Putting the triple-E in customer service
by Keris Lahiff
Switzer Broker has teamed up with the Commonwealth Bank to highlight regional brokers, the challenges they face in their business and how they have achieved success.
Following a 10-year tenure in the real estate game, Steve Banks moved into the mortgage and finance industry. “When I got sick of selling houses, I thought I’d sell the money,” he jokes.
Banks, top loans writer for Darwin’s Able Finance, says the transition gave him a competitive edge in how he handled customer service.
“It does make it a lot easier dealing with clients because you know both sides of the fence,” he explains.
With Able Finance since 2006, Banks has certainly made his mark on the business, maintaining his spot as the top loans writer over the last four years.
Banks believes success in the industry is to service your clients above and beyond the call of duty. To do this, Banks subscribes to the three E’s of customer service – empathy, education, and going the extra mile.
Empathy, says Banks, is the most important rule of customer service – put yourself in the clients’ shoes.
“Think about what’s going through their mind, what they’re feeling, what they’re thinking and just try to allay their fears, become their friend,” he says. “You’ve got to remember what it was like when you bought your first house and what you were feeling and you go through that with every client.”
With so much media hype over interest rates and property prices, Banks says it’s important to take the time to educate the client.
“We see a lot of people that have been to, say, their local bank brand to try and get advice and, of course, the people are too busy or inexperienced,” he says. “They’re not getting the advice they really need or want or what they’re looking for.
“I deal a lot with first homebuyers and they’re the ones that need the most education because they just don’t understand. They think it’s like getting a credit card or going to Harvey Norman to buy a lounge suite.”
The final factor in Banks’ customer service trifecta is to go the extra mile. His motto?
“Do what you say you’re going to do ... I try to. I’m not going to say I’m a saint but you’ve got to try.”
The key to developing a good rapport with clients is to help them every step of the way through the process.
“I don’t mind looking at professional inspection reports, or giving them my two bobs’ worth, or give them referrals,” he says. “Any little tool to help them, giving them that value add to make them think we’re better than the next guy, we’ve really got their best interests at heart, you’ve got to do it.”
Of course, doing more shouldn’t be for more. Banks says clients can sense when it’s commissions or extra money a broker is after.
“If you’re thinking about commission, even when you’re talking to people, it comes out – in your body language, in the way you talk and carry on, people can sense it.
“We worry about looking after the customer, and if you look after the customer, make him number one, then everything else will follow,” he says. “You’ll win more business because they will send you more business and you’ll feel happier and you’ll actually make more money.”
And, the payoff to his hard work is a good one indeed – helping people own their own piece of Australia.
“Everybody loves to get finance,” he says. “When you simplify that process for them, provide it in language that they can understand, and then when you achieve what you said you were going to do for them, they’ve got the loan to move into their house, they’re really happy.
“The best part? To ring people up and say that their loan has been approved. You feel like Santa Claus.”
View all profiles from the Best of Brokers series:
Published on: Friday, August 19, 2011blog comments powered by Disqus