By Stephanie Sims
With so many agent ratings systems out there, which rating system will show up in Google searches so potential clients can find your stellar ratings? Here are quick snapshots of a few of the top online rating systems.
How it works: Agents who sign up to be rated on Zillow can be rated by absolutely anyone – it’s an open forum. Typically, agents request that clients rate them. Clients and former clients need to find your Zillow profile, then click the “write a review” button to be directed to the ratings and reviews form.
Benefits for agents: Zillow has a Good Neighbor Policy, and a customer service team looks at every single review before it is published to make sure it adheres with the policy, which aims to keep discriminatory, abusive, threatening, illegal or self-advertising content off of Zillow. If agents feel a review is unfair or inaccurate, agents can respond to reviews. Agents are notified when reviews are written about them, and can publicly respond to any of them. In addition, agents can flag any reviews they feel are inaccurate and these will be further reviewed by Zillow’s team of moderators.
Easy to find?: It’s easy to find agents who have been reviewed; on Zillow.com, scroll over the “professionals” tab, and click “real estate agents,” or if you’re so inclined, “mortgage lenders” and “home improvement” specialists can also be rated on Zillow. In addition, if the agent advertises with Zillow, his or her ratings page typically shows up on the first page when searching an agent’s name.
Catches: The reviewers must have active profiles on Zillow, and agents can’t review other agents. However, all reviews are open to the public once they’re published, and can even come up under a Google search.
How it works: Angie’s List is a members-only community, so only members can access reviews of businesses on there.
Benefits for agents: Angie’s List users are all consumers and “real people” who must use names, according to the site, so agents know exactly who is reviewing them. In addition, for any reviews that are felt to be inaccurate, agents can write a rebuttal review (see our case study with Craig Easly on page 15).
Easy to find?: The “real estate agents” category is a bit tricky to find – instead of under “home,” the first category listed, it’s listed under “other” – but once users get to that point, all reviews are there. However, Angie’s List is less likely to come up in a Google search when searching the agent’s name.
Catches: The reviewers must register with Angie’s List to write a review, and non-users can’t see the reviews unless they’ve registered.
Quality Service Certification
How it works: Agents who sign up to be a part of Quality Service Certification endure a process a bit more grueling than Angie’s List and Zillow; all agents go through a training course and after, are required to provide a written guarantee of service to every client. After the closing, the client is sent a customer satisfaction survey asking detailed questions. Consumers work with a QSC professional to find an agent that best “fits” them.
Benefits for agents: An overall customer satisfaction rating compiled from returned surveys, along with other details, is made available to the public on the QSC website: www.qualityservice.org.
Easy to find?: The search box to find an agent and his/her rating is on the home page in the top right-hand corner.
Catches: Prospective clients might not be paired with you as an agent. Also, make sure your reviews are public – QSC does have the option for agents to keep reviews private, but that can make prospective clients skeptical.
How it works: Like Zillow, agents can be rated on Trulia by anyone – but there’s also a separate category from reviews called “recs,” short for recommendations, where other agents or industry professionals can give a recommendation. However, the recommendations aren’t written out in review form. It’s more similar to “liking” something on Facebook – photos of people who recommend an agent gather in the box under “recommendations.” In fact, you need to log in with your Facebook account to recommend an agent – it’s part of Trulia’s Social Search platform, that links agents’ reviews with clients’ Facebook profiles.
Benefits for agents: Reviews are out there for all to see, but it doesn’t appear there are any moderators for content on Trulia like Zillow has…
Easy to find?: Scroll over the “find a pro” category at the top of Trulia’s home page, and click “real estate agents.” Trulia comes up as high as Zillow in a Google search – first page.
Catches: Like Zillow, the reviewers must have active profiles on Trulia to review agents, and again, agents can’t review other agents. However, all reviews are open to the public once they’re published, and can also come up under a Google search. In addition, agents with the most favorable reviews don’t necessarily come up at the top in a search.