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Consumers Loyal to Companies, Not Agents, Study Finds

Only about 20 percent of customers said they would actually switch firms if the agent left.

(Boonton, NJ, August 1, 2013) — In a finding that flies in the face of conventional wisdom, a survey by J.D. Power finds that consumers are more likely to build a lasting relationship with a company than with an individual agent.

“Loyalty is first and foremost to the firm, and second to the agent,” says J.D. Power’s Christina Cooley. “Only about 20 percent of customers said they would actually switch firms if the agent left.”

It’s worth noting that J.D. Power’s research focuses on five large national firms — Century 21, Coldwell Banker, Keller Williams, Prudential, and RE/MAX. It’s unclear if brand loyalty extends to a small firm with only a handful of agents. And Cooley acknowledges the obvious — that the agent plays a crucial role.

The study’s findings also contradicted another piece of conventional wisdom, namely that consumers are growing more sophisticated about real estate transactions, and therefore rely less on agents.

“Customers want to have their hands held and want that firm to be actively involved throughout the entire process,” Cooley says.

Details and analysis of the study appear in the August issue of Real Estate Broker's Insider.

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