NEW YORK – Feb. 6, 2014 – Despite real estate agents’ concerns about online reviews, they’re here to stay – and there are several ways that agents can use these reviews to build their brand.
Word-of-mouth recommendations from family and friends remain the most important influencer, but consumers increasingly take online reviews into consideration.
“Having positive things said about you, whether via third-party sites, social media circles or in-person, is the best way to communicate your value,” according to Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate President and CEO Sherry Chris.
Reviews also can be used to generate more leads. Zillow’s Greg Schwartz says agents with five or more reviews on the site see a three-fold increase in contacts compared to agents without reviews.
But can reviews be trusted? It’s a major concern for sites that allow them. Zillow says it monitors for fake and inappropriate reviews, and Trulia lets agents filter out negative feedback.
Some firms allow agents to opt in to reviews; but if they do, they cannot pick and choose which clients to solicit for feedback or prevent negative feedback from being posted.
For brokers, online ratings can encourage their agents to provide better customer service.
“If agents know they’re going to be graded and reported, they’ll do a better job and try to ‘wow’ people with incredible customer service,” says NM Management CEO Todd Hetherington.
Source: RISMedia (01/08/14) Nelson, Reva
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