Have you ever taken the time to evaluate the five-star agent reviews online? If not, look at your clients’ responses, and then ask, did I deliver beyond the simple basics that my job requires?
Jeff Turner, in his session at Agent Connect at ICNY, made two very powerful assertions.
First, agent reviews on sites such as Zillow do little to help a consumer decide which agent would be best to market their home. Here’s why.
I checked the five-star agents for my ZIP code on Zillow and found that out of 263 agents with reviews, only one agent had a four-star review. What was even more telling, however, were the comments that earned these “five-star” reviews.
- “Sally Agent did a fantastic job showing us houses and providing valuable information on the area. We found a lake house we love and are so happy to have worked with her!”
- “My wife and I were moving from our first house, so this was our first time selling a house. Sally was very helpful with tips on how to prepare the house for showing and had quick responses and sound advice whenever we had a question.”
- “Sally is very professional and knowledgeable. She works very hard. She helped us to find the house we purchased within four days and was on top of all the details until the deal closed.”
- “She is always looking out for our best interests! She responds to questions in a timely manner and was super helpful.”
Are these activities really worthy of a five-star review, or are they merely the minimum requirements to meet the agent’s fiduciary duty to their client?
Besides, as Turner rightly observed, who really goes to Zillow to search for an agent in the first place? Instead, consumers use sites such as Zillow to confirm a choice, not to identify the choice.
The challenge with written reviews
A simple way to make your reviews stand out is to shoot a video. Capture the buyers’ full range of emotion as they open their front door for the first time.
Unlike words on a page, the video captures the excitement in their voices, the big smiles on their face, and when they say thank you, the enthusiasm and gratitude toward you for helping them.
Moving from ho-hum to concierge level service and beyond
When I worked at Jon Douglas Company, we pioneered the first “concierge” level service in the country, which was later adopted by other brands. We rolled the program out one office at a time because we wanted a list of the best local service professionals based upon our agents’ experience.
Our concierge service also changed the client’s address and took care of transferring their utilities.
Today, you can compile your own list of trusted service professionals or use HomeAdvisor to locate vetted local service professions. There are also services that handle transferring utilities and doing address changes.
From five-star to seven-star
At Agent Connect, Jay O’Brien, co-owner and managing partner, Re/Max Prestige, delivered a fascinating session called: “Delivering 7-Star Service in a 3-Star Environment.”
Here’s his formula for delivering a “seven-star” customer experience:
- When his clients sign the contract, he drops off a bottle of their favorite wine with a note that says, “The hard work is over. Kick back, and enjoy.”
- Several weeks before closing, he sends his clients a moving kit that includes boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap and the other tools they will need to pack.
- Several days before closing, he sends them a “moving day” package that has specific instructions that say, “Do not put this package on the moving van.” Included in the package are paper towels, sponges, toilet paper, scissors, plus snacks and water that they often forget the day of the move.
- He arranges for the utility transfer and mail forwarding.
- On moving day, he sends his clients lunch.
- About a week after closing, he has his gardener provide his clients with a complete lawn service.
- The following week, he sends out his handyman to repair any little items that may have been missed on the inspection or that were damaged during the move.
- He also sends a “mobile carwash” to clean up each of their vehicles after the move.
- Once his clients are settled, he sets up a beautiful thank you dinner for his clients that includes being picked up by a high-end Uber vehicle.
- O’Brien also sends out practical gifts at least once a quarter. For example, he sends out a new brush to clean the barbecue grill each spring because the old one from last summer is usually worn out.
- O’Brien throws at least one major client appreciation event each year.
- For married couples, he does a friendly reminder call when there is an upcoming anniversary.
- Other things you could do include identifying any rebates that may be available and obtaining coupons from local vendors that can include home improvement stores, dry-cleaners, car wash and other services. Many times, gardeners and other service providers will do their first service for free or for a low cost with the idea of picking up that client.
According to O’Brien, you may think this is expensive, but the rave reviews you receive are a major lead generator. Furthermore, the cost is about the same as all that print marketing you’re doing or those internet leads you are buying.
The constant contact post-closing also assures that you will stay top-of-mind the next time they decide to transact or have a referral.
As you consider the level of service that you offer for your clients, how many stars do you truly deserve?
Bernice Ross, President and CEO of BrokerageUP (brokerageup.com) and RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles. Learn about her broker/manager training programs designed for women, by women, at BrokerageUp.com and her new agent sales training at RealEstateCoach.com/newagent.