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Blog: The Customer Service Failure of the Real Estate Industry

Suze Cumming

Suze is passionate about our natural world and anything that propels her into the wilderness and allows her to stretch her limits is game on...

Suze is passionate about our natural world and anything that propels her into the wilderness and allows her to stretch her limits is game on...

Nov 8 3 minutes read

50% of Buyers who inquire on a listing online do not receive a response at all. 

This comes from independent research done by the WAV group. It is also the experience that I am having looking for a property on Vancouver Island.*

Zillow has caused an uproar recently as it announced that it has begun to do a Consumer Survey as a way of rating the REALTORS® who work with Zillow. In addition, they have stated that if a REALTOR’s® score falls below a certain level, they will be removed from the Zillow site. In other words - FIRED. REALTORS® pay to use Zillow and the antagonists in this debate say that Zillow has no right to control who its customers are.

Whether you love or hate Zillow, you have to admit that they have built a strong business with a strong brand and some amazing technology. Their success depends on the customer experience that people have. If agents who advertise with Zillow offer poor customer service, this hurts Zillow and in a free and democratic nation, Zillow has the right to control this.

Zillow’s survey says that almost half of the consumers that contact an agent from its site, get no response. If that was my company, I’d be mad as hell and definitely fire anyone who wasn’t delivering at least a basic level of customer service.

We’ve all had leads that we haven’t followed up on. We get busy, we don’t want more buyers, we are taking time with our family - and there are good reasons to step back from real estate every once in a while, to rest and restore. What’s missing in real estate is responsible. When you take a listing, you accept the responsibility of getting the best possible outcome for that seller and that means following up promptly and professionally with every inquiry on their home. If you work with a marketing partner to find new clients, you have a responsibility to that partner to deliver a competent level of customer service. If you are professional, you have someone to step in and serve your clients and customers when you take time away.

It has never been more important for the real estate industry to deliver a remarkable experience to the consumer, and in my opinion, the level of customer service in real estate has never been lower.

*Many people have asked why I am not using an exclusive buyer agent while looking for a property as I strongly advocate for this in our CNE courses. Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands are made up of many different communities and I have not chosen which community I want to live in. In fact, there are 4 or 5 that would work for me. I am slowly forming relationships with agents and will work exclusively with one agent in each area. In truth, I am having trouble finding agents that I am prepared to commit to but my guy on Gabriola and my gal on Pender are great! :) 

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