I recently found myself, once again, away from home at—yet another—appraisal conference. Unfortunately on this trip however, I found myself not feeling well. This was different than the normal flu or cold. However, I am stubborn (hey, I’m a guy) and did not want to see a doctor or the inside of an emergency room if I could wait.
My wife is quite knowledgeable in all aspects of health, so I petitioned her for advice via the text line (she did not come with me as usual). Much to my chagrin, her expert opinion was to hit the ER. This was not what I wanted to hear and decided to wait another day and see if things cleared up. They didn’t and I checked myself in the next morning. Sometime in the afternoon, I got this text from my wife, “How is my man today?” In response, I sent her this picture of my incredibly manly (and somewhat hairy) arm.
As you can imagine, she was not amused. Her rebuke was quick and stinging, “Dust (that is what she calls me when I’m in trouble), why didn’t you let me know!?!?!?” Can you tell she was not happy with me?
Let her know what? She was 800 miles away! Why would it make any difference that I let her know that I decided to follow her advice and go into the hospital? Wives who are reading this are screaming at the computer screen right now. Husbands are nodding their heads in an understanding manner.
Needless to say, she had a point. I guess I could have sent her a quick text on the way to the ER letting her know I was headed in. It would have avoided much explaining later.
This experience is not unlike some we might have with our clients every single day. I hear it often from my fellow appraisers, “Why won’t these damn AMCs just leave me alone? I get so many calls and emails wondering when the inspection and final report will be turned in that I don’t even have time to do the appraisal!”
Now certainly, there are some annoying messages sent to us from our clients. I will be the first to admit that. However, I know personally that much of this hassle could be avoided in the first place by just keeping them informed up front. In our office, we have the following procedures:
- When a new engagement letter is accepted, immediately attempt to set up the appointment and update the client (whether or not the appointment was successfully scheduled).
- Once the inspection is complete, update the client and inform them when the final report will be completed.
- If there are any delays or changes, communicate with the client immediately.
These rules seem like common sense, but it would surprise you how many appraisers do not follow through with them. Yet, we complain that we are constantly berated with requests for an update.
Now, I am not naïve. I realize that there will still be those annoying clients who bother you whether or not you update them. My question in those cases is simply, why the hell do you continue to work for clients like that? I do not mind an annoying, repeat phone call or email once in a while, but if a company is so inept that your efforts to update them constantly falls on deaf ears, FIRE THEM!
In the end, the hospital stay was short and it turned out to be nothing. Well, that is not quite true. It turned out to be very, very expensive, but the health scare was nothing. My wife felt badly for my situation and was quick to forgive me for my lack of communication. Let’s hope your clients will be as forgiving to you. Better yet, let’s avoid the problem all together and just keep our clients in the loop.
Dustin Harris, Creating ‘Value’ for Real Estate Appraisers