Managing The Needy Client and Still Managing Your Time

By
Real Estate Agent with HOM Sotheby's Intl Realty, 949-510-2395 DRE# 01494165

Everyone knows immediately who I'm talking about. Doesn't matter if it's a first time buyer or a real estate investor, it's the client who calls/emails all day long with every question which pops into their minds. I think we all feel for these clients, it's a big purchase/transaction, they are unsure of the process, or the timeline, or the costs, or the disclosures, and they need to speak to you; you need to explain it to them and ease their minds.

Of course....that's part of the job. The problem is that unless they are your only client (and that's a problem for another post), we just can't stop throughout the day to handle all these questions, and we don't want to have them feel we are ignoring them either. Solution? I have one!

1)I start every day by sending an "update" email to all my active escrow clients. I include any action items they still have to do and updates on what I, or my assistant, will be doing on their behalf that day. I also include a timeline going forward and future action items (such as a scheduled home inspection or HOA documents which have been ordered). This is an easy and quick email to put together because some days, nothing has changed from the day before and I keep a copy to use as a template.

2) I also set up a specific hotmail account for each escrow. The address my be 123mainstreet@hotmail.comand I use the automated vacation reply to give the same basic information, where we are at in the process. I also have my clients email me directly to their private hotmail address and they can feel comfortable that I won't miss something they send.

3) Phone calls....I encourage them to call me anytime. I also let them know that when I'm out with clients (just like when I'm with them) I do not pick up the phone but allow it to go to voicemail. Then I will listen to the message and try and get them the correct information before I call them back, so it might be a late return call, if I need to speak to escrow or the other agent. This sets the expectation that they might not get a quick call back, but will get an answer when they do.

4) I return all calls/emails the same day.

I believe it's part of our job to handhold the clients who need it....but it doesn't have to consume our day, if we have a system in place to handle it well.

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Re-Blogged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Wallace S. Gibson, CPM 03/08/2010 02:57 AM
  2. Jamelah Jackson-Alam 03/18/2010 03:11 PM
  3. Jamelah Jackson-Alam 03/18/2010 03:11 PM
Topic:
ActiveRain Community
Groups:
Realtors®
Club Chaos
Be The Best In Your Field
BananaTude
Tags:
time management
client care
fiduciary duty includes care
buyers agent
listing agent

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Karen Fiddler, Broker/Realtor
HOM Sotheby's Intl Realty, 949-510-2395 - Laguna Beach, CA
Laguna Beach & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

Coffee sounds great Vicki....just say when!

Mar 07, 2010 12:03 PM #32
Rainmaker
599,106
Donne Knudsen
Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA - Simi Valley, CA
CalState Realty Services

Karen - I like the idea of separate emails but I typically have a pipeline full (15-20) of pre-approved and actively looking clients and the idea of having to check that many emails on a daily basis would be horrendous.  Once they get into escrow, it's a whole other story and I also do the regular updates but then it's much easier to manage 2-3 escrows than 15-20 people who are still looking.  But I do like the idea that each has their own place to go without cluttering up my general email.

I currently have this one couple who are pre-approved and actively looking and one of the spouses doesn't work and contacts me a dozen times a day asking questions about various things.  Granted, they don't do this every single day but often enough during the week that it does become  somewhat inconvenient at times. 

The person is simply bored and has way too much time on their hands and many of the questions they ask are better suited to be directed at their Realtor.  However because their Realtor is not as accessible as I am and this person knows I have access to the MLS, I have now become the go-to person.  I've had discussions with their Realtor about this and he tells me this person does the same thing to him too.  I'm thinking that he and I need to sit this couple down and have a talk about this situation.  Any thoughts?

Mar 07, 2010 12:32 PM #33
Ambassador
1,106,131
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Realtor
HOM Sotheby's Intl Realty, 949-510-2395 - Laguna Beach, CA
Laguna Beach & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

Donne....I normally have about 8-12 of these and I don't retype a new email each day. I keep a template for each file (word doc) and then open, make the necessary changes (if any) and them  copy and paste shoot it off. It normally takes me about 10-15 minutes.

K

Mar 07, 2010 12:37 PM #34
Rainmaker
1,143,915
Li Read
Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring) - Salt Spring Island, BC
Caring expertise...knowledge for you!

Superb advice...everyone is happy, and that includes the realtor, who juggles many things daily.

Mar 07, 2010 12:45 PM #35
Rainmaker
327,132
Yolanda Hoversten
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Properties - O'Fallon, IL
Broker - O Fallon, IL Real Estate

Karen, you have a great system.  I especially like the individual hotmail account...how cool.  Thanks for sharing--great info!  ;)

Mar 07, 2010 04:26 PM #36
Rainmaker
409,905
Michelle Francis
Tim Francis Realty LLC - Atlanta, GA
Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease

Karen, 

Ditto to what Yolanda says, you have an awesome system. That has to make it easier for the clients and is a good plan for all of us. 

All the best, Michelle

Mar 07, 2010 07:23 PM #37
Ambassador
1,320,653
Tammie White
Benchmark Realty, LLC (615) 495-0752 or www.TWRealtyGroup.net - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN, South of Nashville

These are excellent suggestions.

Mar 07, 2010 09:08 PM #38
Rainmaker
342,053
Don Wixom
RE/MAX Advantage Nampa, ID - Nampa, ID
"Looking out for your next move..."tm

Karen, AWESOME Post!  Thank you!  I love the idea of an update e-mail every morning (or night). I also use text very effectively when I can't take the time to talk or when I can multi-task. Most clients love it. Today, I had one jokingly say, "I refuse to text."  So, it looks like an update e-mail in the morning!  :)  Thank you!

