Did you receive a terrible online review from a buyer or seller?
Handle it like a pro by following these 3 simple steps!
REA GROUP RELEASE “AGENT RATINGS AND REVIEWS”
The juggernaut that is the REA Group recently expanded their services by launching an “Agent Ratings and Reviews” capability to their online platform. You might be wondering how this differs from Rate My Agent, the current industry leading website for agent reviews.
Let me explain. On RMA, buyers and sellers can only submit a review if the agent sends them a link. On the recently rolled out realestate.com.au platform, any buyer or seller involved in the sale of the listed property can submit their feedback directly on the website. It’s similar to the Google Reviews model, however, a team from realestate.com.au will confirm the authenticity of the review and provide an opportunity for the agent to respond before publishing.
Essentially with this model, there’s nowhere for real estate agents to hide. With RMA, traditionally an agent would only send a link to request a client review if they knew there was a good chance that particular client would write a favourable review. Hence why on RMA everyone comes up looking like a real estate superstar – you’ll be hard pressed to find an agent that rates below 4 stars. On the REA Group review platform however, any buyer or seller involved in the sale can click straight on the link under the agent profile to write a review.
You may have noticed a change to your online profile to include the review link:
HOW WILL THIS EFFECT REAL ESTATE AGENTS?
There’s been a lot of mixed feedback from agents regarding the new reviewing tool, however, there’s no denying that it will provide greater transparency across the industry. Because as we all know, everyone thinks real estate agents are dodgy.
Exhibit A: Take a look at Urban Dictionary’s definition of a real estate agent:
Now, unfortunately, as much as real estate agents all strive to deliver the best possible service and get their vendor’s as much money as they possibly can, sometimes this doesn’t always eventuate despite their best intentions.
Inevitably, a real estate agent is going to cop a bad review at some point. (I can guarantee when the hot water system fails a buyer 3 weeks after they move into the home you’ve just sold them, it’s the agent they’ll blame – not the building and pest inspector!)
So it’s important to ensure that if this happens, you respond in a quick and calm manner to demonstrate your professionalism and responsiveness to any potential vendors and buyers who may be reading them.
Below are 3 steps to follow should you ever receive a negative real estate agent review:
Note: The below tips are not restricted to the review function on realestate.com.au, but can be used to handle negative reviews on any platform whether it be Facebook, Google or Rate My Agent.
HANDLE A BAD REAL ESTATE REVIEW LIKE A PRO IN 3 EASY STEPS:
1. Check the legitimacy of the review.
Google is renowned for spammers who create fake reviews. If the reviewer was not a buyer or seller involved in the sale, then dispute this with the host whether it’s Google, Facebook or realestate.com.au. REA will investigate the legitimacy of the review and will remove the rating if it’s found to be a fake. You will need to provide evidence that the reviewer was not a buyer or seller of the property. A copy of the contract should do.
2. If it is a legitimate review, DO NOT IGNORE THE REVIEW.
Although this is an easier option, this will do nothing to alleviate the concerns of other potential vendors who may be scoping you out as their agent. It also demonstrates poor customer service on your behalf and silence is often interpreted as a sign of guilt. It’s like when you ask your kids which one of them drew on the wall with a permanent marker. The child who doesn’t answer is usually the culprit.
3. Respond to the review.
This is always going to be a delicate situation so here are some do’s and don’ts to consider when crafting your reply:
- Address the buyer/seller by their name if they have used it in the review
- Thank them for taking the time to write a review
- Keep the response brief and to the point. Look at the keywords they used in their review and use these in your reply. This will make them feel like you’ve directly acknowledged their concerns.
- Respond quickly and ensure your response is factual
- If there were any wrongdoings on your behalf, own up to it. Apologise and acknowledge that their feedback has been taken onboard
- Offer to discuss the situation with them further offline. It shows you care about fixing the problem
- Sign off with your name. This demonstrates that you, the agent, have personally responded to the review
- Never make excuses. No one wants to hear that the real estate agent is right. Refer to above Urban Dictionary definition. The public love a good real estate agent bashing!
- Do not use inappropriate language. Remain professional and don’t stoop to their level
- Avoid a long-winded response of who did this and who did what. It looks petty
Here’s an example:
Dear Mr Vendor,
Thank you for taking the time to write a review. I’m sorry to hear you weren’t 100% satisfied with the service you received from my team and I during the sale of your property. If you would like to discuss with me further the issue you had regarding “insert issue here” please feel free to get in touch.
Mr Superstar Sales Agent
The above example is simple and to the point. More than likely the reviewer won’t take you up on your offer to discuss further with you, but at least you’ve been able to demonstrate to any potential clients who may be reading the review that you are professional and responsive.
TIP: Always acknowledge a good review. Your client took the time to write it, it’s a nice touch to say thank you and show your appreciation.
Whether you like the idea of an online reviewing system or not, it looks like it’s here to stay. From the client’s point of view, this will be an excellent tool to weed out the good from the bad. If you’re a good and honest agent, hopefully a negative review will be few and far between. But if you do receive a bad one, the above tips will help you in crafting your response.
To read more about the REA review system, check out their handy blog “Agent Ratings and Reviews 101” for all the information you need.
Also, don’t forget to read up on my recent blog about saving client testimonials. Client testimonials are worth their weight in gold. It’s super important you don’t lose them should a website or Facebook unexpectedly roll out an update or worse, shut down altogether! Read it here.
For more copywriting and admin tips, check out my website www.writemyad.com.au or follow me on Instagram www.instagram.com/writemyad