Archive for November, 2008

The most courageous real estate agents around

November 28, 2008
Kudos to those agents who have the courage to be early adopters of our real estate agent rating site

Kudos to those agents who have the courage to be early adopters of our real estate agent rating site

In the last few days — or since EREB sent out its email about What-Customers-Say.com — we’ve been having some good talks around here about the agents who will use our site and those who will not. We’ve also talked about the agents who’ve already asked to be removed from the site. (BTW, we’ll only remove until the point that you get a review; after that time, your name has effectively been “added” by a [legitimate only] reviewer.)

But what about those agents who already are using the site? Or what about those who, in the heat of everything, are actually creating profiles on What-Customers-Say.com?

It takes a lot of courage to step away from the [small] mob with its pitchforks and flaming torches and say, “Yes, I believe in my customer’s voice, and I’m going to support it. Even if it stresses me out every time I get a new review.”

So to everyone who continues to go out on a limb — in spite of pressure from the ill-informed not to be associated with us — and trust not only in their customers but also in the idea that What-Customers-Say.com actually is helping the best agents rise to the top, thank you. And kudos to you. As you certainly know, it’s the leaders, not the followers, who actually make real change happen.

~jw

PS: Lance Jones (a partner at What-Customers-Say.com) wrote this today, and I love how clear it is, so I want to post it:

Only 27 of ~290 reviews on our site are negative — so are dissenting agents sure that our site is about making realtors look bad?

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Use of our real estate agent rating site: Some data

November 27, 2008
graph-going-up

Things are loooooking up!

Because I was curious, I looked up some stats on What-Customers-Say.com. As of about 7:30MST today:

  • We have 112 agents reviewed
  • There are over 280 reviews on our site (not including the illegitimate ones we’ve pulled down)

One-third of the agents rated on What-Customers-Say.com are rated between 4.5 to 4.99 stars out of a possible 5 stars. And our top 3 most reviewed agents are rated between 4.25-4.49 stars out of 5 —- which is probably not where they’d be if they only had one glowing review, but you can imagine the positive effects of rating at the top of the page when someone sorts results by number of reviews (which is how the site is built to default).  

And here are the details on how the cards fall re: top-rated vs. … um… less-well rated agents:

  • 5/5 stars: 6 agents
  • 4.5-4.99/5 stars: 45 agents
  • 4.25-4.49/5 stars: 15 agents
  • 4-4.24/5 stars: 9 agents
  • 3.75-3.99/5 stars: 11 agents
  • 3-3.75/5 stars: 9 agents
  • 0-2.99/5 stars: 17 agents

75 of our reviewed agents are rated at 4.0 or higher out of 5 stars. 20 are between 3 & 4 stars. And the other 17 are below 3 stars.

Finally, the majority of the ❤ star-rated real estate agents have just 1 review. So the tides could easily change on the site for these folks.

So, the blog may not have a ton o’ fans 🙂 , but the site seems to. And that’s what’s most important. ‘Cos a blog is just my voice… but What-Customers-Say.com is the open, vocal collaboration of great agents and their honest, generally happy clients.

~jw

What we’re really doing when you say we’re “bashing” agents

November 27, 2008
Getting down to brass tacks

Getting down to brass tacks

How does that Simon & Garfunkel song go?

I get slandered – libel
I hear words I never heard in the Bible
And I’m one step ahead of the shoe shine
Two steps away from the county line
Just tryin’ to keep the customers satisfied… satisfied!

Ah, keeping the customer satisfied. Our customer is the “real” customer. Who’s your customer?

With that in mind, What-Customers-Say.com was the subject of an e-newsletter sent out by the Edmonton Real Estate Board today. I’ll insert the article below.

Before I go too far, though, let’s clear some things up, shall we? (more…)

What does that mean, consumer advocacy / activism?

November 26, 2008
Do you advocate on behalf of all customers... or just your clients?

Do you advocate on behalf of all customers... or just your clients?

It’s too bad that, prior to the advent of the Web — and, in particular, social media and elevating the customer voice — the only organizations that advocated on behalf of the customer were non-profit consumer advocacy groups. Because they weren’t bringing in any revenue, those groups weren’t really been able to finance marketing initiatives and other tactics to get the word out about defending customer rights and freedoms.

So, until the Web rolled around, no one really understood just how much power the customer ought to have. Even customers didn’t seem sure if they should question things or just accept the status quo.

But, now, if the consumer wants to find out information about his/her rights, about a product s/he is researching or, as it may be, about a real estate agent to whom a friend has referred him/her, they just (more…)

The Associated Press shines another light on rate-an-agent sites

November 23, 2008
More people want to know what customers say about agents

More people want to know what customers say about agents

Yesterday, the Associated Press (US) wrote a piece about web sites that offer real estate agent rankings… in the US. Included in the article were HomeGain.com, AgentRank.com, IncredibleAgents.com —- and a newbie called ZipRealty.com.

