Going Nowhere Customer Service Calls (CFFL 0061)

Going Nowhere Customer Service Calls (CFFL 0061)

Jack Butala: Going Nowhere Customer Service Calls. Every single month we give away a property for free. It’s super simple to qualify. Two simple steps. Leave us your feedback for this podcast on iTunes and number two, get the free ebook at landacademy.com, you don’t even have to read it. Thanks for listening.

Jack Butala:                   Jack Butala for LandAcademy. Welcome to our cash flow from land show. In this episode, Jill and I talk about customer service. How to use it to your advantage, and how it can become inefficient if you let it and don’t manage it. Hey, Jill, this is such an important topic, and I know you have a ton of experience with it. I put this episode in our episode lineup, I guess, at the request of several members. Some of the newer members that are starting to receive a pretty high call volume, both on the acquisition side and on the sales side. Like most topics, I bet you and I have a differing opinion on this. I have a lot to say about this.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah. Have you ever worked any kind of a customer service job? Serious.

Jack Butala:                   Well …

Jill DeWit:                            I guess we all do.

Jack Butala:                   Yeah. I mean I haven’t like … Behind a counter.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jack Butala:                   No. I mean I’ve … In college I was a waiter and stuff, but …

Jill DeWit:                            There’s a good example.

Jack Butala:                   All throughout my investment banking career, you have clients. When I was at KPMG, you’re managing clients and customers, albeit a business to businesses situation.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jack Butala:                   It’s not a retail customer scenario. Yeah, I mean I guess we all do.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jack Butala:                   I have a very different take on it than you do, and I’m going to let you go first. Please.

Jill DeWit:                            Why, you just want to like, poke holes in all my stuff?

Jack Butala:                   I started the company … No, no. I started the company a lot of years ago. In my second extra bedroom. I designed it to not involve any interaction with the customer. We literally had no phone number.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s the funniest thing. I like this. You need to go first. Keep going.

Jack Butala:                   I justified it by saying there is no place that you can buy cheaper property, which is still true, I think. If … There’s this old saying, if you expect customer service and a great price, you’re going to be disappointed. You can’t do both. You can’t provide customer service and get a smoking deal. Since you’ve been involved in this company, since you’ve been involved in this company …

Jill DeWit:                            We’ve made some changes.

Jack Butala:                   We have taken this company into the 21st century about customer service.

Jill DeWit:                            Thank you. We do have a phone number.

Jack Butala:                   I guess … I guess the topic is, is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Jill DeWit:                            I think it’s a good thing. We do have a phone number, and heck I even answer it sometimes. Depending who’s available, I might answer the phone.

Jack Butala:                   Several years ago, I was asked to no longer speak with the customers.

Jill DeWit:                            Yes.

Jack Butala:                   In LandStay.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s still true.

Jack Butala:                   It’s been that way still.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah.

Jack Butala:                   LandAcademy, totally different scenario, but … Because I love working … I love working with LandAcademy members. I really do. They’re our customers, and I … Because they’re … They’re creating another income streams and stuff, but land buying customers, it’s better that you handle it.

Jill DeWit:                            You have to have a lot of patience sometimes. That’s okay. You have to … Every time, just to give you an example, when I have a … I don’t know. A sweet couple who’s looking to retire, looking for a piece of property. They’re calling you about that property. You have to put yourself in them shoes, every single time, and remind yourself what they’re … What they’re doing. They’re not … They have a lot of questions, and they need their hand held a little bit.

Jack Butala:                   You know we devote a whole chapter in the cash flow from land program. We devote, I think it’s a whole chapter, and with recorded calls of you …

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jack Butala:                   Handling …

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jack Butala:                   The county, and acquisitions and sales and the whole thing.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jack Butala:                   We can … Our members can learn from the customer service master, because that’s what you are.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah.

Jack Butala:                   I’m serious.

