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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Buyers & Sellers Are Now Being Asked to Rate Agents at Participating Firms

[Printed Mar. 28, 2013, in the Jeffco editions of the Denver Post's YourHub section and in five Jeffco weekly newspapers -- with some added content]

In my Dec. 27th column I announced that the Denver Metro Association of Realtors (DMAR) had signed up with Quality Service Certification, Inc. (QSC) for its program under which participating brokerages provide the names and email addresses of all agents’ clients — both buyers and sellers — so that QSC can solicit feedback for the purpose of creating a valid rating system.  The results are published at www.RatedAgent.com. The program started Jan. 1st for DMAR members.  Some members of other metro area Realtor associations have been participating in the QSC program for about 3 years. 

Well, here we are at the end of March, and Denver agents are beginning to show up on that website. If you search Golden or other Jeffco cities on that website, you'll see my own rating.
Those agents who have had two or more surveys returned by their clients are being given numerical ratings on a scale of 1 to 5.  Very few agents have a rating of 5. Most have ratings in the high 4’s, which adds to the credibility of the system, unlike the Five Star Professional program touted by 5280 Magazine, where every agent is rated “Five Star.”

 
In the QSC program, you see actual ratings given by each client on a couple dozen criteria, which are different for buyers and sellers. Written comments are shown when provided in the survey responses.

Each agent who is rated gets to see the full response from each buyer and seller so that he or she can learn from their feedback. We do not get to delete unfavorable responses.  It’s all or nothing. We can’t pick and choose the good ones.

In the Five Star Professional program, the agent is not told who rated them and what they said. Instead they are simply told they have been awarded the designation and then asked if they would like to buy different size ads (written by the agent himself) in the advertising supplement which will appear in 5280 Magazine. A barebones listing without contact info is free, but the awardee can purchase a directory listing for $445 up to a 2-page spread for $9,295,  Based on their rate card, Five Star Professional’s earnings from its 58-page insert in September’s 5280 Magazine was just under $300,000 — not counting the hefty fees for wall plaques ($195-250), reprints ($1.95 each), extra copies ($5 each), postcards ($195-895), the license to display their award emblem ($295-395), and seven other items/services. 
 
The QSC program is supported financially by the National Association of Realtors and by the local Realtor associations, such as DMAR.  For DMAR members, participation is free.  The QSC program does have a $50 upsell to become “QSC Certified.”  Elsewhere, The QSC certification costs $199, but it has been reduced to $50 for DMAR members.  There is no other upsell, and no other fees.  I'm not charged, for example, to have the QSC widget on our website or on my email signature, linking to my online rating.
 
Participation is on the company level.  Individual Realtors only get to participate if their company signs up for it. 

 
As you hopefully already know, not all real estate agents are Realtors -- that is, members of a Realtor association.  Five Star Professional doesn't distinguish between Realtors and non-Realtors, but QSC is strictly a Realtor program, so you can be certain that any agent on www.RatedAgent.com is a Realtor.
 
If you'd like to see the 2012 Five Star Professional insert published in last September's 5280 Magazine, I have posted it at www.JimSmithColumns.com, along with the rate card referred to above. In separate posts on this blog, I'll share the feedback I got from several Five Star Professional awardees who got to preview this week's column before it was published.  In another post, I'll also share the email exchange I had with Five Star Professional's media manager, from whom I had hoped to get answers to such questions as how they acquire the buyer and seller lists for their surveys.  (That information is "proprietary.")
 
I invite readers of this blog -- especially those who disagree with this posting -- to use the comment option to add their own experiences and opinions on this subject.

1 comment:

  1. I have a few corrections from March 28th's column about the QSC rating program, as noted in the following email from Matt Wimpress, Customer Service Manager at Quality Service Certification, Inc.:

    -NAR and the Denver Metro Association of Realtors (DMAR) have partnered with QSC to offer the REALTOR® Excellence Program (REP). Participating in the REP program does not make an agent Quality Service Certified (QSC).

    -Agents in the Denver metro area have been participating for well over 10 years. QSC has been around for 15 years. The REP program started at the beginning of this year.

    -Taking the service training and becoming QSC is not an “upsell”. QSC is an additional option that any agent can take advantage of.

    -Individual agents can participate in QSC, the RatedAgent.com program or the REP program. It is not limited to brokerage participation.

    -QSC is open to all real estate agents, whether or not they are a REALTOR®. However, because the REP program is sponsored by NAR, and any agent looking to take advantage of the discounted costs offered through this program must be a REALTOR®.

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