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Good for Business
by David Brauner, Senior Broker at OREP.org
Great/five star reviews, like the one above can be good for business—just ask Yelp. But “negative” feedback also can propel your business success—if you pay attention to it. Let me explain why.
Good companies, even those with a staff of one, can benefit from negative feedback and even criticism. When we’re too busy or struggling, the impulse may be to not take criticism to heart. Staying positive while you forge ahead may seem like self-preservation. And it probably is—I’ve been there. But while you shouldn’t let criticism defeat you, you shouldn’t ignore it either. Taking the time to take a clear-eyed look at client feedback is good for business.
OREP set up BlippReviews, an automated customer review system, as a way to encourage client feedback and measure how we’re doing. The good, bad and the ugly. It works! This may not make sense for your company right now but when feedback in any form is offered, make up your mind to not ignore it because it’s valuable. If you’re busy, make a note and set it aside for when you have the time and patience to review it. Maybe you can schedule an hour a week dedicated for this; just giving it some thought on the drive home or in the shower can be all it takes to evaluate the validity. A good part of this involves taming our egos and resisting the impulse to become defensive. We all know people who believe that everyone else is an idiot. That’s not good for business.
As mentioned, sometimes a complaint can lead to a fix that applies to every piece of business you handle, a routine or procedure that makes everything more efficient. Your client feedback might be subtle. Perhaps you notice a pattern in a client’s preferences or “requirements” in how they want to be updated, for instance, or kept in the loop on your progress. Or maybe you are asked to include a unique explanation or extra comps on certain types of properties for this particular client. Think how nice it would be if they didn’t have to ask every time—even if you think the request is unnecessary. Remember, it’s their dime. In many cases, there are “hints” in your day-to-day business that you can use to provide a better client experience and build stronger reports, as long as it’s within ethical bounds, try to comply. If they drive you crazy, fire them for a better or more compatible client.
If I see an email from an anxious client waiting for a quote as their expiration draws near, my radar turns on because they might be losing business. What is their expiration date? Have they waited too long? Do we need more staffing? If I see in the file that they have a claim that requires additional underwriting from the carrier and that they just submitted their docs two days ago, I understand why it’s taking longer than usual—that’s a one off. That’s resolved in my mind for now but not finished, for two reasons. First, we need to set up a reminder that the quote is still pending. And we also must acknowledge our client’s feedback. Responding to your client is another way of saying “thank you for your business”—and that’s good for business.
Ask yourself: if your expectations are not being met by a service provider, but if their explanation is timely and reasonable, aren’t you okay most of the time? If a mistake is involved, aren’t most of us willing to understand and accept that if the issue is fixed quickly? In this case, I might also remind the agent—in a company-wide email to remind everyone, that this type of question can be avoided by preparing clients with claims in advance that their renewal process may take a few days longer than usual. This ultimately saves our clients and ourselves time. For my own part, I send periodic insurance bulletins reminding our insureds that if they have a claim or complaint, it’s best to submit renewal documents early. It’s good advice whether you’re an OREP insured or not.
Out of 425 total Google Reviews, OREP has enjoyed an average of 4.9 stars and has over 350 Five-Star reviews. Yes, with a couple of “one and two stars” thrown in there too. (Stuff happens!) But kidding aside, a high level of customer satisfaction is not accidental. Why is it important? It’s important because it’s in our own best interests. First, it’s good for business: happy clients mean more clients. Second, it’s good for business: better procedures reduce mistakes and liability. Third, it’s good for business: it reduces the stress and the workload, which makes everyone happier and hopefully more patient, kind and courteous to clients, which is…good for business!
Most importantly perhaps is that it’s good for us as human beings. Enough studies and our own life experience are proof enough that we are happier when we like what we do, when what we do matters to us and when we believe we are helping others. Being happier and liking what we do is…well…good for business. That’s how and why suggestions, questions and negative feedback can translate to a more successful business and greater satisfaction.
About the Author
David Brauner is Publisher of Working RE magazine and Senior Broker at OREP, a leading provider of E&O Insurance for appraisers, inspectors and other real estate professionals in 50 states (OREP.org). He has provided E&O insurance to appraisers for over 25 years. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or (888) 347-5273. California Insurance License #0C89873. Visit OREP.org today for comprehensive coverage at competitive rates.
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