Years ago when I was a negotiator in a busy lettings office the importance of viewing feedback was always drummed into me. I honestly felt at that time that it was quite a dull chore to call landlords and update them on viewing activity and feedback.
However, when I later went on to run my own lettings teams I really started to appreciate the importance not only of regular but quality feedback. I took pride in the fact that our clients didn’t have to chase us for updates and client satisfaction levels with our proactive feedback were a really important measure of how well the team was doing.
Nothing annoys a client more than poor communication - it is no accident that this is one of the biggest causes of complaints escalated to industry redress schemes.
But how do we improve feedback? I’ve put together some pointers below:
- Always be constructive - even if the outcome of a viewing is not positive and an offer is not forthcoming, there is always something to be learned and suggestions which can be made.
- Listen – listen carefully to your applicants’ comments whilst viewing the property.
- Ask relevant questions - ask your applicant the questions about the property that your client wants answering. How does it compare to others they have viewed? What did they like/dislike about the finish/area/style etc? What improvements could be made to the property to make it more appealing?
- Be quick - communicate feedback to your client as soon as you can after each viewing.
- Know your market – your client relies on you for market intelligence and you should be very well informed about what is letting/selling in the area. What is bringing new residents to your locality at the moment? A well-performing school? Or is a new employer bringing in a new source of high calibre tenants?
- Don’t be reticent with recommendations – always ask yourself what it would really take for the property to let/sell. A 5% price reduction? A new kitchen? Refreshing the décor? If you are listening and asking the right questions during viewings you should know the answer!
- Always have an action plan - agree on a strategy with your client and keep it under constant review.
So get it right and give your clients what they want – regular, concise and constructive feedback.
By having a clear strategy and knowing your property, market, and applicants it will be a matter of time before an offer is agreed!
Written by Caroline Kenny AssocRICS DipRLM FARLA(retd)
Freelance residential lettings consultant as well as a Business Development Consultant to the UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA)