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What Your Clients Really Think of You

by Jason Porterfield

Handling Negative Feedback

Agents can’t control how their reviews are going to look. A client who had a good experience may only give the agent three stars out of five on Yelp or Zillow. Maybe something goes wrong to turn the process into an ordeal for the client, and he or she gives the agent only one or two stars. Ultimately, all an agent can do is take such feedback and learn from it. Engaging with the reviewer and showing an interest in making things right can also help boost an agent’s credibility with prospective clients who might be wary of someone with a bad review.

Matt Kombrink of the Kombrink Labrillo Team, a RE/MAX agency based in St. Charles, has overall positive reviews on Trulia, Yelp and Zillow. However, the occasional negative review will come in for him to address. He works to respond to each of those reviews. While he may not hear back from those reviewers, he feels that the act of responding publicly shows that he is engaged with his clients and wants to do what he can to make their experience a good one.

“We are very humble about it,” he says. “We don’t make any excuses. We just thank them for their honest feedback and tell them that we value it and always can learn from our mistakes and from our clients.”

Best provides testimonials to every client so that buyers and sellers know what kind of service they are going to get from her. In the past, her testimonials were based off a client questionnaire that she gave to each buyer or seller after the deal was completed. Now her reviews are online, but she continues to give clients copies of earlier testimonials to put them at ease.

“Some clients are more tech-savvy than others,” she says. “I can tell what’s working by their online reviews, our communication and the referrals they give me.”

Kombrink began getting feedback exclusively from online review sites such as Yelp and Trulia about a year and a half ago. They had handled online reviews for three or four years prior along with paper questionnaires, but it hadn’t been a priority. Kombrink said that the process of getting responses from past clients became much easier once they switched to using only electronic reviews of their services. About 60 percent of the clients they close with give them a review, he says. While he and his team work hard to respond to online reviews, they bring in only about 10 clients per year. Most people come in through word of mouth referrals or through an advertisement or sign.

“We ask them at the closing to let them know that we’re going to be sending them a request to review us,” he says. “We usually send that 48 hours after the closing. We want to give them time to get settled in, so they don’t blow off the email because they’re busy trying to unpack.”

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