No one ever said that working in the note business was easy. However, it is crucial that note professionals have a passion for helping people and possess the skills and personality traits to keep note holders happy. Otherwise, you risk alienating note holders when they receive poor customer service. In this era, when anyone can leave an online review, the aftermath of a negative encounter could haunt your note business for a long time.
It might surprise you to learn that the three characteristics at the top of the list for ideal note holder customer service performance have nothing to do with getting the note holder to accept an offer. That’s because the conversation won’t even get that far if the note holder feels that you don’t really care about helping them. Someone who comes across as authentic to note holders typically possesses these traits:
Strong listening skills – No one can give great customer service when they are thinking about or attending to other things. The note professional speaking to a note holder directly or over the phone must give his or her full attention to the note holder. This includes confirming what the note holder said as well as what he or she implied. Paraphrasing back to the note holder to ensure understanding is a great move.
Patience – Note holders who contact note professionals have a problem. That means they are often going to feel frustrated and may not come across as pleasant during an initial interaction. Taking the time to listen to their frustration (usually about the discount) can go a long way toward earning note holder trust. The note professional also needs to have the patience to explain the same information multiple times in a variety of ways depending on the note holders learning style.
Strong communication skills – When you consider the different cultures, educational backgrounds, income levels, and other demographic differences between note holders, it’s easy to see how misunderstandings happen. It’s up to the note professional to explain what he or she intends to do and leave no room for error. One way to ensure understanding is to simply ask if the note holder understands and agrees to the actions the note professional is about to take (the next steps, the process, etc.).
The above three traits represent what are known as “soft skills” in the business world. That means it isn’t always possible to teach them to someone because they tend to come more from personality traits than anything else. Hard skills, on the other hand, include technical knowledge that a note professional should be able to explain to the note holder. Product knowledge is a typical example of a hard skill (for example: different ways to buy a note, partial remainder interest, etc.). Any note professionals in a forward-facing position should know everything there is to know about their “products” so they can answer whatever questions a note holder throws at them.
Another “hard skill” is the ability to know when the note holder’s issue is over the note professionals head and that he or she must delegate it (or bring in a Master Buyer or an “underwriter” to assist) without adding to the note holder’s frustration. This can be a fine line to walk, but experienced note professionals can use their own experience of when to use assistance with note holders and when to handle the problem themselves.
No matter how hard you work to keep note holders happy, any note business could benefit from improving its customer service to note holders. Remember these traits as explained above and you’ll be able to keep many more note holders happy. Hope this helps! Remember success demands action, keep on marketing, it’s going to work! TWITA! (That’s What I’m Talkin’ About!)
Jeff Armstrong of Armstrong Capital has been a note investor and broker specializing in the performing seller financed note industry since 1991. For more updated and current information on how he can help you with your note business, your note investments or to request a quote on a note you currently have visit www.armstrongcapital.com to email him and subscribe to his weekly Note-Able Newsletter.