I love it when clients flame me or JVM about pretty much anything for two reasons:
- If they are flaming me directly, they are not doing so publicly on social media;
- We use every morsel of feedback we get to constantly improve everything we do.
We frequently discuss the importance of garnering authentic, five-star reviews in this day and age when “social proof” is absolutely necessary for survival.
In response, agents ask: (1) what are the best platforms to use for reviews? and (2) how do I avoid bad reviews?
AVOIDING BAD REVIEWS
The simplest way to avoid bad reviews is to always offer extraordinary service (obviously 😊). But, we realize things can go awry on occasion no matter how hard we work.
Whenever we sense a transaction is moving along less than perfectly, we make sure we give clients the opportunity to vent at every step of the way either verbally or via surveys at the end of the transaction.
We practically beg for negative feedback b/c clients want to be heard; b/c we need it to improve; and b/c it is better to get it privately instead of publicly (as I mention above).
This is a practice every agent and loan officer should clearly follow, but all too many don’t – as indicated by the enormous number of bad reviews floating around the internet.
GETTING GOOD REVIEWS
B/c good reviews are so important to us at JVM, we basically have a “review machine” setup that runs continuously.
We automatically send a survey to every borrower using Survey Anyplace. If the comments are good, the software automatically knows to request a review. If the comments are bad, we simply ask to be flamed 😊 (and then we thank our clients for the feedback and use it to improve).
We also send automated texts to clients to request reviews. We rely heavily on automation now that we close over 100 transactions every month.
If we were, however, closing 15 or fewer transactions per month, we would still rely on phone calls; they foster a stronger connection and are much more likely to get results.
YELP – Everyone seems to hate Yelp b/c they lobby so hard for advertising dollars (seems like “pay to play”) and b/c they filter so many reviews. The platform also seems to invite a lot of frustrated people who are just looking to flame somebody for something. BUT, Yelp is still widely perceived as the “most authentic” platform by consumers b/c Yelp can’t be manipulated in any way.
Another big drawback to Yelp though is that “it does not travel,” meaning it only shows up to local consumers. This is bad for any operation that wants to expand outside of a 50-mile radius.
GOOGLE – Google is held in relatively high esteem by consumers. This is b/c Google itself is so large and famous, and b/c it is so difficult to eliminate negative reviews. Other advantages of Google reviews are that they “travel” (consumers see the same reviews no matter where they are geographically) and they are the first thing consumers see when they Google a person or a firm. Drawback to Google reviews include a slightly inferior reputation to Yelp reviews and the need to set up valid a “Google My Business” page before reviews can be posted.
ZILLOW – This is the platform many agents rely on and so did we to some extent. The drawback is that Zillow is becoming less and less dominant as a platform so the reviews will be unseen by many consumers. In addition, Zillow reviews are also perceived as less authentic.
And, as Monday’s Blog pointed out, proving reviews are “authentic” is more important than ever nowadays.
HOW ABOUT “ALL PLATFORMS?”
I know a loan officer who calls every client to request a Yelp review. He then asks them to copy the same reviews into Google and Zillow b/c it is so easy to do so (he even provides specific instructions).
This is a practice we used to follow too when we closed fewer transactions, and it is something I still highly recommend for anyone closing fewer than 15 to 20 transactions per month.
Founder/Broker | JVM Lending
(855) 855-4491 | DRE# 01524255, NMLS# 310167