I’ve not published an article here for a little while. The primary reason for that is that my wife and I have been consumed by moving house over the last couple of months.
However, we didn’t just move house. We moved city and country too.
Specifically, we have moved from Brighton in England 500 miles (pardon the pun!) north to Edinburgh in Scotland, which operates under different laws and property market rules.
Now, our move was successful, and we were helped by a couple of really great legal professionals along the way. But, generally, the service we received from various other lawyers, banks, mortgage advisors and estate agents we encountered along the way was very, very patchy.
I was astonished at this, given how important and stressful moving house is for many people, how competitive the market is and how many firms claim that customer service is very important to them.
However, having reflected on our whole experience, it occurs to me that not a lot would have to change to turn a patchy service experience into one that was more pleasant and memorable for the right reasons.
Here’s a list of three simple things which, if the majority of the professional service providers we dealt with had done, would have made our experience so much better.
1. Manage our expectations
From the start, set and manage our expectations. Help us understand what to expect, what is expected of us and what we can expect from you.
That includes helping us understand how long things take and warning us that surprise, additional, and new requests for information can happen as every transaction is different and things change.
Apply your experience and judgement here as much as possible as you are the expert in these affairs, not us.
2. Keep us informed
Keep us informed of how things are going, what we can expect to happen next and when that is likely to happen.
But, make sure that you do that proactively.
Don’t make us come chasing you for information if we haven’t heard from you in a couple of days. You are the one that has direct access to systems and information.
That’s especially true as we approach the end of a working week. Understand that if we don’t hear anything from you at the end of the week, then that may leave us to fret about what is happening over the weekend. Nothing is worse than going into a weekend not knowing what is happening, especially when moving house.
So, even if you have to send us a message at the need of the week saying that you have no new information but that everything is on track and we should enjoy our weekend, please do that. It will help. After all, ‘no new information’ is information as well.
3. Advocate for us
We know that surprise requests for more or additional information can happen. However, if these are counter to what was previously asked for, then be our advocate and push back on the new request to find out why this has happened, given that it wasn’t initially requested. Don’t just be the messenger. Fight our corner and make us believe you are on our side, not just a messenger or in it just for the commission or your fee.
These things on their own would not have made the process stress free.
Moving house, after all, is a big deal.
But, they would have made things a bit easier, and we would have helped us look back on our experience more fondly.