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a blog by Chris Barrow

Astonishingly bad customer service – and teenagers

Yesterday was spent in Salisbury, Wiltshire – researching domestic rental properties. We spent the day working our way along the city high street, calling in at every estate agents office and asking for a “lettings list”. Almost without exception, the staff representing these firms were slightly scruffy, badly organised, poor at communication – and showed a level of boredom with their jobs that was palpable. In probably 20 visits we only experienced one person ask us “what exactly are you looking for?” – and sadly that firm did not offer rentals – but at least the girl had the presence of mind to ask “would you be interested in buying as an alternative?” Most just pointed us to a list on a table, counter or shelf and left us to get on with it – no help, no interest. Some weren’t that good. Eventually we were walking across the green in front of Salisbury Cathedral and I spotted a group of teenagers sat under a tree chatting. To their initial surprise I just walked up to them, asked permission to ask them a question – and then just asked them what it was like to live in Salisbury, what it would be like for teenagers and where would be the best places to live. In 20 minutes they gave me a complete “low-down” on the city, its culture, good and bad points and general advice on how best to integrate the kids. Maybe the estate agents in the city should invest less in fancy-schmancy premises and more in people. Maybe they should employ teenagers who care, are polite and courteous and have local knowledge. Maybe someone reading this should create The Estate Agents Business School and create a 7-figure coaching practice?

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