Jill DeWit:                            Do you know what’s so funny about that, I love that you brought that up, because remember that call that we put in the package, because it’s that … That elderly gentleman that couldn’t hear.

Jack Butala:                   Mm-hmm (affirmative). Right.

Jill DeWit:                            I said something about whatever and he’d say “Oh, thank you it’s Italian.” Like I’d ask how to spell his last name, and he’d thought I had something like “Oh, thank you it’s Italian.” I’m like “Oh, that’s so funny. That’s not what I said.”

Jack Butala:                   That’s another man who fell in love with Jill.

Jill DeWit:                            So cute. So darn funny.

Jack Butala:                   It happens at least twice a day.

Jill DeWit:                            Oh, it’s hilarious. It was so good. Here’s a positive thing by the way. Think of how many invitations … I got the coolest couple out in California that wanted to take us to lunch, by the way that sold me their property. [inaudible 00:04:30] You meet some neat people. It’s really fun, but yeah. Here’s my things on customer service. I have three points to make. One is … Oh, it can make or break your business. Let’s be honest. You need to manage it. You can’t ignore it. It is part of your business. You’ve got to develop. If you’re not the right person to go along and affirm what you’ve said, Steven. If you know you’re not the right person to be handling phone calls and doing all that stuff, then get someone. That’s okay to do. It’s okay to hire someone that is good at handling …

Jack Butala:                   See, you …

Jill DeWit:                            Customer service.

Jack Butala:                   I … I have to differ on this, because I think that if you’re the wrong person, if you … You can’t just surgically take out pieces. Can’t … Pieces that are in … Detrimental to running a good company, or a side business or whatever.

Jill DeWit:                            No, don’t take it out, but have somebody else handle that.

Jack Butala:                   Yeah, I think you need to do it yourself for awhile. Then I think …

Jill DeWit:                            What if you’re not good?

Jack Butala:                   Well then you can hire it out. I really think you need … That’s how you learn. You need to learn what cyclical questions are. Let me give an example.

Jill DeWit:                            Well what if your wife … What if your wife is saying “I’m really good on the phones, sweetheart, and I’m home all day.” While we’re working and handling our business …

Jack Butala:                   Okay, well …

Jill DeWit:                            I’m going to be handling the phone calls, you’re going to be handling this. Seriously.

Jack Butala:                   If it’s a wife situation, all right. I just think that …

Jill DeWit:                            Or a partner. A business partner.

Jack Butala:                   Okay. I would rather … That’s why we are primarily … One of the reasons that LandStay does a lot of wholesale transactions.

Jill DeWit:                            Okay.

Jack Butala:                   Because there’s no customer. It’s the same person that we’ve been selling property to for a long time.

Jill DeWit:                            Okay. How about this.

Jack Butala:                   Or the same people, I should say.

Jill DeWit:                            I will agree with you. I would like to add …

Jack Butala:                   I knew this … I knew this topic was going to end like this.

Jill DeWit:                            I would like to add, though, if you’re not very patient, you better get some patience. How’s that?

Jack Butala:                   Well let me give you another example about why you need to handle this yourself, and to the point where maybe then you can decide it’s … Take it out, because if you continue to get the same question, or group of questions, then put it in your posting, wherever you’re selling the property.

Jill DeWit:                            That was my point number two!

Jack Butala:                   That’s how you learn. For once, I don’t know. Well let’s see your notes pad.

Jill DeWit:                            You just took it away from me! Okay, it’s all good. No. No, it’s all good. Point number two …

Jack Butala:                   If your wife’s doing it, and she’s asking the same questions over and over again, and you’re not around to see it, to solve it.

Jill DeWit:                            Yep. Save yourself some time. Use your resources to answer those questions. Like your website. Your advertisements. All that good stuff. That’s point … Thank you Steven for the beautiful segue way. My point number two is …

Jack Butala:                   It is beautiful.

