When I say “real estate investment,” the first words that come to your mind probably aren’t “customer service,” but for my Memphis Invest family and me, it’s the central part of who we are and what we do.
At first glance, real estate investment is all about numbers and calculations, risk and reward. But at the heart of it all, we know that it’s a people business. It comes down to the relationships we share: management and tenants, owners and providers, and everyone in between. It’s in those relationships that the truly valuable things happen.
Anyone can work with numbers. It takes service and strong relationships to stand apart. Through my years working with Memphis Invest in turnkey real estate investment, these are five customer service lessons I’ve learned that anyone can apply to their professional lives.
5 Lessons from Customer Service You Can Apply to Any Profession
1) In everything, be gracious.
In any line of work, gratitude is invaluable. It’s not just enough to give out empty "thank you"s and "you’re welcome"s, but to realize that you wouldn’t be where you are without the people you’re working with. You might not want to be working with them. They might be difficult sometimes. But even in difficulties, we have something to learn and grow from. In everything, we can be gracious. Sincerely gracious.
It can be tempting to recite a thank you in an empty and insincere tone, but when we’re genuinely grateful for where we are and what we have, it shines through.
2) Multitasking is not good for business.
Multitasking is deceptive. It seems like a good idea. Do more at one time, get more done. Right? In theory, it makes sense. In practice, it almost always falls apart. The human brain can’t actually do more than one thing at once. Our attention is always split and divided and we won’t do any of the things we’re trying to do at our best. It’s far better to fully engage and focus on one task at a time rather than trying to do many things at once.
In a customer service context, talking to people demands undivided attention. If you try to multitask, you will forget something said. There will be a failure of communication. You will miss something. You must fully engage and forget about anything else in that moment.
3) People matter.
In business, people can so easily become numbers and statistics and meaningless bits of data on graphs and charts. In customer service, we hear so many voices and see so many faces that it can be tempting to treat everyone the same: but we know that would be a huge mistake and a wasted opportunity. People matter! They’re uniquely valuable not just as customers, but as people with unique thoughts, feelings, and goals.
We best serve our clients and customers if we treat them as unique individuals.
4) The baseline is not enough.
At Memphis Invest, one of our goals is to strive for more. For better. We’re always looking for that next level of excellence. For anyone looking to get ahead, that’s what you have to do. It’s not enough just to do the minimum. The baseline “just enough” isn’t good enough. You can’t settle for “okay.”
Success looks above and beyond. Nothing less.
5) Customer experience is everything.
There are a lot of ways to measure success. Most will look to revenue. They’ll crunch numbers or look at hard facts and quantifiable data. I don’t blame them—they’re good measures by conventional standards. In a people business though—and in a business where you really, truly want to get ahead—the numbers aren’t enough.
If you want to get ahead, it’s about the experience. It’s the experience that really matters. There’s a quote from poet Maya Angelou, “'At the end of the day people won't remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.”
That rings true for those of us in the business of working in relationships. Do you leave people feeling better than when you found them?
I’m a firm believer in the power of a good reputation. Your reputation is something to be guarded and protected. It builds legacies. It can also destroy them. If we’re focused on giving people an excellent client experience and remain gracious at all times, we’ve set ourselves up for success no matter what profession we happen to be in.