The Lasting Value of Knowing What Your Customers Are Looking for 

by Marilyn Wilson on September 23, 2014

boardroom with blue skyThe Case for Measuring Customer Satisfaction Regularly

MLSs are monopolies right?  They OWN their territory so they don’t have to worry about customer satisfaction.  Few in the industry would ever agree to this statement but in reality, many act as though they are a monopoly – not paying close attention to what their customers are asking for.  Can you honestly say you know what your MLSs strengths and weaknesses are?  Do you know what frustrates your customers or how you might hinders them from selling real estate as effectively as they could?   Do you occasionally get a board member that wants to re-invent everything because they have heard from one member who is not happy?

If you are an MLS that can relate to any of these questions above, then you might want to read on.

If you haven’t asked your customers how they’re feeling about your organization, then you are you undoubtedly missing opportunities to build a stronger relationship with those that give you your livelihood.  It can be scary to ask your customers think of you, but it’s more scary to think about what might happen if they become really unhappy.

What are the upsides of customer satisfaction though?  Companies that monitor satisfaction regularly can manage their board’s expectations because they have an on-going measure of technology adoption, satisfaction and suggestions from their members.  It is much easier to set goals when you have quantitative, indisputable measures to use instead of perception and innuendo which can enter into the MLS boardroom in the absence of hard facts.

We have the honor and pleasure of working with MLSs across the country on their customer satisfaction surveys. Many conduct annual surveys. Some, like MRIS, actually conduct quarterly surveys. They measure satisfaction on every facet of their business. Every department head in the company is responsible for digesting the survey and identifying methods for improving customer satisfaction. In fact, their annual bonuses are based in part of helping the organization to consistently improve customer satisfaction.  The company has shown consistent and dramatic improvement in customer satisfaction since it began its program nearly 10 years ago.  Could there be a correlation between monitoring and responding to customer requests and the accomplishment of becoming one of the largest and most successful MLSs in the country?  We definitely think so.

The MLSs we work with have learned a lot about the trigger points for customer satisfaction.  They have been able to engage their customers in deeper dialogs after identifying a problem from the results of their customer satisfaction research.  They have been woken up to the fact that MLSs are actually service organizations, NOT technology companies at their heart.

The best MLSs have reinvented themselves as a customer-driven organization.  Adopting a customer-centric mindset throughout the organization can be the most difficult thing to do, but it will make all the difference with your customers.

Here are some best practices to consider when fielding a Customer Satisfaction Survey:

  • No Leading Questions – Be sure not to ask questions that are leading or biased
  • Ask the tough questions – Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions that you are most afraid to her like…..How satisfied are they with you?  What is their biggest frustration with the organization?  How valuable are the services relative to other MLSs they belong to? Other training organizations? Other technology companies?
  • Share the Results – Be sure to share the results with all of those that participated and all of your customers.  Let them know you heard them and you appreciate their feedback
  • React and Respond – The worst you can do is ask for input and then not listen or respond to it. If you’re brave enough to ask for your customer’s opinion, you must have the commitment to address their concerns as quickly and completely as possible.  Most importantly demonstrate to them that you have put new programs and initiatives in place based on their feedback. Prove to them that you are really listening.
  • ATTENTION MLS system providers – we all need your help to address the needs of agents and brokers. Many times the MLSs are getting gigged by their customers because your timeline for addressing their needs is WAY too long.

Our goal is to help every MLS create the absolute best relationships they can with their customers. Hopefully the advice we laid out here will help you with achieving that important goal!

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