The “will they, won’t they” of a first offer, the nervous wait for a completion date, the excitement of going to collect the keys. For homeowners, buying and selling a house can be quite the rollercoaster.
During one of life’s biggest, and arguably more costly, decisions, you need to know to you can depend on the estate agent to do everything they can to make the experience as smooth and stress- free as possible. Estate agents have been tarnished with a less-than-kind reputation in the past, and it’s time they started turning to their customers to tell the real story.
Let’s take a look at how this is being done and the impact customer reviews are having on the industry.
Painting the bigger picture for vendors
Completion, completion, completion! For a lot of agencies, the end game is all that matters. But as we’ve already established, for vendors, selling a property is so much more; and it’s crucial that as an agent you understand the journey you take your customers on from start to finish.
Agencies have multiple customers, from sellers to landlords, each with their own expectations and story to tell; so why would you treat them all the same and ask for feedback in a similar way?
Asking the right people, at the right time, and in the right way, will give you a more complete picture of how your agency is performing. The variety of feedback you collect will not only give future vendors more confidence in your service, but also help you pinpoint aspects of your business that are excelling and worth promoting, or even identify areas that might need some home-improvements.
Understanding where your reviews come from
The UK government’s 2017 report, Research on Buying and Selling Homes, examines the many points where buyers and sellers feel short-changed and stresses the need for increased transparency.
It’s great that agencies are beginning to understand the important role customer feedback can play in being open with the public. The problem comes, however, when buyers and sellers start to doubt the validity of the reviews you’re offering up. Our latest consumer report found that 74% of consumers are worried about fake feedback. The answer? Use an invite-only platform, such as Feefo.
Collecting feedback by invitation-only means every review you get comes from a genuine customer. No picking and choosing who leaves you feedback, no fakes, just 100% authentic reviews from vendors that you and your future customers can rely on.
Taking the rough with the smooth
Not every vendor is going to have a nice story to tell – but guess what? That’s ok! 52% of people are actually suspicious of a company that doesn’t have any negative feedback. So, shying away or deliberately ignoring your unhappy customers could be doing more harm than good to your business.
Negative reviews are part and parcel of opening yourself up to scrutiny. It’s how you deal with, and learn from, what your more disgruntled customers have to say that will shape the effect it has on your brand. Also, if you don’t get them to tell you about it, then there’s plenty of other more public platforms they could turn to vent their frustrations.
Being seen to resolve issues quickly and publicly goes a long way towards not only repairing relationships with potentially unhappy vendors, but showing your agency cares about its customers and goes above and beyond to support vendors.
The rise of AI
If this all seems a little daunting, don’t sweat it. Artificial intelligence can do a lot of the hard work for you. When so many reviews are coming in, trawling through them all can be both time consuming and resource heavy. With a little help from AI, however, the latest sentiment analysis technology can automatically read your reviews for you and reveal how vendors are really feeling at every stage of the journey.
Whether one of your agents is constantly knocking it out the park, or your customer service team isn’t quite as quick as they should be, AI can pinpoint all of this and more, providing your business with rapid intelligence on overall performance. Helping you quickly iron out any difficulties or misunderstandings with vendors, while senior managers learn what they need to address in order to improve the overall customer experience.
Building a brighter future
Feefo is helping agencies put trust back into the property market, working with local and national businesses up and down the UK to make sure every vendor has their say, and agents and vendors alike are getting a truer reflection of the service on offer.
It’s important that estate agents continue to embrace customer feedback as a way of increasing transparency in the industry and work alongside trusted review providers to make sure homeowners have the best insights possible when choosing who to buy and sell their house with.