Agents need the 'courage to listen and change’

LJ Hooker has invited buyers and sellers to rigorously scrutinise its agents in a move aimed partly at repelling the threat of disintermediation.

The franchise has rolled out the RealSatisfied customer satisfaction platform to its network of 550 Australian offices.

LJ Hooker wants to lift customer service standards by asking customers to evaluate every sale, purchase, rental and property management transaction.

RealSatisfied will now deliver surveys to consumers on behalf of LJ Hooker and will also provide real estate professionals with a dashboard to analyse survey results.

LJ Hooker recently undertook the largest consumer study in its history, which involved contacting 16,000 customers and speaking directly to 980 vendors.

Chief executive Grant Harrod said that most respondents agreed that ‘real estate agents do add value’, but some raised concerns, including that their agent had provided poor follow-up or answered their phone during the appraisal.

Mr Harrod said agents work hard but can sometimes be unwilling to accept constructive criticism.

“Whilst many of us see the future of our industry in technology leadership, if we don't do the basics right we will not earn the right to a future,” he said.

“Asking our customers for feedback, which we launched for our LJ Hooker network this month, is not a revolutionary concept. The challenge for everyone is having the courage to listen and change.”

LJ Hooker’s decision to use RealSatisfied will give real estate professionals the chance to listen to customer feedback and make positive changes, according to Mr Harrod.

Mr Harrod said that amazing customer service was the reason Flight Centre had remained a profitable business, despite the threat of disintermediation from online rivals.

“From the moment a customer walks in the door or picks up the phone, Flight Centre has very specific protocols aligned with their visions around how that customer will be treated,” he said.

“With all the online options to book your travel needs, Flight Centre has successfully doubled their revenue on a shopfront-based model with their customer experience strategy ‘agents are experts’.

“Whilst the real estate industry hasn't yet experienced this same burning platform to change, do nothing and the real risk is this will come.”

[LinkedIn: Should agents be worried about the threat of online rivals?]

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