March 27, 2010

Has basic customer service been forgotten?

March 27th 2010

As I write this I am on a plane heading to Alice Springs to speak at a National Real Estate Conference. The flight has got me to thinking about an issue that I have already previously in part addressed; customer service. I recently canvassed the question does anyone say please anymore? These past two weeks has got me to thinking quite a lot about customer service and the important of going back to basics.

I have had the pleasure and privilege this past fortnight to travel to Rockhampton, Gladstone, Toowoomba, Ipswich and have had several real estate training presentations in Brisbane. I must comment on the amount of positive and very pleasant experiences that I have had with our own real estate industry. But outside influences have had me considering the customer service principles. For example; a very well known non budget airline that I am flying with this morning have got me thinking whether they are worth the extra monies compared to the lower budget airlines. The service by most from this particular business is almost appalling! As an example; I found myself apologising in a very professional way for bothering them to get me a cup of tea! It was if i was a huge imposition on their day. I had to think myself as to what actually is an air hostess position when we are on flights.... then I remembered, to serve the customer and be of assistance in case we needed assistance or something like that.

As I write this, and reflect on today’s service, and other businesses (outside of real e state that I have dealt with recently ) I remember the true reality that some of us may not think about, and that is ‘the people I have dealt with today’ are just that ‘people. Meaning that aren’t people in business so powerful (not only the staff but customers), they can make or break a company/business. Such as I am actually thinking will I renew by membership to a certain club when flying, is it worth it? This is how much impact service by people obviously has on a business.

The power of one is a statement that can be explained in some many ways. Business owners should more than ever be considering spending their hard earned money on training their staff and going back to basics. The true value of each customer, of each person that comes into contact with your business should be clearly understood by all staff. In this extremely competitive business world for us all, i know that I am certainly realising the power and importance of every person that makes contact with my business. MY aim is to make the person I am with (whether it be one or a group of 100) feel like they are the most important person in my business during that time that we are in contact, and hopefully that experience will be remembered and shared positively with others. Most businesses are here for the long term; I know that my business Stacey Holt Real Estate Excellence is here for the long haul and I am determined to always remind myself (and future staff) of the customer service back to basics principle.

March 12, 2010

I've been everywhere....

Friday 12 March 2010

As I write this I am sitting at Brisbane Airport, Friday afternoon waiting to go home. I am looking forward to sleeping in my own bed, but am far from complaining.

Sunday to Wednesday saw me in Mackay for a couple of days work, though I sure did find some time for relaxation with family and friends. I thoroughly enjoyed catching up with Mackay salespeople, licensees and property managers!

Thursday saw me at a early breakfast presentation on the Gold Coast, then an afternoon flight to present to NSW Salespeople and licensees.

Now here I am!

The business focus has been a great variety this week, with a vast range of presentations and client/industry needs.

One thing that is consistent is the focus in our real estate industry of risk management; a saying that I always have said, still say today, and will say until I draw my last breath is...
"The person most likely to win in a court of law is the person with the most credible evidence.."

Creating credible evidence involves sound risk management practice, effective consistent systems and an understanding of relevant legislation to ensure best practice and compliance.

Regardless of the industry we are in, there is always an element of risk; sadly this is a reflection of our society and the day and age.

But on a positive note; the majority of our industry are wonderful people (as with any industry there are some questionable people) but with real estate I would say there is only one or two that are questionable :)

Next week sees my Real Estate Excellence in Gladstone, Rockhampton, Brisbane and Toowoomba!

Until next time...

March 5, 2010

Do we still say please?

5th March 2010

Another great week!

an interesting thought and observation came to me quite often this week; and that is what I refer to as basic manners... the use of please and thank you.

This week saw me travel from Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, functions in Brisbane and Redcliffe. Visiting many different function venues (particularly in the last 8 years in my education and presenting role) you accept the 'good venues' and you learn to swallow (as hard as that is) the 'shocking ones'! I guess with any business, and in any industry, this happens. I had exceptional service at all "the Greek Club Brisbane", the Events Centre Maroochydore, Karrawa Surf Club Broadbeach to name a few. I would not normally 'name', however when it is good praise, yes! I believe in naming...

During my week I had the occasion to think, on several occasion about, what I call, basic manners, please and thank you. Once I really listened, really became aware of these simple manners, I was horrified to realise a lot of people don't seem to use the words thank you and please! I don't mean to be negative, only honest as part of my own observations once I became aware.

