Are Testimonials Reliable ? Hmmmm

By
Real Estate Agent with EXP Realty 414-525-0563 57026-90 Broker

When you are trying out a new product or service the first inclination if you do not know someone who has used this kind of service or product before is to look on line. What does "the public" say in their reviews ? Sometimes the comments are glowing...the experience sterling and it appears you could not make a mistake by trying that product or service.

  Maybe as a regular part of your practice, at closing, you ask your Seller or Buyer to submit an evaluation of your service to various sources for all the world to see that you have indeed gone above and beyond the "usual and customary" services provided ...and have yet another very pleased client with the quality of service you provided .      

     We believe, that people only take the time to comment when emotions run high...they are very pleased or very displeased. You rarely see anything in any comment section that says..."job was done satisfactorily."testimonial It doesn't make for good reading...doesn't really tell anyone, anything..and the client really has no strong emotional reason to comment. We have all had the experience when someone raves about ...that restaurant...that service..this product and when you try it...YICKS...not at all the same experience.

     Well...I sure did "Digress"...we had Buyers who bought a beautiful home and it was their first home...great neighborhood and wonderful flooded housefeatures, well maintained...they loved it. Our winter last year was brutal and they came home to find a pipe had frozen and burst in the wall. The once spotless colonial had water throughout two floors...ceilings falling down...walls soaked, hardwood flooring buckling under puddles. They did not know what to do first and called us...David, the "mechanical Hanson" made a house call and contacted their 24/7 emergency insurance number. David turned off the water to the house and our Buyers relocated to a Hotel until enough work could be done for them to return.  The Insurance company dispatched a suggested restoration company. Apparently, the Insurance Claims person had not researched the company beyond the glowing reviews online and had no reason to expect anything other than first rate service....and that was not the case...

     We would call the Buyers every couple weeks and they would say that things were "progressing." All the drywall in many rooms had to removed, new electrical service..the furnace replaced...and the list continued...but in less than a timely manner. The restoration company repairs was well aware of what the Homeowners didn't know...the Homeowners were not. "Stories" began to surface as the weeks became months of inconvenience.  "It would take weeks to have the city inspect the work. White is a popular color for a sink, they are on backorder everywhere. The cost of moving a floor to ceiling bookcase across a room was $600."

  After months of trying to deal with this catastrophe on their own,  they asked us if we could take over dealing with the restoration company...they now knew what they didn't know...realistic time frames, permits and inspections, the order things needed to be done and by whom.....and we had them write the company a letter indicating that we were their representatives. Needless to say...the "Restoration company" was not pleased...the lies had to stop and the work continue ...or in some cases start...in a timely and more efficient manner. We were unfortunately, bound to the company because the homeowners had signed a contract...but the timetables were quickly changed and the work completed.  

 letters  Letters have been sent to the insurance company making sure that no homeowner is ever subjected to this kind of treatment again using this company who had no ethics...took advantage of what the homeowners didn't know...and inflated insurance paid costs as much as 300%.

  Difficult times sometimes don't allow for lengthy research...and "Restoration companies"...we have no learned of others as well...use this state to take advantage of homeowners.  As Agents we have a lot of resources...individual trades people ....and have now added reliable restoration companies that may have the huge task of drying out and replacing walls and flooring...Just in case !

   We know many of the members of Active Rain are PRO active when it comes to helping your clients. Research this important area...talk to people who have been "serviced" by restoration companies so that if disaster strikes...you can recommend companies with confidence best suited to do the work efficiently, honestly and professionally.

       This has been a professional services reminder post brought to you by Sally K. & David L. Hanson,Broker Associates with EXP Realty, LLC, honored to be of service for all things real estate in southeastern Wisconsin.

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Sally K. & David L. Hanson, ABR, CDPE, CSS, e-Pro,ILHM, REDS


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Rainmaker
456,269
Michael Eisenberg
eXp Realty - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham Real Estate Guy

Yikes, What a disaster, I once had a buyer move into a vacant home I had listed. The seller asked me to make sure the heat was on so the pipes wouldn't freeze over a cold winter spell. Well I did, but somehow it got turned off, no idea how. Pipes froze and when buyer moved in they were pretty upset, luckily no damage other than broken pipes and a relatively inexpensive bill I picked up.

Jul 29, 2019 04:34 PM #31
Rainer
150,785
Shawn Krill
Platinum Living Realty - Peoria, AZ
Shawn Krill, CPA

I look at testimonials as a starting point.  Obviously I would prefer a word of mouth referral but I also try to get in contact with past clients time permitting so I can ask my own questions.  Insurance companies usually have a few different restoration companies they use but in the end if they are paying the bill and they want to use company x you use company x but hold company x to your standards.

Jul 29, 2019 05:45 PM #32
Rainmaker
3,251,534
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

That's not the way it works all the time Shawn Krill ...If the restoration company you chose for whatever reason charges $5 a nail and you are in the middle of a mess...there are no higher standards...the insurance company gets the bill and everyone's premiuns go up because of this kind of dishonesty.

Jul 29, 2019 05:51 PM #33
Rainer
150,785
Shawn Krill
Platinum Living Realty - Peoria, AZ
Shawn Krill, CPA

Im not saying it does there will always be one off's however, you as a home owner or a representative have the ability to question whatever you want.  I agree there are companies out there that will charge 5 dollars a nail but if that happend to me i would go by a box of nails for 5 dollars and drop it off to them.   Ive been in situations where i have had to do something like that.  I Go by the premise you don't know what you don't know but if it feels wrong, or sounds wrong you need to question it which it seems that is what was done here.  Im not condoning what happened I just pointed out what i have done in the past to learn and to also protect my clients.  Please don't be offended with my comments

 

Jul 29, 2019 05:56 PM #34
Rainmaker
3,251,534
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

Only after we were called in did the prices and schedules get done as they should have all the way along...IF you sign a contract you don't get to supply the nails...not at all offended...it's just not the way a contract works in this case...and with first time home buyers not in their native country...the "restoration" company took advantage of them at every turn until we became a part of the situation Shawn Krill . The restoration company had themselves covered...including being fired, supplying materials etc....Ethics was not part of their business practice. Preying on homeowners was indeed their game.

