Olé! Ebby’s Alan Hopper Puts Clients on the Rocks – With Salt!

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Alan Hopper with Ebby Halliday Preston Center
Alan Hopper with Ebby Halliday Preston Center

Alan Hopper knows that he’s in the customer service biz. In addition to regular email and written communications, clients are treated to quarterly get-togethers. For four years he’s been treating buyers and prospects to a Frisco Roughriders baseball game that attracts over 100 attendees. Personally, I’m no sports fan so I’ve not run up to Dr Pepper Ballpark for the festivities.

However the same can’t be said of some of his other events like wine bottling (although I’m more of a fan of wine coming out of bottles) and his annual Thanksgiving Pie party. Last evening was his second Margaritas and Mex bash at Mattito’s on Oaklawn Avenue. It’s only the second year because … well, Mattito’s only opened 2 years ago.

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The crowd of about 30 all had Alan in common, but we also got to know each other. Although, because so many of Alan’s clients are referrals, it was more a measure of how many degrees of separation there were between attendees. Oh, and then there’s the swag bags! Last year’s included some Halloween candy that became hotly traded between the chocolate and non-chocolate fans.

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Alan’s been in real estate for 14 years and doesn’t specialize in certain areas. Instead, his business is based on referrals (his tagline is, “I’m never too busy for your referrals”) and wherever clients want to settle down, he’s there to help. Now of course there are limits to an agent’s ability to add value to a transaction. If a referral wanted a home outside the Metroplex, he’s the first one to say he’s not the best choice for Mineral Wells relocations.

Even Folks in German Costume like a good Margarita!
Even Folks in German Costume like a good Margarita!

All in all, a good time was had by all and stronger relationship bonds were made, and who knows, a few dates may have been made. But not all businesses take customer service to seriously.

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And then there’s American Airlines
This summer, I surpassed 2 million miles in the American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flyer program. After spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, how did American mark the occasion?

First, nothing on the flight itself. No free drink or bag of peanuts. I guess in this digital age, acknowledgement is too complex for a business who used to say, “Doing what we do best.” Secondly, after the flight, I fought and still fight with American to credit the miles for all the segments of the trip. Of course this stupidity is amazing considering I booked the ticket on their website and they surely have records of my being on the flights. Another old slogan said, “We know why you fly,” but I guess they can’t keep track of when and where its customer fly. Two weeks ago I was actually asked to email copies of the boarding passes … does TSA and Homeland Security know how poor their record-keeping is?

Once enough miles were finally recognized, I got a “congratulations” email (no cost for American). A couple of weeks later I received a rather plain, postcard sized envelope that contained some “thank you” verbiage along with two luggage tags and an ID card glued to the other side (which may have cost $2). Trust me, we’ve all gotten snazzier mailings from credit card companies.

Their current slogan is “Going for Great.” I’m not exactly sure where they’re “going,” but I’d suggest a U-turn.

American Airlines should take a page from Alan Hopper’s customer service guidebook. He goes out of his way to make clients feel special even though it’s likely years between purchases, unlike American Airlines who I’ve flown three times since turning 2-million. More fool me.

If He Can Put up With Me
But enough of my woe, if you need some real estate help, give Alan Hopper a jingle … especially if you like baseball, pies, margaritas and wine!

And he surely gets points for dealing with me as a client … as you imagine, I wasn’t the simplest. For every high-rise I looked at, I asked for the complete MLS sales data going back as many years as possible. I took all the data on sales history, listing prices, selling prices, days on market, and renovation level (gleaned from the listing pictures) and floated it into a spreadsheet. This allowed me to create a data table that gave me a way to compare pre-recession pricing against the then current pricing. This gave me a little crystal ball about how far a building’s value had fallen and how much I could expect it to rebound. It was very handy for me, but I’m sure Alan is still suffering the effects 3 years later.

Remember: Do you have an HOA story to tell? A little high-rise history? Realtors, want to feature a listing in need of renovation or one that’s complete with flying colors? How about hosting a Candy’s Dirt Staff Meeting? Shoot Jon an email. Marriage proposals accepted (they’re legal)! sharewithjon@candysdirt.com

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Jon Anderson

Jon Anderson is CandysDirt.com's condo/HOA and developer columnist, but also covers second home trends on SecondShelters.com. An award-winning columnist, Jon has earned silver and bronze awards for his columns from the National Association of Real Estate Editors in both 2016, 2017 and 2018. When he isn't in Hawaii, Jon enjoys life in the sky in Dallas.

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