Whilst I am far from perfect, and certainly am not 'judging' - I was mortified by the lack of manners used by young and old alike in this past week.

I wonder what this means.. are 'some' of us too busy to say the magic words, that I must say, regrettably don't get used in our real estate industry often enough, and that is thank you and please! AND I mean people thanking you and saying please to you as agents... People are quick to complain, but are they so quick to thank?

Until next time...

March 1, 2010

March 2010 Real Estate Excellence Industry Update

March 1 2010

I hope that this update finds you and the business going well. Hard to believe we are already in March! Sustainability and QCAT continue to be the two main topics of discussion in our industry. In relation to sustainability, the fines amnesty ended as of 1 March 2010; below is an extract from the latest Building Codes Queensland Division Newsflash.

On-the-spot fines – Sustainability Declaration

From 1 March 2010, on the spot fines will commence, and will be issued by:

• local governments for offences under the Building Act 1975 by home sellers, such as where a seller fails to prepare a sustainability declaration ($200 on-the-spot fine)

• the Department of Fair Trading for offences by real estate agents under the Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act 2000, such as failing to conspicuously display a sustainability declaration at a home’s open inspection($200 on-the-spot fine)
NOTE: the maximum penalties range up to $2000 for sellers (as per the Building Act) and up to $10000 for real estate agents (as per the PAMD Act). The sustainability declaration (and much more!) is discussed in all upcoming sales training workshops being held by Stacey Holt Real Estate Excellence. Visit the website OR contact me direct for more information. Also, the next morning tea event in Brisbane is with the OFT (Office of Fair Trading) whereby the declaration and many other issues will be discussed

QCAT – Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal

The morning tea with QCAT event, which was held on the 22nd February was well attended with the event booked out several weeks prior. Louise Logan, Principal Registrar of QCAT, gave a very informative and interesting presentation. The frustration of the industry was evident in relation to time frames for hearings. As discussed at the session, though it is far from ideal, the introduction is the biggest change to the Queensland judicial system in over 50 years. In the Real Estate Excellence QCAT Nuts and Bolts Workshops to date, I have been using the analogy of a ‘three month old baby’ – given that QCAT is now 3 months old. Whilst it is realised that these teething problems may cost lessor clients money (and agents), more than ever lessor protection insurance is to be strongly recommended by property managers and agents. Although insurance is not the answer to this problem, it is a sound risk management strategy for both lessor investors and property managers. The QCAT Nuts and Bolts intensive workshops are being held in many areas throughout Queensland.

Industry Best Practice

The following best practice tips are based on areas of agency practice that have been a common theme from clients these past weeks. I hope the following information is of benefit to your business.

Administration and Licensee Best Practice

Did you know that the PAMD Real Estate Agency Practice Code of Conduct requires that the agency prominently display to the public that there is an industry Code of Conduct and all staff must promptly advise a member of the public (customers and clients) where they can obtain a copy of the Code of Conduct for Real Estate Agents if requested?
For information about career development training focusing on risk, compliance and best practice for administrators and office managers, visit the website or contact me direct for more information.

Residential Sales Best Practice

Did you know that Section 31 of the PAMD Real Estate Agency Practice Code of Conduct requires that salespeople notify the seller immediately in writing if a buyer has not paid a sales deposit in accordance with the terms of the contract? The late deposit is not to be accepted by the agency unless the seller has been advised in writing by the agency and the seller has authorised the acceptance of the late deposit in writing.
For information about career development training focusing on risk, compliance and best practice for salespeople and administrators, visit the website or contact me direct.

Residential Property Management Best Practice

Did you know that there is confusion in the industry about rent arrears and repeated breaches? The RTRA Act states that if a tenant is more than 7 days in arrears of rent, then on the 8th day, a notice to remedy breach for rent arrears can be issued. If the tenant does not remedy the breach in the 7 day breach time period, then after the expiry of the notice to remedy breach, a notice to leave for rent arrears can be served. (add postage time frames if posted) Time frames do not need to be added for email, fax or hand delivery notice of delivery. The repeated breaches provision in the Act is a completely separate matter and is a provision in the legislation for ‘repeat offenders’; meaning that if a tenant (or lessor for that matter) continually breaches the act or agreement and notice to remedy breaches are served, and then they are remedied during the breach period, on the third or more notice to remedy breaches for the same event, the lessor/agent (or tenant) can apply to QCAT on an urgent application for termination on grounds of repeated breaches.

Until next time, enjoy Autumn!