If you’re a broker, you probably monitor your agents’ transaction size and productivity. You closely manage desk costs and net profit. But are you keeping an eye on client satisfaction?
According to RealSatisfied, an online application that enables brokers to send customer satisfaction surveys through an intuitive dashboard, increasing client satisfaction can help you harvest real money by increasing repeat and referral business over time, and improve your reputation online.
It’s serious business.
If you consider that recommendations from friends and family rank second only to Internet research (according to a REAL Trends/Harris Interactive survey of 2,277 qualified buyers), you could be losing out if you’re not diligently managing how your agents treat their customers.
RealSatisfied • $50/month per office • unlimited surveys • 30 day free trial
But there’s more to it than that. For Jeff Turner, president of RealSatisfied, it’s about continuous brand improvement. RealSatisfied enables you to build and safeguard your brand by carefully listening to your customers.
“The point of departure between most surveys and the traditional kinds of data they reveal and what RealSatisfied is doing is big,” Turner explains. “RealSatisfied creates continuous opportunities to strengthen your brand through customer input.”
In other words, the kind of customer input RealSatisfied gathers is data you can use to transform and build your business, based on what your customers really want.
Satisfaction Made Actionable
What makes RealSatisfied unique is that it makes customer satisfaction input actionable.
An intuitive dashboard enables brokers to see how individual agents are performing against each other and national industry benchmarks.
You can easily compare results between agents, look for trends and spot problems.
The point is not to penalize agents for bad service, but to provide training that will help them improve to strengthen your brand and brokerage. Since all surveys sent to clients are identical, you can easily compare results and single out a troublesome area based on aggregate and individual results and take action.
For example, if an agent has a demonstrable problem with a certain area of service, RealSatisfied can easily pinpoint it based on real customer data.
Turner says this makes it a whole lot easier for management to not only identify a problem, but to coach the agent through the issue by using real world examples associated with individual transactions. That’s something consumer-driven review platforms like Yelp! and Google Plus just can’t do.
“We create opportunities for a broker to get involved in a conversation with an agent with specific customer feedback,” Turner says. So it’s always relevant and real.
“It takes the mystery out of the process,” Turner continues. “If management’s attitude is, ‘let’s get this specific thing fixed by helping you succeed,’ all of a sudden you’ve got a win-win situation for the agent and the brokerage.”
What’s more, Turner says that the ongoing feedback offers continuous opportunities to improve — across the brokerage.
“We make it possible from an organizational standpoint to understand where they’re falling short, and to identify who needs coaching in what area.” Turner explains. “When you have specific customer feedback you can target exactly what you need to do to improve. It’s an enormous coaching and training opportunity.”
Target Surveys, Revealing Results
There are seven types of surveys, which take an average client about five minutes to complete:
- Lost Listing Presentation
- Landlord Loyalty
- Tenant Loyalty
- Landlord Placement Survey
- Tenant Placement
- Peer Review (new)
Turner says that clients complete about 54 percent of all surveys, despite their detail and length. The number of surveys completed improves the longer brokers use RealSatisfied. Surveys identify the client’s gender and age, and illuminate details about how the client heard about the broker and how specific aspects of the transaction were handled.
Clients can rate the professionalism of the agent, on a variety of parameters including approachability, friendliness and responsiveness.
At the end of the survey, there is an opportunity for the client to agree to provide a testimonial. But if the survey results are negative, the prompt for the testimonial will not appear. Instead, the client will be asked if he would like a follow-up call to talk about the issue.
“People are most likely to complete a survey immediately after a transaction, when everything is still fresh,” Turner explains. “But we also recognize that if someone has had a horrible experience, the last thing we want to do is ask for a testimonial. It’s like salt in the wound.”
That’s why bad reviews are automatically routed to whomever you designate at your brokerage — if the client has agreed to be called to discuss the problem.
