8 ways you can control the impact of estate agency review websites

12 January 2012
state Agent Review Websites

Review websites are a big part of the internet these days - and the property industry is no different to any other. In the past few years, the trend has accelerated and the list of estate agent specific review websites is getting longer:

Factor in all of the cross-industry sites - such as Google Places, Thomson Local, FreeIndex, CheckaTrade, Qype, Bview, Yelp, Yell Trusted Places, TouchLocal, The Disc Directory, etc. - and the list is endless.

The concerned comments to today's article on Estate Agent Today are not an unusual response from any business owner. But here are the facts:

  1. These sites exist and are here to stay.
  2. People like to read reviews (not as much as personal recommendations, but enough to matter).
  3. People believe what they read (though they appreciate that you get the occasional whinger).
  4. There's more incentive to write a negative review than a positive one.
  5. Most sites don't give you the option to remove or respond to a review.
  6. Most importantly: you cannot control or change any of these facts.

Business owners cannot afford to stick their heads in the sand any longer on this. The potential threat that these sites pose must be taken seriously - and reputation management is now an important part of doing business in an increasingly online world.

Here are 8 things you should be doing:

  1. Do a good job. This shouldn't need saying, but poor companies cannot hide as easily anymore - so don't be one.
  2. Commit to being open and encourage reviews from happy customers. The only way to cancel out negative reviews is to have more positive ones.
  3. Make it clear to customers that you take complaints seriously. Be approachable and deal with problems when they occur, in order to prevent 'revenge' reviews later.
  4. Send every customer an email asking for honest feedback on completing your business with them. Encourage them to use third party review websites which feel more independent.
  5. Have a page on your website which does the same thing.
  6. Consider subscribing to a service like ReferenceLine or The Disc Directory to help outsource the process.
  7. Set up Google Alerts on your company name to help you monitor what people are saying about you (and respond where possible).
  8. Take negative comments seriously - they should be treated as an opportunity for improvement.

It's unlikely you'll never get a negative review, but if you do the above at least it will be easier for you to put it in context.

Leave your comment:

What you said:

17 January 2012 21:04:53
I think a good online marketing strategy to try and control your presence on the internet is one of the best ways to protect your reputation and encourage positive feedback.
18 February 2012 19:55:09
I was keen to add testimonials from independant review sites to boost my letting agency. However, since reading your blogs it is apparent that people are more likely to leave feedback if it was negative. So i decided to do some research and the first page i stumbled upon was this one: http://www.uklettingagent.co.uk/reviews/ after toting up the ratio of negative to posotive i dont think i'll be going anywhere near it! which is a shame because i think posotive feedback is a powerful asset. Alot of things can happen in this industry which are not of the agents fault but still results in the agent getting a bad name.
19 February 2012 10:53:48
Hi Kirk. Thanks for commenting.

Although you're right to be wary, some review sites are worse than others in that regard.

If you're doing a good job you should be encouraging people to talk about you.

02 March 2012 12:37:17
I have found a solution to the problems that you highlight so well on your site.
13 June 2012 15:15:10
Good tips, review sites are overall very useful. As with any other review system it is always open to abuse.
08 November 2012 15:22:55
I have been working with estate agents my whole life and found that the points made in this post are 100%. As estate agents they need to get positive feedback in order to raise high levels of customer satisfaction and also to drive return customers.
12 November 2013 19:37:58
You should also check out www.estateagent.me for estate agent reviews, very professional service with your own account manager.
19 October 2015 14:40:24
Negative reviews can be damning to your company name and although some can be interpreted as productive and to be learnt from others can be unfair. Learning to deal with them appropriately is important so thank you for sharing!
02 March 2016 20:58:19
Just what I was after a nice list of useful websites - thanks!
25 May 2016 10:04:01
It is terrifying the impact of reviews on all warps of business - restaurants and hotels for example, it was only a matter of time before it spread to homes!