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The pros and cons of online testimonials

Brokers say it’s scary at first, useful in the long run.

(Boonton, NJ, May 24, 2016) — Like many brokers, Joe Horning was intrigued by the idea of publishing clients’ Yelp- style reviews of agents.

But he was scared of the potential backlash.

"I was worried about negative testimonials coming in," says Horning, head of Shorewest Realtors in Milwaukee.

As it turns out, Horning had no reason to worry. After he began publishing customer feedback online, his agents received near-perfect grades.

Shorewest uses third-party software to collect reviews from clients. The system lets consumers rank agents’ performance from one to five stars. If a consumer picks four or five stars, the software asks for a "testimonial." For consumers who give three or fewer, the software asks for "feedback."

Intriguingly, Horning says, clients rarely express tepid feelings about their agents. Buyers and sellers either love their agents and give them a five or hate them and rate them a one.

Low scores often involve factors outside of agents’ control, such as being out-bid by a higher offer, but Horning says he discusses all poor ratings with agents.

More about Horning’s experience implementing online testimonials as well as articles on low-down loans, the looming housing shortage, and using an Internet-Team appear in the May issue of Real Estate Broker’s Insider.

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