You’re a dedicated, professional agent. You’re friendly, polite, and jovial—a good conversationalist. You’re prepared and knowledgeable, always ready to answer any question a prospect may have. You work tirelessly to ensure your clients find their dream home or get a fair price when selling; it’s something you pride yourself on. In short, you’re good at your job.
And yet, over time, you still get bad reviews.
Why clients give agents bad reviews
All clients expect their agent to aid in the selling or purchasing of a property; it’s why they hired one. If the agent is successful, to most clients, the agent did their job. They’re satisfied, and satisfied clients, who constitute the vast majority of successful real estate transactions, tend to leave reviews only about 10 percent of the time. There’s simply no incentive to do so.
Instead, online reviews tend to originate from one of two extremes. If an agent goes above and beyond the expectations of the client, the client will sometimes feel compelled to express gratitude in the form of a glowing review. Conversely, if an agent fails to meet client expectations, the client will often feel the need to complain. In fact, a dissatisfied client leaves a review 21% more often than a satisfied one.
Unfortunately, due to the inescapable nature of the real estate business, client dissatisfaction tends to happen more often than extreme satisfaction. Agents who may have provided satisfactory service to 8 out of 10 clients might, over time, find their cumulative rating dragged down and their business portrayed in an inaccurate—and damaging—manner for no other reason than the probability of receiving a negative review is far greater than a positive one.
Think about your own experiences: How often have you worked with a client who had unrealistic expectations? Maybe they wanted more house than they could afford. Maybe they thought your suggested listing price was below what they perceived as fair market value. Despite your best efforts, there was nothing you could have conceivably done to help them. Would it be fair if they left a negative review? Especially when you have no opportunity to respond with your side of the story?
No, it wouldn’t. But it happens anyway.
What to do about bad reviews
As mentioned, satisfied clients don’t typically feel compelled to review an agent. However, that does not mean they’re unwilling. It’s a key distinction.
There are many layers of friction when it comes to leaving a review, but in short, clients need to have the desire, the time, and the knowledge of which platform to post on—Facebook, Google, Angie’s List, etc.—in order to voice their opinion. When they’re motivated by a bad experience, they’re willing to go through the effort because, in their minds, they’re attempting to rectify a perceived loss. When they don’t feel that way, though, they’re less willing to put up with the grief.
So, to combat this phenomenon, you, the agent, need to strip away that friction and make it easier for satisfied clients to leave you a review. Remember: You have far more satisfied clients than dissatisfied ones. If you can convince even a fraction of them to leave a positive review, you‘ll improve your overall rating. And while you won’t be able to remove any negative ones entirely, you’ll effectively drown them out.
Do keep in mind that you can respond (politely and apologetically!) to negative reviews, and we encourage you to do so moving forward. Google, in particular, views responding to negative reviews in a timely fashion favorably, as it signals you’re a responsive agent. It won’t mitigate the impact as much as having more positive reviews will, but it will lessen the damage.
The best way to get more positive reviews
As part of their Homesnap Pro+ membership, agents get access to the One-Click Review Tool, which was specifically designed to reduce the friction that comes from asking for a review. Agents simply enter an email address or choose someone they’re connected with via Homesnap, and Homesnap will reach out and provide them an easy way to rate and review you on Google.
In analyzing the profiles of Homesnap Pro+ agents who used the One-Click Review Tool, we found that, on average, every 2.6 review requests an agent sends, they get a review. Even if we round up to say every three clicks gets a review, that still means satisfied clients leave a review 33% of the time— a more than 3X increase than the 10% average.
More compellingly, we found reviews solicited directly from satisfied clients are almost always positive (4-5 stars), as those clients who don’t want to leave a review are much more likely to ignore your request than write something negative (and since you’re in control of the invites, you can weed out sending to those who’d likely leave you negative reviews anyway). As a result, when comparing the profiles of Homesnap Pro+ agents who used the One-Click Review Tool regularly (five or more times over 90 days) versus those that did not, agents who used the tool had an average review rating of 4.95. Those that didn’t? Their rating averaged out to just 1.5.
Sounds great. But why the emphasis on Google? Why not other review sites?
It’s simple: Consumers trust Google more than any other site.
Consumers, by and large, are increasingly skeptical of whether third-party websites built specifically around reviews are truly unbiased. Many of them are, after all, businesses, and it’s feasible they could be incentivized to alter what consumers say. If you poke around online, you’ll find many accusations about review manipulation on sites like Yelp. Whether or not this is true is irrelevant; perception is reality.
Google, on the other hand, has no such doubt, as their business model is built upon bringing accurate data to consumers via the company’s search platform. And since the overwhelming majority of Americans trust Google for their search purposes, Google reviews are viewed with the same confidence. Simply put, Google gives you the best chance of convincing prospects that what people say about you is a fair representation of who you are.
As for Facebook and other social media sites? They’re still worthwhile, but Google’s reviews are more front-of-mind to serious homebuyers and sellers. High-intent prospects begin their real estate journeys on Google; those that might be a few months (or years) away are usually casually window shopping on sites like Facebook. Your reviews will have more efficacy on Google than anywhere else.
But, if you’re concerned about abandoning positive reviews on these sites if you emphasize Google, don’t be. The One-Click Review Tool allows you to port over reviews right to Google. Best of both worlds, right?