- Far too many business owners over-react to negative feedback. Unless handled terribly, a few bad reviews have never led to a company collapsing.
- More websites are emerging to rank and review real estate agents against one another. Some sites may favor advertisers.
- The best policy in all cases of negative public criticism is honesty.
Have suggestions for products that you’d like to see reviewed by our real estate technology expert? Email Craig Rowe.
A few years ago on a trip into the Grand Canyon, a 21-year-old guest asked why the company I work for didn’t have any YouTube videos about its trips.
“That’s the first thing I look for, so I wasn’t sure we were going to book with you. But then I went to Yelp…. ”
Reviews help consumers judge quality
As Teke Wiggin pointed out in this article, more consumers — especially millennials — use the Internet’s array of rating websites and apps to judge the quality of everything from India pale ales (Untapped) to Cohen Brothers’ films (rottentomatoes.com).
The latter has become a powerful influencer in the $40 billion dollar global movie industry.
How long will it be before a website has similar pull on the real estate industry? (Zillow doesn’t count.)
Rankmyagent.com is working toward that goal.
Reach150 helps agents use testimonials as a platform for proactive marketing campaigns. RealSatisfied does the same and recently announced a partnership with Spacio, a popular open-house automation application.
Realtor.com will begin curating customer feedback into agent profiles from several online sources.
The upshot for realtor.com is that it will have that much more content to help consumers make real estate decisions. Agents do stand to benefit, however.
Provided the reviews are positive.
The Internet is a place where meritless rage can rise to the top of a feedback forum like foam from a fresh tap.
Reach150 and RealSatisfied are both driven by the desire to share positive feedback with potential customers, as any business should.
However, our businesses live on the Internet, a place where meritless rage can rise to the top of a feedback forum like foam from a fresh tap.
How should agents handle it?
Is it fair to the consumer to delete it?
To what extent should real estate agents sacrifice transparency for the benefit of marketing?
Many hate-filled rants about customer service are so egregiously unwarranted that the only response is to delete it. Or laugh it off and move on.
The Internet holds petabytes of proof that many people are well beyond rational discussion.
There are cases, though, where a negative review could very much be truthful and well-documented. We all screw up sometimes.
Bad reviews are often a terrific opportunity to earn new customers — or at least give the disenchanted a reason to reconsider.
It’s important to remember that you’ll never lose by being honest, especially when you’re wrong.
When the fish is already in the cooler, you have no choice but to tote it back to the dock, slap it on the cleaning table, and let the innards fall where they may.
You’ll never lose by being honest, especially when you’re wrong.
If you missed an important email that delayed a closing and the seller shared that in a fair, cogent online review, an agent’s best course of action is to own it.
“Yes, it was my fault your closing was delayed, and your frustration is justified. Please know this is the only time this has happened and I’ve installed multiple safeguards to prevent it from happening again. If you have further concerns and feedback about my services, I’m interested in hearing it. It will make be a better agent. Thank you.”
3 things to remember when faced with a bad review
When faced with a bad review from a customer, remember these three things:
1. The Internet loves honesty.
This is why Snopes.com is so popular. The faster a silly Facebook news meme can be ripped asunder by the truth, the sooner we can get back to reminding our relatives that we’ve already seen it on Imgur.
Point is, be upfront and honest. Nothing shortens the life span of a bad review faster than an honest response.
2. You’ll never win a fight with the Internet.
Again, the Internet knows who’s being honest. If a ticked-off customer is ranting merely for the sake of being vindictive, your supporters will call him or her out.
However, if you react emotionally to a bad review, you’ll land like a grape in a wine press. Don’t respond right away.
Let the insults and untruths sit a day. Gather your thoughts. Consider typing a response in a separate email to express your anger, then deleting it.
3. Defend your brand.
When the situation does arise for you to prove it really was the customer’s fault, do so factually and directly.
Have your facts straight when you respond, and request a response to your facts. This more often than not reveals the reviewer’s opinion as unmitigated conjecture.
Far be it from me to advise against interjecting some witty sarcasm, but this takes a delicate hand. Use too much, and you give doubters a reason to judge.
Don’t base your book of business on reviews
Despite all your efforts to put on a good Internet face, there will always be those who fear overly positive reviews are somehow nefarious or bloated.
I think it’s best to not base your book of business off of what people say about you online. Prove your mettle in the marketplace. Then let it tell your story organically.
Use your reviews as support for your services, not its platform.
Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe.