Which one would you prefer? Customer service or a customer experience? And I challenge you to start asking yourself inside your own business, how can you be more like Apple? How can you create a customer experience more like Apple? And one of the things that I realized when I did this exercise in my business, that the first step towards creating a customer experience is to create an emotional connection with your clients. I had to learn how to engage with them better. Welcome to the Property Management podcast, with that property mom. I’m your host, Kylie Walker. I’m a former television sports journalist and mother of four turned co-owner of a million dollar real estate brand. Each week I teach women in the property management industry, all the best tips to help you balance your career and family, grow your dream business, master your fear, boost your confidence, and conquer your minds. I want to talk about defining the difference between customer service versus customer experience, because there is a difference between the two. And as we progress through this conversation, you will clearly see the difference between delivering a customer service and a customer experience. So what is customer service? This is basically the service and support you give your customers, whether in person or online. So what is a customer experience? This is the customer’s perceptions and related feelings caused by the one-off and a cumulative effect of interactions with a company. Its employees, systems, channels, products or services. And note the word feelings caused by the cu. The difference between a customer service and a customer experience is the way that you make people feel. And I’m seduced by great customer experiences, and that might sound a little bit weird, but what I mean by that, and it’s not my term, I pinched that term.

I’m seduced by great customer experiences off a TED Talk. Now by that I mean if I walk into a clothing shop, for example, and the person, the sales assistant ignores me, doesn’t look up from their phone, they’re not interested in me being there, I quickly turn on my heels and walk out despite having a pocket full of cash I was willing to spend in that store. However, if the sales assistant smiles at me, looks at me in the eye and hops up and asks, can I help you? Well, I am all in. And I, of course, I want them to help me. And I will probably spend five times more than I would’ve spent in that store, all because of the way that they made me feel, which was like I was valued and my money was good enough to spend in their stores.

So that is what I mean by being seduced by a great customer experience. And I’m sure if you think about your recent restaurant experiences or the last time you went to the went shopping for clothes. I am sure you can quickly identify what was a great customer experience and what was a really poor or bad customer experience. And we have them all the time. Now, there are some sobering statistics around small businesses in Australia, and in my opinion, I believe that customer service and customer experience is the key to business success, whether you are a real estate business or not. And one in three new small businesses in Australia fail in their first year of operation. And two out of four by the end of the second year and three out of four by the fifth year. So only one in four businesses are actually surviving in Australia more than five years. In property management in my opinion, I believe that our, our property owners give us three chances if we make mistakes or stuff up three times. Generally, they are on Google looking for a new property manager to take over their properties. It is a three strikes year out rule. And the main reasons that a property owner leaves a property management company is, first of all, it’s poor communication. Secondly, they leave because of maintenance. And that’s either maintenance not being done quickly or maintenance costing too much money. We make mistakes with money. That’s a big one. And usually you only get one chance with that. And the constant team turnover is another one of the main reasons a property owner leaves. Let’s talk about customer experience in our real estate businesses. How can we improve this? How can we make sure that we are not that one in four businesses that are closing their doors after five years?

How can we make sure that our property owners aren’t leaving us for reasons like poor communication, not handling maintenance properly, we’re making mistakes with their money and have constant team turnover. How can we improve that customer experience for our clients? Now, in real estate, we all offer the same service. We do property management, we do rental appraisals, we sell properties, we lease properties, we fix the maintenance, we do entry condition reports, we manage tenants for our property owners. It’s all pretty much the same. And we all pretty much advertise in the same way on the same online platforms like real and Domain. We all put up sign boards and some people even still advertise in newspapers. We are all boosting ourselves, we’re all on social media these days and we’re all promoting our businesses in very similar ways.

So how can we be different? How can we stand out from all of that noise and all of the other competitors in our market places that are all offering the same, the same services and they’re all promoting themselves in the same ways? And for me, that comes down to one very simple thing and it’s the customer experience that they get. And the reason that customer experience has become such a big thing and a big part of my business is because, and I’ll share a little story with you now. A few years ago, I had a MacBook. I love my MacBook, I love my Apple products, and I’m not being sponsored here. Although I had my MacBook crashed and inside my MacBook was 60,000 words of my first draft of my fiction story. And being my personality type, I had no backup for it.

So I went to a few local IT specialists and asked them, could you help me? I was in a panic. I was stressed, I was in tears and I needed to get my draft of my novel out of that MacBook. They couldn’t help me, but they recommended that I went into an Apple shop. And I wasn’t convinced, you know, apple is a big store, you know, surely I was just going to be another number in there. It was a bit of a trudge into Brisbane city from where I live and had to pay for parking, made all these excuses and I was, had preempted a really bad experience, going into the Apple shop. But when I got there, I was pleasantly surprised. And the only way that I can describe it is that I felt like I was being embraced by a family member in a really warm hug.

