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Colorado Springs News 
Monday, September 16 2013

There are lots of businesses that tout superior customer service as part of their brand. I don’t know about you but most of the time I am disappointed when I have the opportunity to experience their “superior customer service”. What the upper echelon of management believes as their mantra doesn’t seem to filter down to the employees that their customers interact with. So it is my pleasure to share with you an account of superb customer service that I encountered recently at the local Kuni Lexus automobile dealership. 
I had decided to purchase a previously owned vehicle and had searched via internet to narrow down the choices. I needed to find a vehicle that would fit my needs for my business including a trunk large enough to hold a For Sale sign. I went to some of the largest dealerships in the city and met frustration head on. Most of the sales persons were more interested in selling me a car instead of listening to my wants and needs. I really felt I was nothing more than a dollar sign in their eyes and that they weren’t really interested in my needs. I didn’t feel I could recommend any of the dealerships I had visited.
I was just about resigned to give up my search when I decided to pull into the Lexus dealership. From the moment the salesman introduced himself to me, my experience changed dramatically. The salesman asked me questions and then listened as I answered his questions. He suggested a few vehicles within the dollar limit I had set. He was definitely knowledgeable about his product but he also seemed very interested in knowing more about me, what I would be using the car for and what I liked about the vehicle I was currently driving. It wasn’t long before I felt comfortable around him and began to trust his suggestions.
The salesman showed me a car that had just come on to the lot that he thought might work perfect for me. He went to get the key and pulled the car around the front of the dealership so I could take a good look at it. I was definitely impressed with the car but I asked if I could put my real estate sign in the trunk. I held my breath as we maneuvered the sign into the trunk. It was just about a half-inch too long. The salesman excused himself and soon came back with the owner of the dealership. The owner suggested that if I liked the car enough to purchase it, he would solve the problem by cutting a half-inch off my sign frames. All 25 of them!

The salesman had listened to my needs, established a relationship with me so that I would feel comfortable and trust him and then became my problem solver. There was no question-I purchased the car!
The service didn’t end there. The salesman took me around the dealership introducing me to the receptionist, the service manager, and the parts manager. Each person I came in contact with asked questions about my purchase and consistently validated that I had made an excellent choice. They knew their product and spoke highly of it. Each person thanked me for the purchase and shared that I could contact them if I ever needed anything. The message was consistent everywhere I went in the dealership. We value your business and we are here to serve you. 
I have been back to the Lexus dealership since I purchased the car and I have yet to be disappointed. The employees from the car wash technician to the service department employees have all been a delight to work with. The message is consistent and appears sincere- “the customer is valued and appreciated”. It doesn’t take much to make a customer feel valued. In my case it was a half inch. Every time you interact with a customer keep your message consistent and sincere from the person that answers the telephone all the way to the top management.   And remember, it may be something as little as a half inch that can win a client for life!

Posted by: Barbara Harris Team AT 01:12 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, September 13 2013

Simple affordable do-it-yourself projects can make your home more sellable in a competitive real estate market. If you are considering listing your home for sale or have had your home on the market but haven’t received an offer, here are some simple tips to make your home stand out.

1. Clean and Declutter. You may have heard this tip before but I can’t stress the importance of ridding your home clutter. You’ll be amazed how your home will sparkle by just removing personal items, decluttering kitchen and bath countertops, and organizing closets and shelves.

2. Light and Bright. Open your blinds, remove sheets and wash dirty smudged windows to let natural light in. If the room still appears dark, add some lamps or turn on overhead lighting when you are going to have a showing. Sometimes just adding a fresh coat of white or a neutral colored paint will brighten and make a room feel larger.

3. Staging. Rearranging your furniture in a room can make all the difference in the world! Remove bulky pieces, add some accessories and remove personal photos and collections.

4. Flooring. Remove small throw rugs from bathrooms and kitchens because they make the floor space appear smaller. Have your carpets cleaned by a professional carpet cleaner and if necessary have the carpets stretched. If you have wood floors that are dull or scratched, have the floors buffed and polished.

5. Update lighting. Replace dated or inadequate lighting fixtures with updated light fixtures and make sure to add increased bulb wattage to add brightness to you rooms and hallways.

6. Spruce Up Landscaping. Cut back overgrown shrubs and bushes so your home can be seen from the street and more natural light can filter in through the windows. Pull weeds and water the grass so it is nice and green.

Just a few simple tips that can help you sell your home quicker and get you a better price in today’s real estate market.


Posted by: Barbara Harris Team AT 01:10 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, September 12 2013

All of us wish to turn a house into a home, but what exactly does “home” mean to each of us? Does it describe a place that we return to at the end of the day? Is it the place we feel most comfortable in?  Must this place have a certain amount of personal memories in order to be called our “home”? As Realtors, we work closely with a buyer to help them find a ‘house’ that meets their needs. When does that ‘house’ become a ‘home’?

Strictly speaking, a house is made of walls, doors, windows and floors. All of these materials are cold and impersonal whether they take the form of a cozy bungalow or a stately mansion. Over the years, builders have filled fields and farmland with homes that mimic each other on the outside and share similar floor plans on the interior. And yet, when we show these ‘cookie cutter’ structures to prospective buyers, it never ceases to amaze us the different personality each one takes on. Bright cheery colors or earthy soothing hues express how we envision this place we call home. Some take on themes such as southwest, lodge, or mountain cabin. Others reflect changes in our lives like the newlyweds with hand-me-down furniture pieces that do not match or sparsely furnished when the turmoil of divorce invades the home. Some of us need to fill our homes with clutter and others want to streamline them with just the bare essentials. Is one more home than another? Is it the colors, the furnishings, or the bric-a-brac that makes it home or is there something more to making a house a home?

Close your eyes for a minute and think back to the first place you called home. Was it filled with love and laughter, a place where you felt safe to express yourself, a place you could come to when you felt sad or had a bad day? The first home I remember was a small two-bedroom ranch style home with one bath and no garage. It wasn’t different from the other homes on the street where we lived, at least not from outside appearances. Inside, was another matter. My mom had it decorated “elegantly” on my parents limited funds. A plate glass mirror adorned one wall of the living room while a shadow box that held the trinkets they treasured was proudly displayed on another wall. Inviting patterns of wallpaper welcomed friends into our country-sized kitchen that was filled with aromas of home cooked meals. I remember peeking through the crack between the wood floor of the living room and the linoleum of the kitchen to watch my dad as he decorated my birthday cake to look like a store bought cake. My brother and I had a big backyard to play cowboys and Indians with the neighborhood kids, catching lightening bugs in jars and playing red light, green light until the street lights came on and we all headed home to be tucked into bed. I remember singing and dancing in front of the mirror of my bedroom door with dreams that some day I would be a famous singer or dancer. I just knew I would be there was never any doubt.

As an adult, my view of home is different and yet the same. I look forward to going ‘home’ after a busy day at work because I know I will find comfort and familiarity when I step through the door. It represents a safe haven from the pressures and stresses of the outside world. My home reflects peacefulness, tranquility, and yet it still allows me a place to express myself and sets the stage for my dreams and aspirations.

Cultural anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson says that your home is a reflection of your life. A home is not defined by the structure or by income levels but by the people that fill it. Small or large, poor or wealthy, a house does not become a home until it is filled with people. Only then does it take on the personality that changes it from a house to a home.


Posted by: Barbara Harris Team AT 01:08 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

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