of menu, I was a raving fan that was lost to them.

Thankfully for this café the waitress noticed my reaction and came up to ask if everything was OK. Through her attentiveness and customer service my relationship with the business was saved, but it was a great reminder on how easily you can lose a raving fan and damage your brand if you don’t meet your client’s expectations.

 Real estate agents regularly take the experience we provide our customers for granted. Most agents reinvent the wheel each and every time they start a new listing, and their buyers and sellers experiences are anything but predictable.

I wonder how many people simply stand up and walk away from a transaction that we never hear from again, simply because we fail to replicate our performance on a consistent basis, and even more so fail to meet expectations.

Ben Faulks, Principal

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