"The greatest danger for a luxury firm is to lose its status as a differentiated, premium brand, but wealthy consumer perceptions suggest that luxury overall may be in danger of losing its cachet," said Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute. "This calls for a renewal of efforts to be unique and exclusive and to execute well on customer service.
The most frequently cited qualities that define luxury-superior quality (76%), craftsmanship (65%), and customer service (57%) - are the areas where wealthy consumers are finding the greatest dissatisfaction. More than half (56%) say that craftsmanship of luxury products is on the wane; 51% say that quality is decreasing; 50% notice a slippage in customer service quality and 48% say that luxury products are losing their design value."
How does this apply to luxury real estate marketing? Real estate as a profession is a service business, real estate agents and brokers are service professionals. As we interview agents across the country for our series 50 Top Luxury Markets in the USA, we find that those who respond immediately to our queries are thriving in their marketplaces and those who want to eclipse the market leaders. They are easy to access, willing to share their insights, passionate about their marketplace, return calls and emails promptly and are a delight to talk to. One of the top market leaders recently interviewed said that you have to be nice to everybody regardless who they are or what their status in life. He returns everyone's calls personally. As a result his client lists grows and referrals are plentiful.
Many of the agents we interviewed who are market leaders did not have websites, do not engage in social media, and do not know or care what SEO means or being #1 on Google. They are differentiating themselves on service, manners and excellent communication skills. They knock on doors; they meet people day in and day out. They are relationship oriented. They network face to face. They practice the fundamentals of business. They water plants for their sellers when they are out town. They send handwritten notes, birthday cards, and take their clients out to lunch. Tech is not the priority focus in their success equation and in many cases has been relegated to the back burner.
Luxury by definition implies rarity and exclusivity. Given the results from the Luxury Institute, it is evident that customer service is a key indicator in choosing a brand/service professional. People will remember you for your luxurious service. In our practice as branding and marketing strategists, we feel that customer service should take priority, and technology should facilitate customer service.