By Afton Trail, Senior Managing Director
“Customer service is everything and anything that touches a customer—directly or indirectly. It is so much more than just solving problems or addressing complaints; it is part of a holistic customer experience that is capable of providing a critical competitive advantage in today’s increasingly cluttered and commoditized marketplace.”
– Joseph Jaffe, Founder of Evol8tion
In commercial real estate, client care and development is a familiar concept, but its interpretation varies across the industry. Take a moment and think about your definition of exceptional client care. Do you envision taking a potential client to dinner when they are in town, or perhaps meeting an important deadline? If you did, your thought process is similar to much of your peer group.
We have been taught that taking care of our clients is as simple as doing a good job and developing a personal relationship with them, but that’s not necessarily true. Don’t get me wrong, it’s impossible to deliver excellence in customer service without these baseline goals, but client care, done well, goes beyond these basics.
In the article, Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers, Matthew Dixon, Karen Freeman, and Nicholas Toman explain that, “Telling reps to exceed customers’ expectations is apt to yield confusion, wasted time and effort, and costly giveaways.” Their research found that what brings a client back, time and time again, is when we “make it easy” for them.
Of course, each client is unique. The first step to understanding what “makes it easy” for your client is to invest the time to get to know them. Gauri Sharma, a contributor to Forbes, shared the 7 Best Practices for Building Client Relationships:
- Be patient in building new relationships
- Get to know their industry and company
- Go the extra mile
- Treat every client as your most important one
- Respond promptly
- Be more than an email address
- Always summarize next steps
Once you have established the relationship, you must determine how to address a client’s specific needs.
Client centricity doesn’t happen overnight. At Cushman & Wakefield, we understand the criticality of getting to know our clients in a meaningful way and strive to “make it easy” for them every day. We don’t simply make it easy relative to our job function. We make it easy relative to theirs. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution in doing so. It requires out-of-the-box thinking; collaborative, trusting relationships; and specialized professionals. Our teams work together to leverage each other’s knowledge and platform resources to customize solutions best suited to enhance our clients’ business.
In today’s competitive market, how do you care for your clients?
As the West Region Lead, Afton is responsible for the executive level oversight of the Asset Services platform in the West region, covering 13 markets and more than 167 million square feet.