What I learnt this week: What estate agents can learn from healthcare #WILTW

This is the 40th #WILTW

This week we were guzumped on a house. It was pretty frustrating as we’d already started planning what our new home might look like and made provisional financial and legal arrangements.

The estate agents started with, “..we have bad news..” rather than “..we are sorry.” This may seem incredibly petty to dwell on but the ramifications of the phraseology have become more obvious as time has gone on. The estate agents said they had technically done nothing wrong and were under a legal obligation to the sellers to inform them of all offers. They seemed affronted when we didn’t appear very charitable about this.

Monopoly Board

I suspect others have been in similar situations. I feel Estate Agents are failing to recognise that it is not the legal aspect people get frustrated about, it is the principle. Its about doing something which is, and this may be overstating it, morally right. Yes you can gazump, yes your estate agent has technically done no wrong, yes they will get a slightly bigger commission, but no they have demonstrated little in the way of a shared value of respect.

In health care patients want to hear you are sorry, not that the mistake was a long term system issue which has yet to be resolved. While it is virtually impossible to compare a public funded health care system with a financially motivated real estate trading model, honest apologies and a value-based operational system are important in both. The increasing privatisation of  health care in the UK comes with the danger of the health system doing things ‘by the book’ rather than for the best. I hate to think patients would ever be ‘guzumped’ for a more financially profitable one.

What did you learn this week? #WILTW


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