In the week that review service, allAgents.co.uk announced they were suspending Purple Bricks' account due to repeated threats of legal action to remove negative reviews, we asked a number of clients past and present, just how important are online reviews?
Since 2006 with 300,000 reviews, allAgents.co.uk is the UK’s largest independent customer review website for estate agents, letting agents and suppliers to the industry.They offer customers the chance to search for Estate Agents up and down the country with an unbiased view of what their previous clients have said about them. From here, you can also compare selling fees and view league tables but how much of an impact does reviews have on making your decision?
In a world, completely dedicated and besotted by social media, whether it be Facebook, Google or Youtube, you usually can't breathe without someone taking a selfie, tagging you into a comment or tweeting a review of the restaurant they frequented a few weeks back. Just ten years ago, recommendations were from friends and family whom may have had a positive experience but in this day and age, you can search for independent reviews by complete strangers.
As the younger generation enter the property market, estate agents will be increasingly judged through online reviews. Yet trust in the reviews themselves is evidently very important to these savvy consumers. Estate agents should therefore consider ways to guarantee that legitimate and transparent reviews are readily available to potential customers.
Trust is a major factor for 28% of consumers when choosing an estate agent, with knowledge of the local market seen as the dominant factor by 42% of consumers when they have their properties valued. The value of trust is reflected strongly in the younger consumers’ preference of selecting an agent through its reviews, with 70% of 25-34-year-old clients relying on reviews when selecting an agent.
The research also reveals that consumers have more positive attitudes towards estate agents than commonly supposed, with 88% of consumers saying they were satisfied with the service they received from the last agent they used. However, paperwork was identified as a grievance that the largest proportion of customers (46%) would love to see technology sort out for them. Next on the list was reference-checking (36%), followed by booking appointments (34%).
When arranging a valuation or booking a viewing from ourselves, we always ask 'why us? How do you know about Space4Living? What's the reason for using us over a competitor?' Just this week, we have had a client arrange a valuation, and practically decide there and then that they will be using us. I asked the reason for this and he said he had a look at our reviews on both Google, Facebook and the Space4Living site and made a collective decision that we were the agents for him.
At Space4Living, we pride ourselves on reviews, both positive and negative. A positive review usually means a pat on the back, keep up the good work but a negative review is equally important - how can you improve otherwise?
Is there really no such thing as bad publicity?
Sources include - www.propertyreporter.co.uk, Estate Agent Today