Mar 08, 2010 09:28 PM #39
Rainmaker
152,962
Kari A. Battaglia
RE/MAX Alliance Group - Venice, FL
Venice FL Realtor - RE/MAX Alliance Group

Karen - These are all great ideas.  I love the personal email address for each escrow with automatic updates.  By the way you are on this mornings "ThinkBigWorkSmall" video.  Great job.

Mar 15, 2010 08:42 AM #40
Rainer
130,958
Harcourt Bethel - REALTOR®,CDPE,ABR®,SFR,ePro®,TRC,
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Orlando, FL
Harcourt Bethel, CDPE,SFR®, ABR®,ePro®, TRC, NCHSE

Great post, we all should use a system to be more efficient and yours is a good one. Thanks for sharing!

Mar 15, 2010 09:05 AM #41
Ambassador
1,106,131
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Realtor
HOM Sotheby's Intl Realty, 949-510-2395 - Laguna Beach, CA
Laguna Beach & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

Hi Kari....thanks for letting me know. I hadn't gotten that far into my day yet. Very cool. And Actually, I always have to look for the TBWS video because it goes into spam.

Mar 15, 2010 09:08 AM #42
Rainmaker
144,888
Henry J. Daniels - Woodlands Texas Home Loans
Henry J Daniels www.WoodlandsMortgageBank.com (936) 228-1944 - Conroe, TX
Construction, Conv, VA, FHA & USDA Home Mortgages

Excellent Idea for everyone inthe transaction including lenders to do.  Smile-tpvgames.gif We can all learn something here.

Mar 15, 2010 09:42 AM #43
Anonymous
Danny Currie - Sr Loan Officer

Karen - Great Post! I couldn't do my business without streamlining my systems. Very critical to my "Quality of Life" In the spirit of improving everyone's Quality of Life here in the thread. Chek out "Slydial" - This is the 2nd best tool in my shed! www.slydial.com

It allows you to call cell phones and leave messages without their phone actually ringing. My assistants and I use this regularly to simply update clients, buyer's agents, and most importantly, "listing agents"!

We have found that everyone simply wants to know what's going on and feel that they are important. When we leave the message we preface the message with "Just giving you an update and there is no need for a return phone call unless you have any questions".....

Anyways I thought this would help with time management and communication. Thank you again for your post I really like the idea of the email. By the way wouldn't have known this if not for TBWS!

Danny Currie - Sr. Loan Officer - www.dannycurrie.com

Mar 15, 2010 09:57 AM #44
Anonymous
Rob Hanlen

Karen,

There is a great web based program that does just that.  Eye On My Loan.  www.eyeonmyloan.com I have used it since 2005 and it is awesome.  No more inbound calls from agents or clients about the status of their loans AND they have 24/7 online access to see documents (appraisal, GFE, Survey, contract, etc) and loan progress.  I have each file set up so when I update the status it will send the buyers agent, seller agent, borrower and anyone else you designate an email update with a list of completed and to-be-completed items.

 

If you like it and decide to join, please list my name as a referral.  Hope it helps you as much as it has helped me.

 

Rob Hanlen

Mar 15, 2010 10:28 AM #45
Rainmaker
30,347
Aaron Johnson
Tri City Home Team / The Force Realty - Richland, WA
Join The Home Team!

Karen,

BRILLIANT! I love using little tech tools to help in making me more efficient, and this one's as easy to use as it is BRILLIANT! Kudo's on landing on ThinkBigWorkSmall too!

And Danny's comment about Slydial is on the mark as well- I tell clients ahead of time that I use a system that leaves them a voice message so I don't "interrupt them during their day". It then makes them see that it's my way of respecting their time, instead of seeming like a dodge.

Now, I wonder if they have a system like Rob's loan officer tool "Eye On My Loan" for those of us on the Realtor side?

Anyone???

Mar 15, 2010 01:44 PM #46
Rainmaker
390,889
Lew Corcoran
Coldwell Banker - Easton, MA
Your Professional Real Estate Advisor

What a great idea! I've trying to figure out how to provide updates on loan application without looking up each eamil address and sending emails. Here is something that is so simple to implement - and so obvious. Now I'm using the "vacation reply" of the email for each loan in that's in processing. I'm using Google's gmail because it's not as limiting as MSN's hotmail.

Good show!

Mar 15, 2010 02:53 PM #47
Ambassador
1,106,131
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Realtor
HOM Sotheby's Intl Realty, 949-510-2395 - Laguna Beach, CA
Laguna Beach & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

I'm glad it's working for you, takes such a small amount of time to set up and if there is no change, then no change. I haven't used gmail...but all my hotmails are working great.

Mar 15, 2010 03:45 PM #48
Anonymous
Lenore Wilkas

You are simply brilliant!  What an easy solution and easy to replicate for any of us.  Thanks so much for sharing.

Mar 15, 2010 04:50 PM #49
Ambassador
1,106,131
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Realtor
HOM Sotheby's Intl Realty, 949-510-2395 - Laguna Beach, CA
Laguna Beach & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

Brilliant? I'm so flattered....thank you.

Mar 15, 2010 05:07 PM #50
Anonymous
Edwil Antolin

Thank you very much for sharing a great communication system.  Have a wonderful day!

Mar 16, 2010 12:40 AM #51
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