It’s important to note that bad reviews are actually an unparalleled opportunity. In fact, statistics show that someone who leaves a negative review will often reverse their opinion and become a net positive more than half the time. But that’s if they’re contacted promptly to address the problem.
Turner notes that not everyone who completes a survey — even if the results are positive — agrees to provide a testimonial. But if the client does, testimonials are also checked by an automated filter before they are published, using an escalation process similar to that for unhappy customers.
“We do everything we can to make sure that the system can’t be gamed,” Turner says. “We make sure that positive reviews are real and verified.”
Making the Most of Reviews
RealSatisfied allows agents and brokers to make the most of positive reviews via social channels.
It starts with RealSatisfied agent profile pages that are populated with testimonials with dates, contact information and links to the agent’s presence on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
A large pane also offers RealSatisfied stats on the agent’s performance. A prominent badge indicates that the testimonials are verified, and it’s easy to share the page to Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn or any number of other social outlets.
For your prospects, that means that your RealSatisfied reviews will show up in their Internet research, thus burnishing your online reputation and increasing the likelihood that they will choose you.
Since 72 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, and more than half of consumers say that positive online reviews increase their likelihood of using a local business, it’s common sense to make the most of your reviews, internally and to the outside world.
RealSatisfied vs. Yelp! or Google Plus Local
Yet RealSatisfied isn’t a replacement for Yelp! or Google Plus Local — you still want reviews on those platforms. That’s why RealSatisfied is working on ways to help promote those services as well.
“If the consumer has rated the transaction highly, we want to find ways to make sure their recommendations get to as many places as possible,” Turner explains. “But we’re only going to do that if the survey indicates that they were highly satisfied with the experience.”
RealSatisfied knows that consumers see Yelp! and Google as neutral, credible venues, and having a strong presence there will help drive traffic to your site. Google considers the number of reviews you on the web have in ranking your site in search — they’re called external citations.
Google even populates its maps with reviews pulled from Google Plus Local pages, and gives preferential search results to local businesses with a strong Google Plus presence.
That’s why it’s imperative that you actively solicit and monitor reviews outside of RealSatisfied. After all, the more credible citations you have, the better your search results. But remember that RealSatisfied’s testimonials are also considered external citations, so the more the merrier.
RealSatisfied Reviews Now Syndicated to Realtor.com
In July, 2013, RealSatisfied announced that it struck an agreement with Realtor.com to syndicate its reviews to agent profiles on the portal.
Realtor.com’s HyperSocial/SocialBios feature sucks in RealSatisfied’s testimonials and displays them as part of the agent’s free profile, significantly enhancing the agent’s credibility. All the agent has to do is to create a profile on Realtor.com, and link it to their RealSatisfied profile page.
Turner says that the Realtor.com deal has definitely increased the company’s exposure in the United States. He also notes that integrations in progress push their North America agent count to over 10,000.
The deal is significant on several fronts, not the least of which is that it is the first external review syndication agreement for the company.
Turner says that while Google and Yelp! are unlikely to ever accept RealSatisfied reviews, the deal piqued the interest of several large MLSs and associations. They see the possibilities of integrating verified reviews with agent profiles on their systems.
But while Turner is pleased about the additional exposure and opportunity, it’s not the core purpose of RealSatisfied.
Results, Not Just Reviews
“People tend to lump us into the category of agent ratings,” Turner explains. “But Agent ratings aren’t what we’re about. What we’re really trying to do is create continuous brand strengthening opportunities. We’re about customer feedback and the process of continually improving the brand of the brokerage.
“Agent ratings are a byproduct,” Turner concludes, but not without saying that getting the most exposure possible for RealSatisfied’s testimonials is obviously a good thing, regardless of the venue. But Turner is adamant that the overall big benefit to the broker is the opportunity to continually improve a brand through customer input.
Yet what Turner isn’t saying is this: RealSatisfied is a great way to grow your business from the inside out. Because the more you know, the more you can improve. And that is almost certainly RealSatisfied’s most important value proposition.