Zillow is finally taking its re-imagined Premier Agent program nationwide and unveiling a platform where the “best” agents are rewarded — while those with poor customer reviews will be dropped from the platform entirely.
The Premier Agent customers who spoke with Inman applauded the changes.
“It makes a lot of sense for them, because of the extreme value in controlling and improving the customer experience,” Dan Sundberg, the director of people and culture at Kendrick Realty, told Inman.
Kendrick Realty has built a business around a big spend on lead generation tools like Zillow’s Premier Agent. Sundberg said the company’s business model is built around a similar goal of providing consumers a consistently excellent experience.
“To me that is a huge opportunity in real estate because there is so much variability in what happens once someone moves from the internet to the real world,” Sundberg said. “This is a great step for Zillow to get better control over the customer experience.”
Jackie Soto, a Realtor with Divergent Realty in California, is one of the early agents to earn her “Best of Zillow” badge. Her brokerage recently let someone go because of their subpar performance on Zillow.
“Unfortunately, her response rate and customer service wasn’t up to par for our team,” Soto wrote on Inman Coast to Coast. “We believe in rapid response rates and providing extreme value on that initial call. Today, I received a “Best of Zillow” badge. She did not.”
Parker Pemberton, a Realtor with the Pemberton Homes Team at eXp Realty and a member of Zillow’s agent advisory board also praised the move. Pemberton told Inman that nobody cares more about the client than Zillow.
“I can tell you from being inside board rooms they are obsessed with providing the client the best possible experience,” Pemberton said. “If agents can’t provide that level of service they will be replaced with ones that can, the days of accepting credit cards from virtually any agent that wants to try Zillow for six months are over.”
Pemberton said he specifically trains his team every week on techniques to pair with lead generation tools like Zillow’s Premier Agent.
Steve Crossland, a Realtor with the Crossland Real Estate team at Keller Williams Realty in Texas, also believes the move makes sense.
“It makes sense to give leads to closers, and not give leads to agents who, even if they buy them, don’t work them well,” Crossland wrote on Inman Coast to Coast.
D’Ann Faught, an associate broker and Realtor at City Chic Real Estate, believes the move will improve the quality of connections and in the long run make the leads that agents receive a higher quality. She has a number of questions, however.
“As someone who spends a decent amount of money on advertising with them, my concern lies in that the metrics have not been clearly communicated to Premier Agents,” Faught wrote on Coast to Coast. “Also, I have asked my sales rep about this, but have not gotten an answer back yet, I’m curious as to whether there is an ability to set off hours or, if we are expected to be available every single day. I know for a fact that I missed several connections calls last month when I was in Mexico for a wedding.”
Morgan Carey, the CEO of Real Estate Webmaster, may have put it the most succinctly.
“Do a great job, or get fired? Seems like it’s pretty reasonable to me,” Carey said on Coast to Coast. “Not all customers deserve to be customers. Brand’s have the right to protect their integrity.”
Zillow first announced the changes back in October 2018, dubbing the program, “Best of Zillow,” but now it’s finally rolling out nationwide and the company has announced more specific details.
Consumers will rate agents on three separate surveys, the first of which is administered 24 hours after agents connect with a customer. The second survey is given 15 days after an agent starts working with a customer, while the final survey is done 45 days after the parties have established a strong relationship, according to a blog post from Susan Daimler, Zillow’s senior vice president of the program.
Premier Agents who earn a score of 90 or higher on the surveys will be awarded a “Best of Zillow” badge on the site, meaning the agent went above and beyond for customers.
If an agent’s score drops below 73, they will be given a three-month period in which to improve that score, using tools and resources provided by Zillow to drive improvements. If the agent’s score does not go up, they will be dropped from Premier Agent.