The process of renting, buying or selling a home can be quite stressful. As someone who has rented many properties in my lifetime (quite a number in a short period of time before I was fortunate enough to purchase my own home), I can attest to the stresses involved as a customer.
The most important thing for me was to receive a level of service and understanding of my needs from the agent, both as a renter, a purchaser and finally, a seller. There's a lot of competition for estate agencies, both for online agencies without physical locations and also local brick-and-mortar real estate stores. I've dealt with all different types.
Obviously, when looking for somewhere to rent, budget and location are important, but so is the reputation of the agency you're renting through. Online reviews are important because they let customers make an informed decision as to the expected level of service they'll received. Good reviews can make a real difference in whether an agency or individual gets my business.
Review collection for real estate agencies is therefore super important, because an online review score gives an overall indication of the level of service to be expected. We cater for estate agencies with our review platform, and here's a number of way they make the best use of it.
Everyone likes an incentive. The Purple Property Shop in Bolton incentivises its staff to collect reviews each month, with the most reviews collected rewarding its agents. Their customers are also rewarded by writing a review with a free pizza from their local pizza shop. As you can imagine, their review response rate is very good (34% at last count).
To really boost the review rates, timing is very important when sending out review invitations. The Purple Property Shop achieves such a good rate because they send different review requests depending on which customer type they are dealing with, at specific points in their transaction.
For example, they have created a specific email template for post-purchase customers, who have recently completed a purchase. Sending review request out just after the point of completing on a property is really the very best time, because customers generally will be very happy at being presented with the keys to their new property.
The same is true, of course, of vendors who have just sold their property, landlords who have just rented a property and renters who have just moved in.
Sending requests for reviews at these critical times means that The Purple Property Shop consistently receives rave reviews.
Sally Jones, Director of The Purple Property Shop, understands the value of customers reviews saying:
"Our valuers have told me that customers have looked on our website and read our reviews before making a decision to invite us to value their property, so they are definitely working for us."
Robert Cooney, based in Taunton, has been in the business for 38 years. Their reputation has been built up over that time in the local area, but the company understands that the power of online reviews augments traditional offline word-of-mouth recommendations.
They send review invitations to their customers immediately after completion on their purchase or sale, which gives them a whopping 26.8% conversion rate on their review requests.
At time of writing, Robert Cooney have been with Reviews.io for just a short while but have already generated an excellent review score on our platform from their happy customers.
As the majority of brick-and-mortar agents service a local area, whether with one branch or multiple branches, reviews on Google Maps are important.
The reason is that for any local-intent search (for example, "estate agents near me") will produce a map with agents listed. The map also includes review ratings sourced from Google My Business. These reviews are separate from those collected and submitted to Google by Reviews.io, and are not counted in terms of Seller Ratings. However, their collection is very important because these search results are prominent for such search queries as above.
Luckily, Reviews.io offers the opportunity for estate agents to direct a proportion of their review traffic to Google Local, so each branch can direct customers (with a Gmail address) to write their review on Google Local.
These reviews will eventually appear in Google Maps results, and for those new customers who are searching for a local estate agency are very valuable in their purchase decision.
Third party review collection is a feature from our Growing Business and Enterprise packages.
It's also possible for agencies to collect reviews for each of their branches, and monitor service levels across branches. This is a really useful too for larger agencies because it gives a great indication of any service level changes throughout the company. One account can have multiple branches.
Branch management is available on our Growing Business and Enterprise packages.
You can collect Reviews for each staff member in your agency by setting each person up as a product. In this way, you can collect Company Reviews about your overall brand, and Product Reviews for the individual in question. You could have an individual web page for each staff member with their profile and have individual reviews displayed there. It's something Fenn Wright, a recent addition to Reviews.io, will be implementing along with Third Party review collection.
Product reviews are possible on our Growing Business and Enterprise packages.
Customers will search online for reviews about your real estate agency so it's important you collect and display them. Given the wide range of ways a customer can find you and the wide range of options for review collection available to you, it's important to choose a review partner who is able to give you the tools you need to maximise your review collection.
Reviews.io gives you a fantastic review conversion rate because you're able to fully customise and create unlimited review collection email templates (on all our plans), and send them at a time of your choosing to really maximise your results.
Getting a positive review profile on Google Maps really helps businesses which serve a local area, so this is something all real estate agents should consider when collecting reviews.
For more information, just give us a call and we'll talk you through it, or sign up to a trial by clicking the button at the top of your browser.