Guiding the way to new beginnings
We invest so much of our identity in the place we call home, so it’s no wonder the decision to move into a new one can overwhelm even the coolest heads with more questions than answers. But it doesn’t have to when Frasers Property’s dedicated Customer Care team are on hand to help. Live proud magazine caught up with three of Frasers Property’s Customer Care Managers who talked us through their special blend of personalised care and can-do solutions.
Placemaking is as much about the people who will live there as it is about the built environment created for them to live in. It’s no surprise, then, that for many of us the pathway to a new home comes paved with a complex range of emotions. Beneath the heady mix of hopes and dreams about fresh starts and new horizons often lurks anxiety about change, self-doubt about decisions and fear of the unknown. It’s an emotional cocktail that packs a punch and ranks moving house at number three of life’s most stressful events – after death and divorce.
But for Frasers Property’s Customer Care team the art of smoothing life’s ripples is all in a day’s work.
Frasers Property’s culture of care and attention to detail – by people, for people – is at the very core of the service the Customer Care team offer. It not only sets Frasers Property apart from its competitors, it also lays the foundations for real and enduring connections for all who choose to call a Frasers Property community home.
From exchange of contract, Frasers Property’s Customer Care Managers are there at every step, keeping customers updated through construction, navigating them through the excitement of final inspection and standing by as the hurdles of settlement are cleared. Frasers Property’s individually tailored service continues not only until the day each customer moves into their newly built home or apartment, but beyond.
It’s the human touch that no algorithm will ever replicate
According to Queensland's Customer Care Manager Tara Williams, while no two days are the same, her end goal remains constant: to make sure that her customers’ dealings with Frasers Property Australia are second to none. “We’re in the business of helping people, so our role depends on the individual needs of each customer”, says Tara. “We’re all about peace of mind, reassurance and problem solving. We’re there to hold their hand and support them in whatever they need.”
“It’s about being responsive”, elaborates Tara, “it’s about being the person that answers every time they call. It’s about being respectful, understanding and empathetic, and being upfront. It’s also about giving them the answers and just being truthful. People really respect that.”
Retiring couples – many of whom are new to apartment living – particularly welcome the service provided by Customer Care, says Western Australia's Customer Care Manager Fiona Johnson, recalling a recent customer overwhelmed by the stress of buying a property and what needed to be done.
“She had a lot of issues and didn’t know where to start with removalists and how to manage that because for a lot of our customers downsizing is a massive change”, says Fiona. “There can be huge stresses in getting rid of things they’ve accumulated over many, many years and how they’re going to manage that. I was able to reassure her that it’s okay – that’s what I’m here for. We’re here to help take that stress away and make sure the financial side, the settlement, the move in and everything around that is as easy as possible. By the end of our meeting she said, ‘this is just so much fun,’ and now she’s looking forward to moving in.”
“There’s another newly retired couple I’ve moved into one of our communities, which is located three hours away from their friends and their old community”, continues Fiona. “But when I visited them last week it’s as though they’ve been living there for years. All of those initial stresses have gone and they just couldn’t be happier. So it’s just really lovely to be part of these beautiful stories with our residents.”
Uniquely, Frasers Property’s attention to their customers doesn’t end at settlement, as Fiona explains. “We are with our customers from exchange of their contract, and then nurture them through to settlement and beyond. It continues for as long as they need us, really”, says Fiona. “When I hand over the keys, I make it quite clear to them that the relationship is ongoing, that although you’ve settled and you have ownership of your property, I’m still here for you.”
“The beautiful thing with our job is it’s a longer-term relationship than the sales cycle”, adds Tara. “We have months during the construction phase of having those great conversations and getting to know our customers. They’ll give you insights into their lives and you find out what’s important to them, which in turn presents opportunities where we can really shine and make their lives a lot easier.”
In some cases, the bonds between Customer Care team members and the residents they assist endure over many years. For many customers, this provides an added level of reassurance long after they move into their new home or apartment, Tara points out. “We talk to people that have been in their properties for seven years or even ten years later – we don’t go anywhere.”
Helping Australians achieve their dreams
Helping people navigate their way through what is a life-changing moment brings its own reward, says Victoria's Customer Care Manager Lunise Agosta. “You never get tired of congratulating someone on realising their dreams of purchasing a house or having a block of land to build a home on.” As Victorian Customer Care Manager, Lunise makes it her priority to ensure that each customer’s journey after signing their contract is as smooth and enjoyable as possible. Though she admits that dealing with the issues facing some customers can be stressful, “on the other side of the coin, we are also there with them during extremely happy moments like handing over the keys.”
Fiona is particularly inspired by the property story of a young customer who bought her first apartment through Frasers Property in her early 20s with the help of Western Australia’s shared equity scheme. Recently that same customer, now in her early 30s, bought a new apartment – again, through Frasers Property – and is now in a position to sell the shared equity property and financially stand on her own two feet. “It’s just a lovely example of the power of property and how it can change your life”, says Fiona. “Property has been that leg up for her. And now she has her own bricks and mortar, which I just think is quite incredible at such a young age and so early on in her life.”
A steady hand in challenging times
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought new challenges for all Australians. It has particularly impacted the construction industry, adding an extra layer of pressure to an already time-sensitive sector and stress testing the agility and quick thinking of Frasers Property’s Customer Care teams.
As customers grappled with the real-life consequences of significant delays, the Queensland team seized the opportunity to rise to the challenge, says Tara. “The pandemic led to a shortage of trades and supplies and that had an impact on building. In some cases, people who thought they’d be moving into their home within a certain timeframe would find themselves without somewhere to live. Because I’m there with them for the journey, I was able to help them find a rental property to live in while they waited until their property was finished.
“As a team, we’ve been able to provide these solutions and great outcomes for our customers, which has been great. I think that’s something Frasers Property have done really well.”
Overseas customers prevented from travelling to Australia for pre-settlement, required a different level of attention during lockdowns which saw the Customer Care team pivot towards virtual service delivery. “We did a lot of virtual pre-settlement inspections and video calls”, says Tara, “trying to get customers feeling as connected as possible with their property, without them actually physically being there. We’re the eyes on the ground for them, so those customer relationships have never been more important – they trust you when you’re delivering good news and they trust you when you’re delivering the bad.”
Communication, adds Lunise, is key to the Customer Care role and never more so than when navigating customers through the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Frasers Property work very closely with our builder partners to try and minimise the effect that COVID-19 has on our customers’ experience, but at the end of the day, the construction industry is not immune”, says Lunise. “We work diligently with our partners to ensure that everything gets done as soon as possible, but sometimes things will take longer, so it’s all about communication with our customers.”
One thing that remains consistent, however, is Frasers Property’s customer-first approach
“People have tough times with banks, brokers and getting their financing”, says Lunise, “but Frasers Property actually considers the customer before the bottom line. It’s refreshing because not all developers are like that, but we can actually say to a customer, ‘we understand the predicament you’re in,’ and work with them to provide a solution. Frasers Property puts its customers first in every sense of the word. And that makes my job very, very easy”.