One of the passions that has spanned my career in its entirety is creating exceptional experiences — for agents and their clients, our brokerage staff and anyone who interacts with our brand. At The Agency, where I serve as president, one of our core values is ensuring quality at every touchpoint — in our marketing, technology, services, events and beyond. We’re also a company that is rapidly expanding (yes, we opened 29 offices around the world in 2023), which means every excellent experience has to be scalable.
So, how can you ensure both quality and efficiency? It’s a big question. Here are 5 insights I’ve gained over the course of my career.
1. Get clear on your core competencies
What do you do best? How do those core competencies affect your customers and audiences? It’s different for every organization and an important thing to understand. At The Agency, we have a unique position as both a real estate brand and a lifestyle brand. Not only do we help clients buy and sell real estate, but we also create incredible lifestyle content — from The Agency Journal blog to our magazine and beyond. We make great impressions.
2. Make sure marketing is in your wheelhouse
Of course, marketing is an essential part of most great brand experiences. And at The Agency, we’re lucky to have an incredible in-house design and creative agency that impacts nearly every aspect of our business and brand. They are experts at creating exceptional experiences, making gorgeous materials for our global team of agents, custom-branding properties and rolling out creative and eye-catching brand campaigns. These services are highly important to both our agents and their clients — and they translate into more homes sold for the best prices possible.
3. Set clear standards of excellence
Don’t assume agents and staff are clear on what excellent service means and requires — it’s your job to provide them with that information as a leader. Create a service handbook and train everyone across the company so they are consciously adopting the standard of excellence you’re aiming for across every touchpoint. We recently created a Service Playbook that we integrate into staff and office meetings. It outlines the 10 rules of service we abide by. It not only makes The Agency a better place to work by amplifying our unique culture, but it also brings that magic into client interactions.
4. Lead by example
If you want your agents and staff to curate exceptional experiences, you have to walk your talk and treat them like your clients (because they are!). Incorporate opportunities for connection and fun. Make them feel special, seen and valued by intentionally seizing moments to surprise and delight them. Again, it’s another step in creating a service-first culture.
5. Systematize when you can
Systems are your friends to create consistent experiences. Lean on automation to streamline the process so that you’re providing the human touch but not relying solely on the human brain. Excellence means consistency — so, when you’re curating a special moment in your client’s journey, think about what triggers that experience. How can you step out of relying on your memory and step into a streamlined process that hits the end goal with as little room for error as possible? (Hint: think about technology here.)
By understanding core competencies, investing in top-notch marketing, setting clear standards of excellence, leading by example and incorporating streamlined systems, you’re well on your way to curating quality at every touchpoint. Be thoughtful, caring and creative in every customer interaction and you’re sure to create raving fans.
Rainy Hake Austin is president of The Agency.