Jul 29, 2019 06:00 PM #35
Rainer
15,075
Jim Edwards
Preferred Home Inspection Service, LLC - Murfreesboro, TN
Home Inspections and radon testing

I don't put much into online reviews but I do trust in person recommendations. I find it very irritating when I spot a fake review.  I read a Google review about a home inspector and it  said " he used a Flir EX8 thermal imaging camera" blah blah blah. What? Nobody would write that! I think some people create fake emails and write their own reviews. It's sad and misleading. 

Jul 29, 2019 06:25 PM #36
Rainmaker
463,474
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

A gleaming example of the importance of knowing what you don't know and where to go for reliable recommendations.

Jul 29, 2019 07:20 PM #37
Rainmaker
3,251,534
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

True enough Diana Dahlberg though I suspect most people...first time buyers or not would believe a recommendation from an insurance person.

Jul 29, 2019 07:32 PM #38
Rainmaker
1,537,388
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

I've read too much about bogus reviews - and about people being paid to write reviews when they've never tried the product / done business with the company. And then of course there are those negative reviews written by competitors.

I've noticed on Amazon lately that some of the reviews say "Verified purchaser." That's a good thing.

Jul 29, 2019 08:56 PM #39
Rainmaker
1,320,699
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

I see the scammer hasn't deleted your post yet. 

Jul 29, 2019 08:58 PM #40
Ambassador
899,810
Lynn B. Friedman
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty Call/Text 404-939-2727 Buckhead - Midtown - Westside -- and more ... - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Sally K. & David L. Hanson 
Such good advice - PROactive seems to be a trait we share on ActiveRain - doesn't it? This week we went to water an amazing perennial garden for Clients who were away for two weeks.  Full service ...  

 

Jul 29, 2019 11:50 PM #41
Rainmaker
2,454,564
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

I listen to all remaining objective while seeking out the truth. So far so good

Jul 30, 2019 06:10 AM #42
Rainmaker
314,212
Dave Rosenmarkle
Highland Realty - Arlington, VA
32 years of providing fully satisfying service!

I, too, read the posted reviews/recommendations with a critical eye. But on important referrals, I also try to cross-check with different web site evaluations like the Washington Consumer Checkbook, Yelp and Google provided assessments. All of sudden, the 5 stars quickly drop to 3 +/-......

Jul 30, 2019 06:20 AM #43
Rainmaker
752,797
Robert Rauf
HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ) - Toms River, NJ

That is a good example of when you should hire an independent insurance adjuster to have your back!  but in terms of reviews- I often go right to the bad ones first - I personally get more from them in terms of how realistic the person is being, and how responsive the vendor is- If the vendor replies to the bad review - I am more apt to consider them 

Jul 30, 2019 10:41 AM #44
Rainer
476,889
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

I'm skeptical of most Internet testimonials, regardless of comments, positive or negative. Are the testimonials real or fake and how would you know? Unethical companies can employ marketing companies to write either positive comments about their business or negative comments  about their competitors. 

The best testimonials have and always will be word of mouth from family members, friends or associates you know and trust. 

Jul 30, 2019 01:01 PM #45
Rainmaker
375,172
M.C. Dwyer
Century 21 Showcase REALTORs - Felton, CA
Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

What a sad situation.    I wonder if this is common in that line of business.

Jul 30, 2019 03:33 PM #46
Rainmaker
164,388
James (Jim) Lawson, DBA
DomainRealty.com LLC - Bonita Springs, FL
Broker Associate, RSPS, BPOR, HI & PE

I know the feeling! Was on winter vacation 725 miles away when I got the call. A copper tube in the baseboard hot water heating system froze and burst just inside the front door. Fortunately, had a buddy send over one of his techs to fix it within two hours after it was noticed and secured. I still blame the builder...me! Damage was minimal except for the ice dam just outside the front door. I still give myself a negative testimonial on this one.

Jul 30, 2019 11:56 PM #47
Rainmaker
3,251,534
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

You were fortunate James (Jim) Lawson, DBA this was an all day very big leak !

Jul 31, 2019 04:09 AM #48
Rainmaker
350,830
Lynda White
Bluegrass Homes & Farms Realty, Agent Know How - Louisville, KY
Admin. Mgr., Keller Williams Realty

You know, when I am looking for a hotel I usually trust the reviews but I started working for an HVAC company and wow, just wow, on some of the reviews they leave...people that have never used our company before, or saying things that just didn't happen, or their cousin/best friend leaves a review for them, on and on. It really makes you think. I still think reviews are useful, but now I wonder if someone says a hotel has bedbugs if they are just saying that because they are mad about the price or something else. At the same time, I don't think I'm going to use a hotel that might have bedbugs whether it's true or not! So yes, it's damaging to the reputation and I imagine REALTORS have to be very careful when asking for reviews. 

Aug 01, 2019 05:36 AM #49
Rainmaker
514,713
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

I read some online reviews but prefer to rely on actually talking to someone who has first hand knowledge of the contractor.  Often in that situation, the tendecy is to get someone right away to take care of it..

Aug 01, 2019 01:34 PM #50
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Rainmaker
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Sally K. & David L. Hanson

WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce
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