When does the customer experience start? Many people still relate CX to customer service. They think the customer experience begins when customers buy your product or service, but that’s totally wrong. As I described in “What Every Company Should Be Measuring About Customer Experience And No One Does“, customer service is just one of the pillars of the customer experience. The journey stats way before they actually become a customer, it all starts with the sales interactions.
Recently, I had a terrible customer experience. Normally, I prefer not to write about the bad ones, but sometimes there is so much you can learn from them that I couldn’t stop myself to tell you about this one.
We have a nice house, we are happy where we live. But my wife and I, know that in the next few years when the kids get older, we would love to have a slightly bigger one with more room for them. So, although we don’t have the need to move right now, we keep an eye open just in case we see something that we really like.
The market in NL
The housing market in NL is crazy right now. Really. It is not that you see a house, you make an offer and you buy it. You see a house, you need to decide almost on the fly whether you would like to make an offer or not, the offer should be even higher than the asking price (often times) and you know what? There is a big chance they sell it to someone else. And all that can happen within a week. Crazy.
We saw a house on a well-known real estate Dutch website for sale. They published it on a Wednesday afternoon, we called the same day to make an appointment to see it and we got one of the few remaining options on Tuesday morning. We really liked the house, at least from what we could see on the pictures. In such a dynamic market, we wanted to make sure we had help from professionals, so we went to a real state agency. We first went to one but the guy wasn’t there. They said he would come back in 20 minutes and that he would call us immediately. So, we went to the one just across the street.
There was a nice guy, enthusiastic, maybe a bit arrogant but at least he seemed a proactive type of person to us. We had a good chat with him, telling him that we wanted help to eventually buy that house but also, that in case we would buy it, he would be the one who would sell our current one. Of course, he was willing to help so we said we would call him to confirm.
The guy from the first agency didn’t call back on that day. As we really wanted to have that help on that day, we confirmed with the second guy. He would join us to visit the house and give us some advice.
The guy from the first agency finally called on Monday, but we told him we already had an agreement with another one. He wasn’t surprised. Lesson learned.
We are nervous. Buying a house is not something you do every day, every year. And if we buy a new one, we want that to be our home for the next 20 years or so. We agreed to meet at the house a bit earlier, I also wanted to discuss the process and how it works if we would really liked it in advance. My wife and I were there on time. He wasn’t there. We waited a bit but as he didn’t show up and we didn’t have any messages, we just decided to get inside the house. The guy finally called and arrived when we were done seeing the house. He joined us and we went again to see it with him and he made some comments about it. That wasn’t a good impression.
Our expectations from the house were higher and it wasn’t a total click for us. The guy from the agency selling the house said that if we would want it, we would need to submit an offer by noon the day after. Wow! So, you visit a house just once and within 24 hours you need to decide if you want to buy it or not.
Our real estate agent said he was going to make some calculations about the renovation and call us back the same day. It was an old house that required quite some work to make it nice again. We knew about it but discovered that it was more than what we originally expected.
He didn’t call
My wife and I had a chat and agreed to give ourselves some time to think about it as our initial impression wasn’t good enough. We switched from thinking of the possibility to make an offer, to a general less positive feeling about it. But we also wanted to know what the real estate guy thought about it and his estimation for a renovation cost.
He didn’t call. Nothing. Not even a message saying “guys, I think isn’t worth it or it is”.
My wife and I discussed that evening and agree that that house wasn’t the right one for us. Not only because of the renovation but also the garden and other factors. So, the fact that this guy didn’t call us back at all didn’t really affected us too much. But imagine if we really wanted to buy it. This guy was supposed to help us with an estimation of the costs but also, to submit that offer and run the negotiations on our behalf. But he didn’t come back to us.
He was even the guy who was going to get the commission out of selling our house in case we would finally buy it. But we didn’t hear anything from him. This has been weeks ago. Still nothing.
You know what? His kid goes to the same school where mine goes to. This morning, we crossed our paths by bike after I left my son there as he was going to do the same with his. He saw me. What did he think? I can’t really think how he can be comfortable with his own behavior as a professional.
This is what happens when you are not a good professional in sales:
- Next time we see another nice house to consider buying, we obviously won’t go to this agency.
- Next time we would like to sell our house, we won’t work with this agency.
- Next time someone asks me if I know a good real estate agency to work with, I will specifically mention this one as the one not to work with.
- This agency lost, maybe not right now but in the future, the commission of buying a new house for us.
- This agency lost, also in the future, the commission of selling our house.
- You know some real estate agencies in The Netherlands use a review system? This one does. So, I am considering leaving my review of their service. That will help other people not to go to that agency and choose a different one instead.
When you think about it, how a simple little thing can create so much impact.so much. If he would’ve made those calculations as promised and get back to us giving his best advice, we would most probably work with them in the future and all those points mentioned above would be exactly the opposite. They would get the money and we would refer them to other people, so they would get more customers and more money and so on…
Just by being professional and a little effort to help your customers or prospects, could really impact your business results in the future. That’s called customer experience, and yes, it is really important.
As usual, please leave you comments, feel free to like, dislike to share or not to share. always looking for feedback myself to keep improving.