Prudential California Realty, a HomeServices of America subsidiary that has about 4,600 sales associates and 82 offices in Southern and Central California, is testing out new tools that are intended to aid its agents in monitoring online consumer feedback.

Agent Scoreboard, a company that offers customer feedback and tracking tools for the real estate industry, announced that Prudential California Realty will engage in a pilot program using its Brand Guard product. The company describes Brand Guard as “a client feedback reporting system that will allow the (brokerage) company to collect and view client feedback across the entire organization in real-time.”

Agee said the testing program represents an effort to “preempt the eventual flood of user-generated content that is going to come out on the Internet” and to prepare agents to solicit Web feedback from their clients.

Using brokerage company-supplied information on closed transactions, Agent Scoreboard will work to gather client responses about those transactions, Agee said.

Agent Scoreboard will not delete any comments, as long as those comments are not libelous or profane, Agee said. The site has a dispute resolution process, too, and does not allow anonymous postings. Unverified comments are labeled as a comment rather than an actual verified rating.

While some user-feedback sites use a scale such as star ratings, he said, “We felt any kind of subjective star rating was just a little too ambiguous. We understand that selling a house is very different from selling a pizza.” Instead, the site is using a system that asks clients whether their experience with the Prudential agent was positive, negative or neutral, and also asks what was positive, negative or neutral about the experience and whether they would recommend the agent to somebody else.

Consumers may not share the same views about what constitutes five-star service, and Agee said most consumers can easily identify whether they had a positive or negative experience with an agent.

The Brand Guard tool launched by Agent Scoreboard will assist agents in responding to negative consumer feedback received through the Agent Scoreboard site, he said. “It allows people at the brand, office management and corporate level of the brokerage office to be alerted when anybody in their organization gets a negative review,” and to “start taking steps to repair whatever customer experience that was.”

Companies can set different alerts to fire off e-mails to specific people when a negative or neutral comment is received, Agee said.

There were about 3,000 agents who registered at the Agent Scoreboard site prior to the agreement with Prudential, which is expected to add several hundred agents during the pilot phase, he also said. The site is focused on California at this time, with a goal to keep its list of active agents updated.

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