(PS: HomeGain, IncredibleAgents and ZipRealty, why haven’t you blogged about the affect of having the AP write such a great piece? It must’ve improved your traffic, no?)

Read the article here: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5ifrUljyap-FNlzdIz9d5hnAiO39AD94JIJT81

My response to this very interesting article
Below are some snippets I’ve pulled from the AP article; I find the ones in bold especially interesting, given the What-Customers-Say.com approach. That is, like AgentRank, we rank agents based on detailed criteria about their performance as real estate agents; unlike IncredibleAgents, we do not include in (more…)

I can’t blame agents for focusing on the negative

November 19, 2008
The kettle is black!

Said the pot: The kettle is black!

I’m a hypocrite. It’s official. The girl who’s all about honest feedback has had a [very minor] epiphany: I’ve been a touch frustrated that a very small number of real estate agents aren’t responding well to What-Customer-Say.com… and all the while I’ve failed to see that we at WCS are in the same position as those agents: Neither of us wants anyone to be negative about us.

Just as I expect the agents to take the negative as well as the positive, I should take the unhappy reactions to our site at least as well as I take the kudos we’ve received.

And we have received kudos
Some agents have written to say that this real estate agent rating site is a great idea. They’ve asked us to go to Victoria, Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary. (And we plan to! Learn more as we approach Jan 1 09.) We do little jigs everytime we get that great feedback. (more…)

What’s so scary about real estate agent rating sites?

November 15, 2008
Some Agents Don't Want to Hear What Customers Say

Some Agents Do Not Want to Hear What Customers Say

This week, thanks to all the media attention we’ve received, we at What-Customers-Say.com have been dealing with some… very interesting questions from agents. And by “questions” I mean angry or crying or passive-aggressive ranting. Here’s a sample (make sense of these verbatims if/as you will):

I personally believe it\’s the agents on this site who have an ego that needs to be fed..

…you\’re bordering on slander which I find very distasteful…

…I don’t know how it’s possible to ensure the postings are legitimate. You’ll end up having realtors post their own comments, and worse, comments about fellow realtors.

…should a posting occur for any of us at [brokerage name removed], positive, negative or otherwise, I would expect you won’t need another e-mail from us harassing you to remove it.

I would highly recommend you guys have some sort of agent focus group to get some feedback on what you’re doing.

There was an absolutely crazy email thread with an agent we’ve already discussed here, and I’d love to (more…)

Some PR we’re getting

November 12, 2008

So, we were printed in the Edmonton Journal yesterday and the Victoria Times Colonist today. We were also in their online editions. And, we’ve just found out that the site was turned into a story on GlobalTV Edmonton during the evening news.

UPDATE: Here’s the link to the site (thanks, Jason!): http://tinyurl.com/597e2e (more…)

Marketing genius pulls down all 10 GREAT ratings!

November 12, 2008

I am having the hardest time believing it. A real estate agent who got a whopping 10 REVIEWS —- all of them super-high —- in JUST ONE DAY (today) emailed us tonight to ask us to pull his page down and remove all those reviews.

Now, we’ve had some unhappy real estate agents ask us to pull their name off the site, and we’ve complied when they’ve had legimitate reasons to come down —- but we’ve told them that we can’t prevent people from adding them back in. (EARTH TO DISSENTERS: Start managing your online reputations. Pull your head out of the sand: your clients WILL talk about you. Why are you all sooooooo resistant????? What are you trying to hide?)

But we’ve never, ever, ever had a real estate agent with 10 REVIEWS ask to be removed from the site. It sounds like the real problem for this real estate agent was that he didn’t like not being looped in on the conversation early on; it’s an ego thing. He thought we were compiling reviews to solicit his business. Ha! Hardly. This is a customer-driven engine. I guess the joke’s on his poor clients who actually took the time to rate him. (BTW: Clients, we’ll still enter you in our Amazon gift card draw.)

DISSENTING AGENTS, HEAR THIS: We are not here just for you. This site is not built just for you. Keep your “business” all to yourself — we’re certainly not begging you to join our site. Only real estate agents who CARE about their customers need join. (more…)

Ratings galore! Ah, the beauty of good PR

November 11, 2008

front-pageWell, we had one article in the St. Albert Gazette in early September… but it was buried under what has become the infamous Beekeeper photo (infamous in our little world).

But today. Ah, today. It is good. A normally solemn day (Remembrance Day) was brightened by a very nice article by Bill Mah in the Edmonton Journal

The article was great. It was honest and accurate and fair, with a not-100%-glowing review from one of our top-rated agents, Bev O’Shea. Nice balance. We’ve been jumping around all day, watching the really great ratings (praising & criticising) roll on in. And the agent profiles. How nice!   (more…)