Jill DeWit:                            In this business, put everything in there that you have about the posting and tell everybody that this is everything I know about the posting, or the property I mean, when you’re advertising it. Just say it’s on your website. Have all the pictures with the GPS coordinates in there. The legal description. Give them an idea what the taxes are. Every little … Every question that you think you’re going to get, put it in there. Even have a page like we do, as far as this is how the transaction goes. Telling them about the checkout procedure.

Jack Butala:                   Yeah. Oh, yeah, that for sure.

Jill DeWit:                            That kind of thing. Because it’s going to save you … It does two things. One, it saves you so much time. Weeds out those calls. The main thing is, too, it frees you up to answer the good ones, so that by the time … The person’s now picking up the phone and calling you, they’ve already seen this, they’ve looked it up online. They have an idea. They’ve seen the photos. They understand the transaction. Now, they’re really a good, serious buyer calling you.

Jack Butala:                   Right.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s my second point about …

Jack Butala:                   The name of this … I didn’t, this title wasn’t on accident. “Going Nowhere Customer Service Calls” When I walk around your side of the company …

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jack Butala:                   Listen for a minute, which I don’t do very often for a lot of reasons. I think there’s a heck of a lot of unnecessary talking on the phone. To customers who are never going to buy a damn thing. I’m talking about LandStay now, not LandAcademy.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative). Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jack Butala:                   Because I think, I’ll say it again. I love dealing with the LandAcademy members and customers.

Jill DeWit:                            Well, this is where we don’t agree.

Jack Butala:                   I just … Look, there’s a … About it, there’s a paragraph in the bottom.

Jill DeWit:                            I’ll meet you in the middle.

Jack Butala:                   There’s a paragraph at the bottom of our posting.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Jack Butala:                   It’s been there for a lot of years. That didn’t happen by accident, either, and it says this. “Every single thing that we know about this property is in this posting. We specifically bought this property to resell it, to make money. We are sitting right now in air conditioned offices in Scottsdale, Arizona, with intent never went to see this property. Please do all your homework and do all your stuff before you even contact us. Make sure you want to buy it. Because we can’t answer your questions.” Yet, I walk around every part of it, and everyone’s talking to customers.

Jill DeWit:                            I have actually massaged that and made it a little less … I made it a little more … Little less … A little … A little more welcoming, if you will.

Jack Butala:                   Am I going to get in trouble for this?

Jill DeWit:                            No, no, no.

Jack Butala:                   Not from you, but like do you think people are going to email us and say “Stephen, you’re nuts.”

Jill DeWit:                            No, it’s okay. I think by now, everybody knows you. And me. We’re different, and that’s okay. No. There’s a fine line between helping a customer and wasting time.

Jack Butala:                   Yeah, please explain it to me …

Jill DeWit:                            It’s a tough one.

Jack Butala:                   Because I don’t know the difference.

Jill DeWit:                            Well, there is no chart and rule of thumb that spending the extra 3 minutes from … With that customer yesterday is not going to result in a customer for life. It might. This is where you and I differ a little bit, but yet I do agree with you, you have to know when to say when, and sometimes that’s hard. I understand that.

Jack Butala:                   A lot of years ago, I really did … This topic came up, and long before the podcast for LandAcademy or anything. I really started to pay attention, because I thought we were spending way too much time on this, like I do right now. I really started to pay attention to who … The people who pulled the trigger and bought property, and how they did it. What I found, back then, and I bet you a dollar it’s the same thing right now, the people who never call and don’t have any questions, are the people who are buying our property, and sending checks in or … Or if they do call, it’s to give a credit card number.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jack Butala:                   I think the people that call and say “Hey, can you put a mobile home on that, or how do you get to the property, or … ?” I think that it’s not the … I’ll leave it at that. I think I’ve made my point. Do you think differently?

Jill DeWit:                            No, I don’t. I agree with you.

Jack Butala:                   What?

Jill DeWit:                            No.

Jack Butala:                   We’re going to end the podcast now?

