4 min read
Last year CoreLogic released a report on Consumer Perceptions of Real Estate Agents from the perspective of vendors, the first survey to specifically examine satisfaction levels of different vendors’ experiences with agents (download the full report here).
Of the 300 people surveyed, 31 per cent rated their experience as ‘excellent’ and a further 35 per cent rated theirs as ‘good’. Unsurprisingly, agents with strong communication, negotiation and customer service skills were most likely to be rated as ‘excellent’ by vendors.
We’re going to focus on the 20 per cent that rated their experience as ‘average’ and the 14 per cent that rated their encounter as ‘poor’ to see what specific behaviours or interactions drove these lower ratings and customer dissatisfaction.
The ratings and comments from less satisfied vendors can teach us some valuable lessons in regards to the most common mistakes agents are making and what can be done to improve them. Here are the surveyed vendors pet peeves when it came to their experiences with their real estate agents.
#1. Lack of data sharing & transparency.
Agents who set out to keep their vendors in the dark by showing them little or no data were the most likely to be rated as ‘poor’ or ‘disastrous’ experiences.
Shockingly only 54 per cent of agents showed their vendor recent comparable sales data, only 28 per cent of agents showed vendors time on the market info, only 55 per cent presented suburb market data (i.e. median prices and price growth) and just 11 per cent of agents talked about auction clearance rates.
These results are alarming seeing as the above information is essential for vendors to feel confident in making an informed decision and forming a realistic understanding of a fair sale price. In fact, when asked what they would do differently next time they were selling a number of vendors cited ‘more research’ as their priority.
This highlights the importance for agents to take the time to share information and explain the current market conditions to vendors using data-based insights, not just their own anecdotal experiences and opinions.
Really go out of your way to be open and transparent by explaining how you came up with the price estimate you did with the data on hand to back it up. Delight your vendors by guiding them through the property data with easy-to-understand graphs, charts and comparable recent sales info. Send them links to reputable property data sites that provide trustworthy and clear insights into the local market if they want to conduct further research of their own.
#2. Poor communication & unfulfilled promises.
The agent skills the survey identified as needing the most work were ‘providing regular feedback about progress’ and ‘keeping me up to date with what to expect’, with 13 per cent of agents rated as poor in these 2 categories respectively.
A vendor commented, ‘Agents need to communicate with the seller. Keep the seller continually informed with what’s going on and what needs to be done’. Several other vendors flagged communication as a key area in need of improvement also.
This highlights that communication, regular contact and follow ups are essential attributes of a great agent in vendors’ eyes.
One vendor reported, ‘Our agent offered to arrange storage to help us declutter, which we thought was a fantastic service. But then he didn’t deliver!’. We don’t think that agent will be getting a very good client testimonial or any return or referral business from that particular client.
It’s of the utmost importance if you promise to do something that you follow through to develop trust and be seen as reliable by clients. If you promised to provide a status update straight after every inspection, make sure you follow through with that update straight after each open. If you said you’d email the client recent comparable sales tomorrow, make sure you email them comparable sales ASAP.
#3. No follow through.
Many vendors noted that once the contract was signed they felt as though they were unceremoniously dumped by their agent. While the vendors who had further contact with their agents were more likely to recommend them to friends, where 68 per cent of the respondents said they’d refer their agent to a friend.
It’s valuable to note that 36 per cent of the vendors surveyed said they based their choice of agent on the recommendation of a friend, the second highest influencer over agent choice, showing just how valuable word of mouth is for agents.
It’s so important in terms of customer satisfaction, return business and for building a stellar referral business to keep in touch with past clients even after the sale is complete.
Remember, thoughtfulness and understanding goes a long way with clients. Consider sending a thank you card and gift at the conclusion of a sale to show your clients how much you valued their business.
One lucky vendor reported that her ‘agent organised a dinner voucher for my husband at a local restaurant while I was away during a weekend of inspections – I was touched by their thoughtfulness as it was a stressful time’.
The results of the survey reveal the three areas agents need to be mindful of for increased vendor satisfaction: greater transparency, open communication and following through after contracts are signed.
One particularly useful takeaway for agents from this research is that the more info agents shared with their vendor the more satisfied the vendor was likely to be with the end result and recommend that agent to others. So, greater data transparency is key to satisfied vendors and building a great referral network.