Ironic customer service award on TV last night

Thursday, February 10, 2011 by Ed Mead

Drab TV really wasn’t it. It was cringe making and frustrating in equal measure and really quite brave of Simon Gerrard to open his company to scrutiny. Nice easy target for Mary Portas and it took a while to start to understand what she was on about having never seen her program before. By the end her efforts were rewarded and it was possible to see that like any customer facing business that has a bloody great arc light shone into it there’s room for improvement.

The company was surely chosen as much for the number one salesman’s hairstyle [he says jealously] but could have been any one of thousands of offices up and down the country, and early skirmishes were embarrassing. What no one seems to have picked up on was that the proprietor had a silver award for what seemed to be customer service on the wall behind him. Given the view portrayed early on it would be reasonable to assume that this gives the lie to such awards and their general worth.

Other major clangers included the extraordinary myth inflicted on the public that once someone has made an offer on a property that’s accepted by the owner it’s sold. It’s NOT, it’s under offer, and to see agents, supposedly trained and experienced, saying a house has been sold in a day is both misleading to the public, the buyers who make the offer and the sellers who accept the offer. A property is sold when a  deposit, usually 10%, is paid and contracts are exchanged.

Other irritations included Mary banging on about the rip off of “an average £3000 we spend on selling our properties”….you don’t have to pay a crap agent, find a good one by asking the right questions. As for her repeated inference that all you need is to bung your property on the ‘net, she misses the point that brits don’t want to negotiate their own sale as they can’t bear to talk about money, the failure of internet based models comprehensively proves this. A good agent earns their money getting the property exchanged and spends it getting their register stuffed full of qualified buyers. Simon Gerrard failed miserably to take her to task on this, or maybe he did but got edited out, which is more likely. Fees elsewhere in the world are vastly higher, and given the Government’s insistence on not licensing agents we, as sellers and buyers, will continue to get the agents we deserve.

There was plenty to learn for estate agents, there always is, and a warm smile and simple knowledge of the property you’re trying to sell really should be a given, especially in these harder times.

Overall though something of a cheap shot that missed a mainstream chance to influence real decision makers.