Repuation Architecture has been floating around the internet in recent months. Jonathan Washburn talked about it here. Reputation Architecture : How to multiply the effects of "Remarkable Service". Yet there is no true definition for this phrase, but we can define reputation. Reputation defined by Merriam is the overall quality or character as seen or judged by people in general, a good name.
I wrote this post yesterday, Stop eating with your fingers - use your silverware - There are some good articles listed in my post that you should catch up on. Which will lead us into more details in the post below.
So, what's at stake? Your reputation, right? Will one be able to hide behind a mask anymore? Be able to hide behind false ads that tell others how great they are? False testimonials on specific web sites?
As stated in previous articles, we have already seen reviews for such things as cars, movies, travel destinations, consumer products and now local restaurants. What will be next? Your local dentist, cleaners, barber, Real Estate Agent, Loan Officer, local lenders?
The 1 million dollar question - Can this kind of system actually hurt others? Be abused? Will the good out weigh the bad?
One of the main themes that I see repeated over and over is that we talk about educating the consumer so they can make better choices. But how and where can this be done? Who gets chosen as the true expert in real estate or regarding mortgages. Through blogging? Word of mouth? What information is right? Wrong? Misleading?
The Present - So let's jump to the next level. The consumer has found that person or company that they want to work with through today's channels. They have a bad experience. They can usually complain to friends, family, or the internet by using such sites as Facebook or Twitter.
The Future - That same person has a bad experience and now can report it to specific sites that will be tracking such services of a realtor or loan officer.
The Online services (to report bad experiences) - Can they be manipulated? What will make these sites to be the authoritative expert? What happens if you are dealing with someone in a bad mood or that it was just bad timing. Or that this person carries a chip on their shoulder, or a person that is just never ever happy.
What happens if you are just terrible or have bad luck picking such services or individuals. Carla Muss wrote - Don't blame me if your picker is broken.
Example : The new licensing requirements for loan officers. In a way, this can be like a rating system, because the loan officer is officially licensed. (leaving realtors out of this, because they already needed to be licensed.) I have seen loan officers in their comments on Trulia or in blog posts thump their chests and tell others that they must deal with a licensed loan officer. One who has been tested nationally and state wide and who has been finger printed. Okay, the finger print thing is a good thing and just means that you have not been charged with a federal crime relating to finances. But the mortgage tests itself? 60% of the tests are based on ethical questions and mortgage related laws. Only 40% of the tests are about general mortgage knowledge or mortgage loan activities, which is mortgage 101 to me. Anyone can fake being ethical and most should know what a mortgage application is and how to collect pay stubs, W-2's, and bank statements.
My main point, I am still seeing the same number of buyers being denied last minute because of incompetence. Maybe a loan officer doesn't know how to properly compute income or read a pay stub, missing a specific loan that appears on the pay stub. Or that they just look at the credit score, but don't properly read the credit report. Or when there are problems, can't be found. The SAFE Act was designed to enhance consumer protection and fraud. Or was it more of a money scam? And many of these loan officers that I have seen sell the new licensing laws are the same ones putting out the wrong information.
I think there are just some basic and common sense things that we all should be doing to begin with.
- Transparency - just be honest, upfront, sincere, and genuine.
- Don't over promise and under deliver
- Good follow up, keeping in touch with your clients, good or bad
- Provide good and knowledgeable information & services
- Be seen and heard - Through blogging, on facebook, Twitter, Zillow, Trulia
- Know your reputation online now, who is talking about you and why - Google Alerts & Twitter Alerts
My opinion? There will be an opportunity for us all to shine based on the 'quality of service', if the system is used correctly. But how many systems are put in place more so as a money maker, and that the consumer comes second. What do you say? Thoughts? How can we get around these issues mentioned?
KEEP THIS IN MIND : "If you haven't figured it out by now, there are people with bad experiences within the real estate and mortgage industry who tend to pick bad agents or loan officers. If you are next in line when picked after a bad experience, and because that person already has a bad taste in their mouth, you need to be better than just good. Why? You might already be starting in the basement."
ps.. Active Rain's theme for 2011 for the RainCamps is Reputation Architecture - are you going?