Email is a Tricky Thing

Although I may have mastered this blogging thing, I have to admit that technology isn’t really my personal forte and I did have to recently ask my daughter to show me how to upload songs to my iPod. Yes, I only just got an iPod, but at least I got there eventually. Although the trendier of the techie developments may stump me now and again, there is one element that is second nature for most people these days, and its email. But that doesn’t mean email isn’t also fraught with issues of its own. 



The reason I got thinking about this is because I received a response from an email I sent yesterday where my original message had been taken completely out of context and the recipient ended up thinking I was annoyed, which as I’ve discussed before is somewhat of a rarity. (Although at times I could be considered sarcastic…maybe…) But it made me realise, email is a tricky thing. Tone becomes almost impossible to detect unless you’re into using emoticons, which I’m not, and if you’re like me and you accidentally get caps lock stuck on and don’t have time to retype everything, PEOPLE THINK YOU’RE SHOUTING AT THEM. 


Aside from considering basic netiquette when it comes to email, in the real estate game, customers are relying more and more heavily on email communication to speak with agents and salespeople, as I suppose most of us are in other aspects of our lives. As more and more people turn to online sources for property information, it makes sense that the number of enquiries sent via these online mechanisms will also increase, and that’s exactly what we’ve seen happen at CENTURY 21. Having worked in real estate for a good many years, I do have to admit that past behaviour of some agents in days gone by hasn’t done a lot for our reputations, and often people don’t want to give away phone numbers when they have the option of providing another less confrontational method of contact. This makes email the perfect alternative. 


However, the problem with email and real estate agents seems to be that many in the industry haven’t picked up on the fact that anywhere up to 80% of enquiries about property are now being generated online, and many simply don’t respond to email enquiries. At CENTURY 21, we know that if you don’t respond, your customer will go somewhere else, and rapidly. The other thing about online communication is that people expect an almost instant response. With the prevalence of Blackberries in the industry, this problem is alleviated somewhat, and they do say that real estate is a 24/7 job – let me tell you it’s the truth! But more to the point, people just want a response, even if it does take you a day or two.  The biggest bug bear for most people is the resounding silence that often follows an email enquiry, and that happens a lot when it comes to real estate. Well, at least until recently. Since the economic slow down of late last year, I know property hunters whose email enquiries had been ignored for months, and now suddenly they are being bombarded with emails from the agents who had previously been mute. Although this is not the ideal way to commence email communications with customers, I can only hope that this willingness to e-communicate continues once the economy picks back up!       


Posted by Charles Tarbey on 04/03/2009 at 10:59 AM | Categories:



MillerCash wrote on 30/10/2009 3:16 PM

I don't usually reply on articles I read but I have to say this was just great. Keep up the good work.

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