I felt welcomed, I felt understood. I felt like I was in the right place. Hallelujah. They fixed my MacBook. I got my first draft of my novel back, and when I walked out of there, I knew that I would be back into their shop. And that is because they have a core value and a core belief. And it’s based on a saying by a lady called Maya Angelo. And it is, people don’t remember what you said to them, but they remember how you made them feel. And that was certainly my experience walking into the Apple shop, which is crazy because obviously Apple is one of the largest brands worldwide. It is in over 32 different countries. They, make billions of dollars every year. They’ve got over 40,000 employees. And yet little old me in downtown Brisbane’s Apple Store felt really important and, felt amazing after walking out of their store. It is actually mind blowing that they could make me feel like that, but that again, was not a coincidence. This is all by design and it’s all part of Apple’s customer experience. So let me share a couple of Apple’s secrets with you, because I went on a bit of a stalking rampage after that experience, and it actually made me think, how can I make my business more like apples? So, the name Apple is actually an acronym for the type of customer service that they want to deliver. The A stands for approach with a warm welcome p stands for probe politely to understand the client’s needs. The second P present a solution for the customer to take home today. The l listen and resolve issues or concerns and the E end with a fund farewell and an invitation to return. And that is the Cust Apple customer experience in a nutshell. And that is the exact experience I had in that Apple shop. And it all started with the Steve Jobs or the late Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple. And he believed that you’ve got to start with a customer experience and work back toward the technology, not the other way around. Let me read that to you. Again, you’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back towards the technology, not the other way around. And in property management, you’ve got to start with a customer experience and then work backwards towards the new management, not the other way around. How do you want your new management or your new client to feel from the minute they inquire about business? How do they want to feel? You want to make them feel welcome, like that they belong in your business. So it’s really important to start thinking about all those little touchpoints that you have with your client, with your new management client, not worrying about, the business, the service that you’re offering. It is about the experience that your client has. So in property management that looks like you’ve got to start with the customer experience and then work back towards the new management and not the other way around. So for each little touchpoints that you have with a new client, you want to make sure that you are creating experience for them. You want to think about in that experience how you want to make them feel you, for example, you want to make them feel like they matter, like that they belong and that they are in the right place. And most importantly, you want to make them feel like they can trust you and their property is going to be in good hands. Apple also believed that customer experience starts at the top of an organization, starts with the business owners, the team leaders, and the senior property managers. They also realize the it is a simple fact about all human beings. And that was the top three things that all humans crave is safety, belonging, and mattering. Because safety, belonging and mattering equals trust. And of course, once people trust you, they’ll want to do business with you.

The third thing that Apple believes as part of their customer experience is that your team needs to buy into the customer experience. It’s all well and good saying you want to create customer experience as a business owner, but if you don’t have your team who are the on the ground delivering that customer experience to your clients, there will be no customer experience. And the way you get your team to buy into this customer experience is by sharing your company vision, your mission, your core values, and your culture with them. So let’s talk about, and, and when we are talking about buy your team, buy into it. You as property managers also need to buy in to, to wanting to deliver a great customer experience. Now you guys are, and I get it, you guys are juggling so many different tasks each day.

Sometimes overloaded with paperwork and administration. And then of course, let’s not forget, a lot of you are working moms, you’re juggling children, you’re juggling groceries and getting the house cleaning organized. It is a lot. But ultimately property managers are the backbones of real estate businesses. And without you buying into that experience and you being on board with the customer experience, there will be no customer experience. The fourth thing that Apple believed when it comes to delivering a customer experience is that you need to put yourself in your client’s shoes. What would you like to experience if the shoe was on the other foot? How would you like to be addressed on the phone? How would you like to be treated when moving into a property? How would you like to be responded to if your rental income wasn’t paid on time?

And I’m going to dive into a couple of the ways that we can improve and some tips for you guys to be able to deliver better team member onboarding experience when you’ve got new people coming into your business. I’m going to also dive into some tenant customer experience and some owner customer experience as well. And I’m going to share some systems, processes, procedures and a little bit and some tech and software as well. So which one before we move on, which one would you prefer? Customer service or a customer experience? And I challenge you to start asking yourself inside your own business, how can you be more like Apple? How can you create a customer experience more like Apple? And one of the things that I realized when I did this exercise in my business that the first step towards creating a customer experience is to create an emotional connection with your clients.

I had to learn how to engage with them better. And I had to ask myself that question, how do I want to make them feel? I also realized that I had to be different from my competition. I had to stand out. So why would someone want to do business with me instead of my competitors? And the third thing that I realized was I had to get consistent. I had to deliver a consistent and predictable experience for my clients because that creates confidence, leads to trust, which leads to loyalty. And let me repeat that again. A consistent and predictable experience creates confidence, which leads to trust, which leads to loyal clients. So let’s dive into some specifics of how you can start delivering a better customer experience in your own business. The customer experiences should include how are your phones being answered? What is your email tone of voice?

What support do you offer in conflict or dispute situations in your team? What do you offer or how are you different from your competitors? And what does mark your marketing collateral look like and promise? So, let’s talk about a, if we’re onboarding a new team member into your company, because remember, your team needs to buy into delivering a great customer experience. And what a better way to set them up for a great delivering great customer experience to our clients than by giving them a great experience as they come on board into our business. There are some things that I’m going to share with you that I do inside my own business. Send them a congratulations message, video message from the owners or the directors. You could have a welcome bunch of flowers, bottle of wine or some chocolates. Have a really good induction process where they’re introduced to everyone.

They’re shown the amenities. Explain the vision, the mission, the values of the business. You could also have some training videos set up, which will include your basic opening, office opening and closing procedures. But also it’ll include some software training and some of your process and procedures training as well. And you should also have a training schedule so that they know what when to, when to do their training and a checklist for each task as they get competent. Don’t expect them to know all the tasks all at once. Give them some time to learn and get skilled in each task and then check them off and move them onto the next task. When you’ve got your team members cranking. Some other things that you can do to deliver and keep the great experience inside your team going is offering some sort of monthly performance reviews, having regular team lunches or breakfasts and catch-ups, put on a quarterly event for your team.

Have some ongoing training and personal development and encourage people to invest in growing and training themselves. Because if they are doing that, they’re going to bring that into your businesses as well. And if you’re a property manager listening it is don’t feel guilty about spending time doing training and personal development. It is important for your future growth and success. And don’t forget to celebrate wins and successes. We often don’t stop and smell the roses. But we all need to start doing that.


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