When it comes to communicating, we often rely on email to make our jobs easier. It takes less time to compose and send an email, especially if we know the other party likes to talk a lot and keep us on the phone. But is email really helping, or is it hindering? Typically there are two groups of people we communicate with – our clients and our vendors. And there are protocols for each.
Communicating with Clients
Generally, it’s safe to communicate with clients by email as long as you have their permission. Some clients check their email frequently and others check it rarely. You don’t want to make the mistake of sending emails about photo times, inspection times and closing dates to someone who rarely checks email. And even if you are communicating those things by email to someone who checks it regularly, it is great customer service to remind those clients by phone call or text on the morning of the appointment just as a reminder. Remember, there is no such thing as contacting the clients too often.
A phone call to the client at the beginning of your relationship will help you determine manner and frequency of communication. Here’s a script you can use that will get you the information you need:
As part of [agent’s] customer service, I will be in constant communication with you. When I have important information to deliver to you, do you prefer that I call, text, or email you?
Fair warning; it’s going to sound a little “scripty” when you say it, and that’s OK. The client is going to appreciate you asking and will now know how you are going to communicate. And even though the client may have said they prefer email communication, don’t hesitate for one moment to pick up the phone and call them when you need to let them know about urgent information which is different than important information. Urgent information is anything happening in the next 24 hours that they need to be aware of such as photography, inspection, and appraisal appointments and any deadlines such as inspection periods coming to an end.
Communicating with Vendors
In my experience, title companies and lenders tend to read email often. So typically if you need something, you can send emails and get a pretty rapid response. If you are working with plumbers, electricians, inspectors and the like, it is best to call. These folks are rarely near a computer and though they probably have a smart phone, they don’t get a lot of opportunity to read and respond to a lot of emails.
Don’t rely on email when a conversation is more suitable. Too many times, I’ve gone back and forth over email with lenders and title companies on the day of closing when things are falling apart and everyone is trying their best to keep four to six people in the loop of what’s happening. It’s overwhelming. An email can’t convey empathy. When nerves need to be settled, a confident human voice goes a LONG way. Ladies, the best way to convey confidence over the phone is to lower your voice and speak slowly and evenly. When we women get excited, we tend to raise our pitch and then we start sounding like little girls. (I only know this because I’m guilty of it.) A lower pitch puts authority behind you and people are more willing to follow your lead when you demonstrate confidence.
What are YOUR thoughts on email communication? I’d love for you to share your comments below.