Like many people these days I rarely make a significant purchase without first checking out online reviews.
Whether it’s for a holiday, a night in a hotel, a day out, a restaurant booking, furniture, an item of clothing, toys – you name it, I’m keen to know what others think before I commit.
When it comes to buying and selling homes then, it should come as no surprise that agent-rating websites are emerging as a tool aimed at helping people choose the right one for them.
While customers will no doubt welcome this opportunity to compare and contrast, it appears that this growing trend has met with a very mixed reaction from agents themselves.
At Moneypenny we know that a significant number of our clients come to us via word-of-mouth recommendation or having read reviews from others on consumer review site Trustpilot.
It’s something we keep an eye on as it’s a useful, and hopefully honest indicator of how people feel about our business. For estate and letting agents this kind of activity should be seen as an opportunity – an opportunity to show just how you WOW your clients.
We all know that clients have high expectations and demand the very best when it comes to service, and it’s a fact that some will be quick to make unfavourable comments should they be dissatisfied. But they will also let people know when they’re happy.
With this in mind, it’s to be hoped that by rating performance, these websites will encourage agents to really think about the way they are delivering their service - introducing elements that will help to build satisfaction, trust and confidence in their offer.
We’ve said it many times here at Moneypenny and firmly believe that any business won’t go far wrong if its staff stick to the old adage of `treating others as you would wish to be treated yourself.’
It’s an incredibly simple philosophy but it guides all we do and helps us to focus on the client and what they need and want. So often it’s the little things that make the biggest difference and clients will be impressed with the added touches, going the extra mile and the attention to detail that set the best agents apart from the rest.
Crucially, they will be keen to share these anecdotes and feelings on review sites too – all helping to build a strong reputation for those classed as great to do business with.
With agents now under scrutiny like never before, it’s more important than ever to be delivering the `A’ game. Competition is steep and for those not cutting the mustard, there will be nowhere to hide.
Mal McCallion, CEO of review website raterAgent explains what customer are looking for in an agent: “Overall, we have found that clients just want an agent to live up to their expectations – a professional, helpful and friendly service every time, all the time. Those agents that can prove their quality of service in these areas, via sites like ours, will win more clients at higher fee rates.”
“We are moving the industry conversation away from just price to bring the importance of customer service into much sharper focus. Placing this kind of market intelligence on the table helps people make better decisions that work for them, whether they are buying, selling or letting.”
So, there’s lots at stake when it comes to impressing clients. But let’s face it, if doing this is an effort, there’s something wrong. Delivering a first-rate WOW service should be the norm in everything we as businesses do, not forced or contrived to win votes.
It should be embedded instinctively, almost unconsciously as part of an authentic, straight-forward business consistently putting clients at the heart of what it does.
*Samantha Jones is Commercial Manager of Corporate and Property at telephone answering specialist Moneypenny