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Vendor Management


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Kelly Tatlow, Ray White Concierge, At your service

Moving house is a hassle. And some of the biggest hassles are disconnecting and reconnecting utilities, updating insurance and storing belongings. Imagine the response a real estate organisation would receive if it were to take these hassles away from its buyers and sellers.

Ray White has done just that with Concierge, setting the group apart from its competitors and providing a service that lengthens the relationship it has with clients.

Increasing Connection

Concierge is a free service available to those who buy or sell through Ray White and includes 30 days home and contents insurance, a home loan health check, connection/disconnection of phone, gas, electricity, internet and Foxtel and changing address with the Australian Electoral Commission.

Executive manager Kelly Tatlow said the thinking behind Concierge was to provide additional services to Ray White clients outside the real estate transaction.

“We like to keep in contact with clients on an ongoing basis. The aim there is to provide some value to clients that they have been missing in the real estate market, and also to create some ongoing brand awareness so if they want to transact real estate down the track, we might be at the top of their mind,” Ms Tatlow explained.

“Everyone buying a property needs insurance, so it’s very important to be there and provide it straight away without them needing to spend the next few days on the phone ringing around,” she added, saying clients could choose the date for the policy to start and were very grateful for the time-saving assistance.

After the initial connections and 30-day Ray White insurance, Concierge will contact clients later in the year with further options including car, boat and life insurance. Concierge is currently trialling storage in Sydney which is ideal for vendors needing to declutter before open homes or those in the transition period between homes. The business is also looking at pet storage as a further service.

Integrated Servicing

In addition, clients are also offered a complimentary review of their existing home loan. “Generally when [people] are buying or selling it results in clients needing a finance transaction, so rather than just going with the bank they’ve always gone to, it’s useful to know what competitive rates are available. “About 96 per cent of our clients will take up the complimentary services,” Ms Tatlow said.

Extended Relationships

With everything else going on in their business, it is easy for agents to let the niceties of regular database contact slip. The other side of Concierge is helping Ray White agents build better relationships by contacting their database and passing warm prospects back to the agents to follow up. Concierge staff offer services to database contacts and keep them up to date with what’s happening with real estate in their community.

“It’s hard for agents to make time in their day, because historically they haven’t done that. Agents get to number 30 on their list and that person wants an appraisal and they go off and do that and lose focus, without finishing communicating with the rest of the database,” she said.

With a cold database it may be 5-10 per cent of people who will respond, however with a warm database Concierge finds 20-25 per cent of contacts will want to speak to an agent about an appraisal or advice on adding a renovation to make sure they’re not overcapitalising. Each contact adds a touch point to the ongoing relationship between Ray White Group and its clients.

Service is Key

Ms Tatlow does not come from inside the real estate industry but has a customer services background. “I bring a little bit of external observation and keep in contact with what is going on outside the marketplace as well, to make sure we are way in front of the ball in terms of what other real estate companies are offering. Clients don’t just compare us to other real estate organisations; they judge us on the customer service we’ve given,” she explained.

Putting customer service first enables Ms Tatlow and her team to see their clients as people, rather than fitting into the moulds of vendor, buyer, landlord or tenant. “We should be picking up the phone and asking them what they’re interested in and what’s important to them, and then offering them those services,” she explained.

Giving great service at the beginning of the relationship and then continuing it throughout means more positive results. Concierge lets database contacts know which properties are selling in the marketplace, sending updated market review documents and inviting them to open homes in their street, which Ms Tatlow said gave Ray White a point of difference. “When they do need an agent to list with, hopefully we’re the one who’s going to be called in,” she said. When Ray White agents send newsletters and information packs to contacts, it is a oneway contact so regular phone calls from Concierge keeps the conversation flowing. “The best way we’ve found for us to help our agents build their databases and develop relationships in their community is to pick up the phone and ask what they’re interested in and how we can provide value. Then you’re getting that two-way conversation.”

And the results of those conversations speak for themselves. Offices using Concierge’s services are finding that 70- 80 per cent of their listings are coming from their database, not other marketing like letterbox drops or newspaper ads. This can only be a good thing for future prospects.

“When they’re called in to do listing presentations, they’re getting called in unopposed and they’re getting less pressure on the commission they’re asking for, so it’s the ideal situation,” Ms Tatlow confirmed.

Concierge has been operating for three-and-a-half years, since Ray White’s existing insurance and connections business were packaged with the Loan Market to provide one integrated service. For more information about Concierge visit www.raywhiteconcierge.com.au  

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Kelly Tatlow, Ray White Concierge, At your service