Publishing Unfiltered Client Reviews: Good for Business?

October 1, 2013

A Coldwell Banker branch has announced that it is publishing every one of its client reviews — the good, the bad, and the ugly — on its Facebook page, Web site, and agents’ profiles. 

Bellevue, Wash.-based Coldwell Banker Bain Seal, the nation’s 16th largest brokerage with more than 1,000 real estate professionals in 30 offices in Washington and Oregon, says the move aims to increase transparency with its customers. This “helps us elevate our service, because we know that every customer will be asked, given the opportunity to comment, on the service they receive,” says Mike Grady, president and COO of Coldwell Banker Bain Seal.

Every buyer and seller who works with the brokerage will receive a satisfaction survey by e-mail a week after closing on a deal. The survey will ask them about the service they received and the agent who represented them. 

Coldwell Banker Bain Seal started publishing the unfiltered comments about a month ago. The majority of the comments have been positive, the brokerage says, but a few negative comments — about communication barriers with agents, for example — have also rolled in. 

“Although some brokers were a bit tentative at first, after seeing the incredible feedback and results provided by our customers, almost every one of our brokers are now happily participating in the program,” says Suzanne Mueller, chief marketing officer at Coldwell Banker Bain Seal. 

Earlier this year, the Center for Specialized REALTOR® Education, a National Association of REALTORS® subsidiary, launched a pilot program for agent ratings with a few state and local REALTOR® associations. The REALTOR® Excellence Program includes a customer satisfaction survey that allows clients to rate both the transaction and the agent. The survey can be useful to brokerages in identifying areas where individual agents may need additional training. Agents can choose whether to make the ratings and client comments public. 

Source: “Big Coldwell Banker brokerage publishing unfiltered agent reviews,” Inman News (Sept. 30, 2013) and “Bringing Validity to Real Estate Ratings: REALTOR(R) Excellence Pilot Program Aims to Raise the Bar,” RISMedia (May 1, 2013)

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