Fri 08 Mar 2019
We have just received our latest online review on www.referenceline.com, and it caused us to ponder on the wider subject of online reviews.
Many of us do rely on reviews to help in making a decision on which company to use in various walks of life, such as taking a look at TripAdvisor before booking a meal or a hotel. Like us, you probably know its best to 'read between the lines' sometimes as you wonder if a particular review is genuine, and maybe that reviewer is a friend of a competitor, etc.
With property selling, some of the larger corporate agencies and so-called online agents (we are all online these days!) make much of their large amount of brilliant reviews, which form a major part of their advertising.
Our own attitude is that reviews are best obtained when a sale transction has been completed, so that is when we ask our sellers and buyers if they would be kind enough to leave us a review. At that point, they are reviewing how we performed from start to finish. You can be sure that all our reviews are genuine - Referenceline is approved by The Property Ombudsman and Trading Standards. If we receive a negative review (and it has happened once) we are given the opportunity to respond to it, but it cannot be withdrawn.
On one particular review website we have observed that where a low rating and critical review is given, some agents query the review, resulting in it being withdrawn whilst investigated. If proven genuine, the review is re-listed to be fair, but is then further down in the viewing order, so perhaps has less impact?
Some of the larger agencies seem to request reviews at a very early stage, sometimes even just after a potential buyer has viewed a property, or for sellers when they first decided to use the agent, so it does seem odd that such a review and accompanying star rating can appear to carry as much weight as a review at the end of the whole process. An awful lot can happen from start to finish of the sale process, so an early opinion can be drastically changed, for good or bad.
To summarise, therefore, our review of review sites, leads us to think that whilst useful they often need to be taken with that proverbial pinch of salt!