Ranking real estate agents

David Parmet, in a recent interview, talked about how Stormhoek winery and English Cut custom tailoring used social media strategies to promote their new products and brands: Stormhoek blog and English Cut blog. Both brands have a bit a Kula in them.

The salient part of Parmet’s insight lies in his admonition to brands everywhere to embrace social media as a consumer engagement tool. He cites an example of hoteliers griping about Tripadvisor exposing service failures at their respective establishments. Parmet advised these service providers to embrace the brutal feedback, make the required changes (if valid), and then openly engage these “gripers” in the Tripadvisor forum. Nine times out of ten, he says, consumers will respect these efforts and turn into brand evangelists.

Real estate firms can use these same strategies to promote their brands, particularly around luxury or otherwise unique properties or locations, as well as their unique service value propositions. This said, why don’t real estate firms do the same as Tripadvisor? Homthinking, of course, already does this. But what if a real estate firm allowed consumers to openly rank its own agents. Not only would this be a PR-worthy event, but it would certainly elevate the service level of the agent base within the firm.

 How many agents would leave the firm because of this? Who knows. A more interesting question is how many would stay with the firm? Likely those who are confident in their own abilities, knowledge, and skills; basically, the weak flee while the strong remain. Who ultimately wins? The consumer. And if the consumer wins, chances are high that the consumer’s loyalty will remain with the firm that has the most transparency and the strongest agents.

2 Comments

  1. Witch Girl says:

    I love this, although I can understand why many agents would not and why my company would not embrace it today.
    Unfortunately, this site needs some serious work in order to be truly useful to a consumer. Some better search capabilities would be very helpful – just having the ones in place up and functioning would be great.
    A tool like this puts greater pressure on the real estate world to perform. Once an industry that rested on it’s ability to control information as its means of value to the consumer, the real estate industry must concentrate on what it really is – a service industry.
    A tool that allows the consumer to rate and comment on a particular agent/company presents information that cannot be controlled. Companies will fear what the consumer will post and consumers who typically blame the real estate agent in a difficult transaction regardless of fault will post some unpleasant things about even excellent agents.
    Like Trip Advisor, which I use frequently, consumers will learn to weed through the comments and apply common sense to what they see. If a hotel has several good comments, good photos and a few bad ones – it is obvious to me that the people who posted bad comments may have had a one-off experience or simply had other factors that negatively affected their trip. If there is only one comment and it is a bad one, I will look elsewhere for my accommodations.
    As this or other tools grow in popularity, it will benefit the industry to embrace this inevitable direction and encourage all customers to participate. Without such encouragement, only the irate consumers may be drawn to sharing her/his opinion.

  2. [...] These issues can be overcome. For instance, all clients who bought or sold a home with a firm’s agents could be contacted and asked to confidentially rate their experience with an agent. This, of course, is already done by many firms. Great. Firms just now have to ask clients to go to a webform, select their agent, and answer some questions. And instantly their feedback could be displayed on the firm’s website. And so long as not every agent gets an A+ rating on the firm’s website (i.e., there were some Cs and Ds and maybe some Fs) consumers would see that the firm’s rating system is honest. Finally, comments from an earlier post also address important issues. [...]

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