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Why do consumers need review sites of estate agents

13 March 2012

Why do consumers need review sites of estate agents - after all, if they're buying, it's the property they're after, irrespective of the agent, and if they're selling, they will look for other things – eg, the agent with the best local presence, or the agent who specialises in selling their particular type of property?

Consumers now more than ever are using review sites to make informed choices when purchasing products and services. One of the biggest fees someone is likely to pay for a service, is to an estate agent. They can feel more confident of receiving a good service if they read genuine reviews from past customers. Although consumers understand that estate agents have the interests of the Seller at heart because they are the ones who pay them, consumers that are buying still need to feel assured that the estate agent mediating the transaction has integrity and a sense of fairness. Good reviews from buyers indicate that the estate agent has a good customer service ethic. Estate agents are also aware that buyers could be their new sellers in the future.

2. Do you think lettings agents and review sites might, however, be a different proposition?
Letting Agents equally deliver a service to consumers however often over a longer period in general to an estate agent when they are involved in managing a property. Potential Landlords looking to instruct a good letting agent can feel encouraged by reading verified reviews from other Landlords. 
3. Do you think review sites for agents will really catch on?
The review culture is firmly in place. Sites like Trip Adviser, Top Table and Ebay are all established sites that focus on customer reviews and are embedded in many peoples decision making process. Progressing into the property industry is inevitable as people now have more and more access to the web via mobile phones, iPads and computers. As the consumer generation is fast becoming one that has information readily available it seems every industry will soon be self-regulated by customers.
4. Agents are concerned that reviews aren't genuine but put there by their competitors. What do you say to that?
Estate agents can feel assured that only their genuine customers are leaving reviews about them on agent-tracker via a verified system, the agent generates a unique password to their customers email address.
5. Other agents are embracing the idea of review sites, and encouraging their customers to participate. But since these are, almost inevitably, happy customers, is this really such a good idea?
Agents are asked to generate passwords at the start of the sales process. One of the questions for the 5 star rating is at which stage were you give the passcode; this ensures that “cherry picking” clients is eliminated.  Agents have a facility to reply to reviews and in the event of a poor review can compose a constructive response.    
6. There are a lot of review sites around at the moment – why www.agent tracker.co.uk?
We believe that Agent Tracker offers a completely different proposition to other sites. We work closely with agents and focus on promoting the good agencies willing to embrace transparency and giving their genuine customers the platform to rate their service. We do not focus on exposing bad agents; however hope that consumers will gain confidence in choosing an agent with good customer service ethics. Having a variety of review sites for agents sends a message that there is a real appetite for accessible information for consumer choice. Hopefully Estate Agents will come to realise that, by allowing customers an independent platform to rate them will give confidence to prospective customers and ultimately mean gaining more instructions. We don’t have a charging structure,  to have an enhanced profile on agent-tracker they need to stay at the top by having the most verified reviews
7. Any other comments?
Agent-tracker believes the majority of letting and estate agent do a good job for their customers.  Agent Tracker has a real passion to help change the public perception of the estate agency profession. We are currently working with many agents that have already won instructions by using our site. 
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