Ask an Ambassador: what about those on line reviews?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 GREC# 169695

Thankfully we're given the option here on ActiveRain to post testimonials. So when our clients send us a note card or leave a nice review on line we can place it here ourselves and have total control of what is on our profile. On Facebook business pages we can have reviews on or off, but what about those other places, Trulia, Zillow, and Yelp?  We have MUCH less control.  

With Zillow I am aware that you get a inquiry phone call, but that person is not actually ever your client then generally speaking Zillow will take down a review. When you leave a review on zillow you have to be a client. Yelp on the other hand, not so much. On yelp if you aren't a paid advertiser I hear from friends that it's quite impossible to get a review taken down. 

I can also tell you with certainty that if you have a great review on Yelp written by someone who hasn't written a bunch of reviews on Yelp that it doesn't show on your profile. That's pretty annoying, it was a really nice review and that lady was indeed a legitimate client of mine. 

Many years ago, someone that I consider a friend, Brad Andersohn wrote a post right here in the rain. I'm not sure if that post is still up or not, but I'm not going to look for it or link to it, but I remember it and I'm going to tell you what Brad suggested and and I took note of his suggestion and think it's the way to go. 

We have saying in Georgia about houses and termites... there are those houses with them and those houses that are going to get them. I didn't believe it until I got them at my office, now I'm a believer. I feel the same is true for anyone in any kind of service industry.... eventually that bad review is going to come. How do we over come that?  Well I can say for sure that you don't want it to be your only review. I can also advise you NOT to engage the person on line with details even if you KNOW you did nothing wrong. I suggest the two following things...

The first is the advice Brad gave, have your happy clients leave you reviews. I've asked some to leave them on Z&T and some to to leave them on Yelp and some to leave them on Google and Some to leave them on Facebook.  Reviews are important.  I read them, don't you?  

Donald and I bought a new television recently and we wanted a little better sound than came with the internal speakers.  So I set out to find a low profile sound bar that had great sound. I read lots of reviews of various brands before I determined for the money that Yamaha offered the best product for us.  I ordered it, it's installed and we're very happy. I will leave a review for the product after I've had it for a while. (test of time is important too). When I travel we read reviews for hotels and restaurants. Do you?

So it stands to reason that when someone is looking to move to an area that they would consider the reviews of the agents they might hire to represent them. If you follow Brad's advice of asking for reviews and have a good amount of 4 to 5 star reviews already in place when that bad one happens it's really not so bad.

The second piece of advice I'd like to share with you is don't engage a bad review on line.  Do I mean to just ignore it?  Of course not. But my response to a bad review on line would be something like the following:

"I apologize about your experience and would love to discuss the matter please give me a call at (my office number)" Because honestly when I have a bad experience somewhere I don't care about the excuses or reasons and I know from time to time I've been so frustrated with a company that I have been unreasonable.  AT&T comes to mind.  After enough problems you loose site of logic and it becomes a war.  I certainly don't want a public battle on line so I would simply offer to discuss the matter on line and apologize (even if I truly felt I had nothing to apologize for) and ask them to reach out to me. I would also leave them a voicemail if they didn't take my call. 

I've also built a page on my site and bought the url and pointed it to that page for my geographical area and built a facebook page that is title with my geographical area for real estate agent reviews. Those things lead to my ranking the top two on a google search for the term.  Get in front of it... before that bad review happens.


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Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

Dorie Dillard absolutely, it will stand out as "well you can't please everyone" instead of oh my gosh they must be terrible.

Liz and Bill Spear over the past few years that alone (how much I find myself reading the reviews) should have made me do better, but I put it in my goal list for this year to actually ask for some reviews/testimonials.  The closing I had Thursday is a perfect example... I went way beyond for them.

Jan 14, 2017 06:51 AM #24
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

Ginny Gorman you'll be delighted to know that it seems to be beyond buried because I looked and only found really nice reviews. It's obvious you care about your clients the way I do.

Sam Shueh I actually have a couple of reviews from agents on referrals and co-ops stating I was great to work with, I certainly don't believe in self written fake good reviews though.

Jan 14, 2017 07:15 AM #25
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

Mary Jo Quay I'm not sure what the DOC is, I'll take a leap that it is your state licensing authority... the GREC Georgia Real Estate Commission requires a little work and thus has not too many bogus complaints, they must be written, documents attached and notorized.

Virginia Kazlouskas (Gregory) I might ask forgiveness face to face or on the phone if I did something really wrong, however you would never find an admission of guilt from me on line.


Jan 14, 2017 07:20 AM #26
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

Beth Bromund I've seen it and it's a train wreck.

Debra Leisek I totally agree and can recall the first time it happened out of the blue for me.  We weren't even closed and it was a young first time home buyer. I just adore her to this day.

John Wiley I totally agree it's not a conversation for on line and back and forth. And actually sometimes it can only be resolved face to face where there is a conflict. 


Jan 14, 2017 07:26 AM #27
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

Harry F. D'Elia I can only imagine.  I get haters on the phone because I tell them I don't handle rentals.  And I am one who actually if they just don't yell at me will offer them some numbers of agents who do.

