There probably isn’t a business in Australia that does not preach great customer service but in reality, how often do you really have an experience that leaves you thinking “WOW”?
Have you ever been in a bank at lunchtime for an urgent transaction? There is a very good chance you will find one or two tellers open with a line stretching out the door. If you look hard enough you will probably find a sign on the wall that states how important you are to them. Really?
Customer service is not just an action but also a belief that runs throughout an organisation. It needs to be at the very heart of each interaction. This has been at the very core of Jim’s Group throughout its 30 years since inception. Jim Penman launched Jim’s Group with the sole intention of ensuring that a customer is the number one priority and in the world of franchising the client is the Franchisee. His mantra is “our number one priority is the welfare of our Franchisees”. The thought process is, if we look after our Franchisees well they will pass this behaviour onto their clients. This has been proven correct, with Jim’s Group becoming the largest services Franchise system in the world.
Enter Jim’s Real Estate.
Jim was never happy with the experiences he had in his property transactions. The properties were sold but he felt that it was purely transactional. When I become aware that Jim was considering launching a Real Estate division I put my hand up. After 15 years in various divisions I had first hand knowledge of the power of the brand. The discussion with Jim though was what are you going to do differently to give the Franchisees a greater experience? What we came back with was a model that will make our Franchisees profitable. Our Franchisees negotiate their commission and they keep it all. Why should we as Franchisors receive money for all of the hard work that is done by the Agent? An agent spends their working day, networking, prospecting and growing their network to gain listings. As a Franchisor we are not involved in this so what right do we have to take a share? Secondly, we must consistently support our Franchisees by way of ongoing training, systems that make their life easier and the ability to network with the nearly 4000 franchisees and their clients. Jim’s Group performs around 800,000 jobs per year and almost all of these are homeowners. Not to mention the other 180,000 clients that go un-serviced due to our Franchisees not being able to take any more work. The ability to put our Franchisees in front of people every day that know and trust the brand gives our Franchisees an advantage to grow their database quicker.
We then needed to look at our clients. We discussed with people on what they liked and disliked about real estate transactions and what we found, was that yes, their home got sold but they also felt that it was very transactional with one of the major headaches being home opens. The vendor needs to run around after a long week at work to ensure their property is neat and tidy and ready for the open. So Jim’s Real Estate solves this problem by utilising the Jim’s Divisions. Our clients can have their lawn mowed, house cleaned or pool cleaned at no additional charge, taking away the stresses of being ready for an open. Now that is customer service.! At the end, when the transaction is complete, they may be asked by Jim Penman himself what they thought of their experience. Most importantly though they can discuss it direct with Jim if they feel they didn’t have the experience that they expected. You read that right! Talk directly to Jim if they are not happy. How many other Managing Directors would do this? Now that is what we call customer service……..the Jim’s way.
By Jamie Byard
Jim’s Real Estate