As featured on Inman - A team that's communicative and operationally organized can provide truly superior, client-centric service, Texas-based team lead Jen Berbas writes in her first column for Inman.
Even though growing a real estate team offers vast opportunities to expand business and lure in more potential clients, many teams struggle to maintain the high level of service offered by individual agents. For high-performing teams, effective communication and efficient systems are critical for success.
A highly effective team of agents can not only handle more transactions but also exceed consumer expectations. Team structures can make it easier for an agent to balance a realistic workload and avoid burnout while also bringing to bear the specific skills and experience of multiple agents.
But, like any model, the team structure’s success depends on its execution. If it misses the mark on delivering a seamless consumer experience, then it isn’t viable. Pitfalls of a poorly managed team model If the team model is managed poorly, a client can feel deprioritized and unheard. When clients feel they’re being tossed between team members, having to re-explain their unique needs and concerns, it dampens their experience. Far from sought-after white-glove level service, such encounters can leave clients reluctant to re-engage. Harnessing the power of teams The allure of the team model lies in its promise of holistic, expert-driven service. For a team to be the right fit for consumers, the team’s value proposition should meet and exceed what an individual agent can offer. This means not just seamless service but also a broader depth of expertise that fosters a reassuring environment in which clients always feel they’re in capable hands. 5 ways teams can provide superior service So, what type of team support model is most beneficial to the consumer? What benefits can such a team extend to clients that an individual agent cannot? There are both logistical advantages and depth of knowledge reasons a team may be the best choice for a client: 1. Highly responsive communication A well-rounded team is always prepared to attend to client needs, be it sourcing documents, amending schedules or addressing questions.
With multiple members on board, all on the same page and using effective systems, someone is always behind the computer, managing air traffic and answering clients in a timely manner.
While working through the purchase or sale of a property, many client questions are scheduling-related or administrative, and clients can get a quick answer if the team is structured correctly. Clients aren’t left waiting for an individual agent who may be in showings or prepping a listing. This ensures that clients are never left awaiting responses. 2. Systems and checklists Teams that have excellent systems, checklists and scheduling habits can give top-notch client service and consistently execute a client experience similar to a luxury hotel. The client feels at ease and knows that regardless of who is answering the phone, all team members have the information they need to be of service.
When the team is at ease — because they know where to find the client’s information or the next appointment scheduled at the seller’s home — the client feels calm and experiences the comfort of knowing everything is under control. 3. Continuity in service Client continuity of service can be a challenge for a solo agent. We all know the stress of working solo with a vacation coming up and the knowledge that, without fail, a buyer will call and want to see five homes the minute you are on a plane. As a solo agent, everyone collaborates with a colleague to get the job done.
But imagine if the people you collaborated with had access to all of your notes and had heard about your buyer’s specific home needs daily since they started their home search. Imagine if your client had already met each team member who would be backing you up while you were out on leave. This would put the client and lead agent at ease, knowing that the client will be well cared for.
When a client interacts with one team member, the feeling should be that the whole team understands their needs. That way, no vacations will be spent leaving a family dinner to address a repair situation from a different time zone. 4. Streamlined internal communication A team that communicates effectively internally and where every member is well acquainted with the client’s requirements ensures that each client touchpoint feels cohesive. Without that, a lack of continuity in a team can be felt by the client, even in small ways.
Something as simple as different formatting in a CMA or different perspectives on the market can create an impression of disorganization. If a team is structured well, redundancy is built into the team, and the client feels at ease.
The rest of the team is up to date on the client’s needs, schedule and style, and the team communicates on market perspectives daily so that a client experiences continuity down to the last detail and feels that everything is under control. 5. Depth and diversity of expertise Different agents possess different strengths, and a team of professionals provides a varied depth of knowledge to clients. Some agents excel in staging, others in data analysis, and some have a knack for crafting compelling property descriptions. How can you get access to the superpowers of six different experienced agents? A team, of course.
A well-structured team means clients don’t have to choose between these skills when selecting an agent; they have access to all. Having a team at your disposal allows you to use the services of multiple experienced professionals. This collaboration allows the team to present multiple options and strategies to a client that might not have been possible with just one brain working on the problem.
You can get the copywriting expert, the staging expert and the data wiz all at your disposal if a team is structured well with excellent operational methods in place.
In today’s dynamic real estate landscape, the team model is a compelling strategy, offering a holistic, expert-driven approach. To truly resonate with consumers and become their preferred choice, a team must showcase a value proposition that not only meets but surpasses the offerings of a solo agent.
Exceptional customer service in this sector is invariably client-centric; hence, a steadfast focus on enhancing the client experience should be the guiding principle for every team member. This approach ensures clients feel secure and well-supported in adept hands, making each transaction a testament to superior service and expertise.
Jen Berbas is the team lead of the Berbas Group in Austin, Texas. She transitioned from a long career as a statistical arbitrage trader to a role in operations, where she discovered her passion for using processes to improve client experiences. Connect with her on Instagram and Linkedin.