Sham Reddy it's my understanding that phone navigation relies on yelp ratings for suggestions somewhat.  That's why I'd like a few more good reviews on yelp.

Jan 14, 2017 07:29 AM #28
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

The sword of the mouth cuts both ways...richfuscious

Jan 14, 2017 07:37 AM #29
Jeff Dowler
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

Hi Tammy

Online reviews are becoming more and more prevalent and no doubt many potential buyers and sellers look at them...they certainly do for consumer products and services. There are some great suggestions here and I totally agree! I always ask for testimonials and people say they are happy to do them, but the reality is often different...but I don't ask more than once.


Jan 14, 2017 07:55 AM #30
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

Richie Alan Naggar very true

Jeff Dowler I tend to find that as well.  Sometimes I have had people think they posted a review and email me to say they had and it never showed up. And I think it perhaps is also a bit generational. I think someone old enough to be parent believes a proper thank you is sufficient and younger folks who use, read and love reviews are more than happy to write one for you. That being said, I also never ask more than once.

Jan 14, 2017 08:05 AM #31
Brad Andersohn
Director of Education & Industry Outreach at eXp Realty & RE Tech Campus - Fairfield, CA
ActiveBrad - 707.646.1876

Not sure who the contact is for reviews on Zillow, left back in Oct 2014. I do know they can access any review on their system whether  it's publicly displayed or not. Someone there should be able to help you find it and get it posted. :-) 


Jan 14, 2017 09:00 AM #32
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Hi Tammy, I was able to get to your blog by going through my cell phone. My computer is powered by my iPad which as you might guess is AT&T so that might be a reason why I could not reach this particular blog from my computer in Hawaii .

However I am living proof that a reviewer for Zillow does not have to be a client . It can be some schmuck out of the blue who perhaps dialed your phone number and did not like the information that person received, so out of revenge they run over to Zillow to say something nasty about you . Zillow does not verify the reviews and they don't care where they come from as long as the person is registered on Zillow .
I have also had a review posted on Yelp that did not show up because the poster spoke limited English and it showed up in their writing. To me that's discrimination by Yelp.

Jan 14, 2017 09:28 AM #33
Carol Williams
U.S.: I specialize in helping agents who have been in the business 2 years or less create a thriving business. - Wenatchee, WA
"Customized Mentoring & Marketing Services"

Yes, I DO read online reviews and they weigh in heavily on purchasing decisions. With a lot of good reviews, I tend to discount the bad review as "sour grapes" and/or extenuating circumstances.  Great post Tammy Lankford, .  Thanks!

Jan 14, 2017 11:12 AM #34
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Tammy Lankford, - sometimes dissatisfied clients of the 'other' side wants to share their frustration and end up writing a very negative review! I had one such incidence - fortunately, it was taken off within few hours itself!

Having many good reviews online do make a big difference.

Jan 14, 2017 06:17 PM #35
Melissa Spittel
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Westminster, MD
"Achieving Results Together "

I always read reviews when I am looking to make a purchase, and I try to leave reviews for others after I make a purchase. My goal for this year is to ask more clients to leave online reviews. 

Jan 14, 2017 06:59 PM #36
Lottie Kendall
Today | Sotheby's International Realty - San Carlos, CA
Serving San Mateo County and San Francisco

Hi Tammy - online reviews are becoming more important all the time. I've started directing clients to the sites where I'd like to have more reviews. I plan to keep that up in 2017.


Jan 14, 2017 07:01 PM #37
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Area Real Estate

Yelp is really odd so I do't ask clients to go there at review time. If you're not a regular with so many entries on things you are just not going to show up. Casual users get dissed tha's for sure.

We are trying Real Satisfied now & it is working great.

Jan 15, 2017 08:58 AM #38
Diana Dahlberg
1 MONTH REALTY - Kenosha, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

Great information here ... thanks for the reminder about getting reviews.  I need to get going on that again!

Jan 15, 2017 07:06 PM #39
Sybil Campbell
Long and Foster REALTORS® 5234 Monticello Ave Williamsburg, Virginia - Williamsburg, VA
REALTOR® ABR, SFR, SRES Williamsburg, Virginia

This is a great blog Tammy.  A good reputation is priceless and good reviews really help.

Jan 16, 2017 12:38 PM #40
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Excellent advice on reviews.  I like your idea of putting them in different places.  Sending a link for reviews of where I want them has been my practice.  It's difficult to rank high in Scottsdale due to enormous competition and agents pay as much as $30,000 a month for top ranking.  Organic results with different types of phrases has been my approach. 

Jan 21, 2017 08:17 AM #41
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

I check online reviews for everything but take it all in and don't disqualify a a service or product just because of some less that glowing reports. In fact if I read too many excellent reports I tend to think that they are fixed.

Jan 27, 2017 08:29 PM #42
Michelle Tucker ~ Pooler Real Estate
!Daley Real Estate - Pooler, GA
Rincon~Savannah~Richmond Hill

Tammy great reminders.  Task for the week is to set up a system for reviews.  

Feb 15, 2017 05:36 AM #43
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