Setting Client Communication Expectations Image

Setting Client Communication Expectations


by James Porter, RECA Investigations Manager

A common issue brought to RECA’s investigations department is from clients who believe their licensee has failed to relay important information. Whether information is not communicated promptly, or key details were missing, it can be frustrating for clients to feel like they are not getting the specifics they need.

Often, we see this issue arise in client/licensee property management relationships or between residential real estate licensees and their buyers or sellers, yet all industries RECA regulates can be subject to communication breakdowns.

When deals are happening at a quick pace—such as the multiple offer situations we are seeing in Alberta’s booming real estate market—it may seem easier to proceed quickly or with less detail, in favour of getting the job done swiftly. However, this is rarely the case. The faster the transaction, the more need for detailed information to be shared in a prompt and succinct manner.

Licensees should avoid cutting corners when it comes to communicating the details. Purchasing and financing a home, managing a rental property, or navigating the rules of a condominium corporation can involve large sums of money, complex rules, and legal regulations. Your clients need to be able to take comfort in the fact that their trusted licensee is passing on all the information they need to know in a way they can understand.

Tips to Improve Client Communication:

  • discuss client communication preferences beforehand—manage expectations in terms of their preferred method of communication, e.g., phone, email or text message, let them know what your working hours are, and how or if you will be responsive outside of those hours
  • always communicate any planned vacation or time away and let clients know who their main point of contact will be while you’re away
  • if dealing with multiple clients in the same contract (e.g., spouses, or business partners), establish whether all clients want to be included in communications, or if one is the designated contact person
  • important communication should be done in writing or followed-up in writing, in the case of phone calls
  • when communicating with clients via text message, don’t use shorthand messages.
  • for property management, establish beforehand what types of events property owners/renters wish to be kept informed about

No matter the communication method, make sure to explain things thoroughly and clearly so there is no ambiguity.

A happy, well-informed client who trusts their licensee is working in their best interest, leads to less stress and opportunity for disagreements and ultimately benefits all parties.

What strategies do you use to make sure your clients are well informed? Use the comment section below to share your tips!