Caryn Botknecht belongs to that rare type of real estate agents who elevate customer service to an art form, which, nonetheless, feels unassuming and genuine. Her caring, personal approach to doing business puts her clients at ease, while her professionalism ensures they have the latest market insights. In a blend of amiability and expertise, she even takes buyers on a stroll around their new neighborhoods to acquaint them with the best amenities they can enjoy.
Haute Residence talked to Botknecht about the importance of impeccable customer service and the gratification of going beyond expectations.
How does customer service differ from buyers to sellers?
Customer service is customer service. Whether you are working with a buyer or a seller, the most important thing is the relationship you build. It’s not about an individual sale, it’s about an ongoing relationship that continues to flourish over time. I believe that’s true in all forms of sales.
What are the first steps when you work with new clients, be they sellers, buyers or investors?
The first step is always listening. Listening is key to finding out exactly what the needs and wants are of any new client.
What are some of the major concerns people have when marketing their homes? How can a real estate agent address them?
Marketing is crucial when selling your home. Even more so when it is in a neighborhood that has a great deal of inventory. I believe when marketing a home, it’s important to get a feel for the home you are selling and then be as creative and unique as possible so to break through the clutter of all the surrounding homes.
Sitting down and going over the marketing plan with your clients helps to bring them up to speed with the direction you are heading in. I typically create an identity for each home I market, which helps perspective buyers envision what their lives would be like when living in the home.
Some buyers can be very cautious when looking for a new home. How can a real estate agent help them without pressuring them to make a decision?
I have found that clients usually know when they have found the right place. However, they typically second guess their decision for a number of reasons. I think it’s important to reassure the clients that their gut feeling can be a very powerful tool when buying a place. At the same time, it is not the only tool at their disposal and a real estate agent has the insight to help customers choose the best home for their budget and lifestyle. That can really put their mind at ease that they are making the right choice.
Buying a house can be very personal, bringing together customers and agents. Where does the line between professionalism and friendship lie?
I believe people buy from people they like. Therefore, I think it’s key to build a relationship with your clients. Buying or selling a home can be an overwhelming process but when there’s a level of trust, it makes the sale much easier (and more fun).
How has the proliferation of websites that feature listings and real estate data impacted customer service?
There is nothing like a personal relationship. Websites that feature listings and real estate data can be a great tool, in conjunction with a great real estate agent. As with anything on the internet, you can’t always believe the information you see. Therefore, having an individual you can trust that will help you decipher the data, is always beneficial.
Some industry insiders say that agents should expect clients’ wishes and not just react to them once expressed. What is your opinion?
Anticipating issues or comments that can arise is helpful in any situation. Be prepared for anything, yet be flexible so that you can have an honest and thorough interaction with your clients based on their needs and wants.
What are your golden rules of customer service?
Be yourself, be kind, be thorough and listen yet always remember you are the expert and the clients are hiring you for your expertise!
Caryn Botknect is the exclusive agent representing the East Fort Lauderdale, Florida real estate market as a member of the Haute Residence Real Estate Network. View all of her listings here.