Jill DeWit:                            No, no …

Jack Butala:                   I’m begging on the fact that you …

Jill DeWit:                            It’s some of the … Yeah, sometimes the people … Aw, shucks.

Jack Butala:                   You really do agree with me.

Jill DeWit:                            I do agree with you, and I’m trying to …

Jack Butala:                   Aw. I wasn’t prepared for that.

Jill DeWit:                            I’m trying to tell you … I’m trying to word it … You can’t turn off your phone and ignore it. It’s a tough one, and I agree with you.

Jack Butala:                   I’m talking about property sales. Property acquisitions, whole different story. You definitely want to spend the time with them. Talk to them, do whatever you need to do, because that’s your lifeline.

Jill DeWit:                            You’re right.

Jack Butala:                   In the end, you’re actually sending them money, so it’s a easier customer service situation.

Jill DeWit:                            You’re right. You’re right. It’s a tough one. Because right, you might have some good customers there, but you’re right, a lot of the time, more than half of the time, the person that’s going to make the transaction do it, you guys don’t even really talk. It just happens. They check out. It’s kind of that kind of a thing. Here’s my dean information. See you. I’m moving the money over, I’ll wire it in the morning. Great. Done.

Jack Butala:                   Last year, we sold … I … We sold a pair of 40s, pair of 40 acre properties, that we got from one seller. They were posted all over the internet, because Jill and I were running a test. Typically, now, we’ll get through 40s and we just sell them … We wholesale them, really quickly. To either a LandAcademy member, or we’ll sell them on terms or whatever, but these properties, for a lot of reasons … In my mind, I use them as a test.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jack Butala:                   The amount of attention that those properties got, all over the internet, was amazing. In fact, I don’t think that you did anything for probably a week.

Jill DeWit:                            Yep.

Jack Butala:                   Except handle calls and emails.

Jill DeWit:                            It was rough.

Jack Butala:                   This is the early 2015, this is before LandAcademy. In the end, who bought them?

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah. In the end, a guy called up one day, “Hey, I saw them. I want …” Well you know what was funny? He saw one. He wanted one. I said “You know what? I got another one, same area. How about this deal?” He said “Done.” He said “I’m going to move some money over from my …” Whatever, and yeah.

Jack Butala:                   His IRA …

Jill DeWit:                            “I’ll wire you in the morning. Here it is. Done.” It was that much.

Jack Butala:                   See, yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            It was one phone call.

Jack Butala:                   I’m the first person to concede to you on almost every topic, Jill, because you really are more on the front lines about this stuff, and you have a bigger heart when it comes to almost everything.

Jill DeWit:                            You’re kind of … It’s kind of like …

Jack Butala:                   I have to say.

Jill DeWit:                            Did you put this note up?

Jack Butala:                   I have to say that I just … I’m going to dig in my heels on this.

Jill DeWit:                            I know, you’re right. No, I’m like “Did you bring up this topic just to put me on the spot here?”

Jack Butala:                   No. No.

Jill DeWit:                            Like this, instead of having a meeting, I’m going to call it a podcast. I’m going to talk to Jill about her …

Jack Butala:                   No, I …

Jill DeWit:                            Team.

Jack Butala:                   No, I never have, nor will I ever micromanage what you guys do and how you guys do it, because your numbers are awesome.

Jill DeWit:                            All right, thank you.

Jack Butala:                   I’m sure in the end, it’s directly … Our success is directly related to what you do over there.

Jill DeWit:                            Right. Really, we have got, it’s … It happens, but not that much to be honest with you. I mean we really have got it down where … There’s not a lot of talking. Because that’s the point. If they’re really going to call me to talk about it, they’re not that … They’re not … Probably not going to buy it. They’re just wanting to talk about it.

Jack Butala:                   Right.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s … It’s …

Jack Butala:                   I think … I didn’t say … It’s a different world that we live … We live in a different world now.

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