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Why Do Real Estate Companies Bomb Customer Satisfaction Surveys?

There are some things we tend to take as fundamental truths.

Just a few examples might include the law of gravity or how Treasury debt ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô even in the face of credit downgrades ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô remains beyond reproach for investors. Or how, given the choice between making safely innocuous remarks and off-the-cuff zingers that land him (and his boss) in hot water, Vice President ""Joseph Biden"":http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/vice-president-biden will probably choose the latter, if we take ""one recent gaffe"":http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0812/79717.html as proof positive of the trend.

Nowadays, people may add to their roster the idea that home buyers and sellers seem to downright dislike their real estate companies.


According to a recent report by ""J.D. Power and Associates"":http://www.jdpower.com/, home buyer satisfaction with national real estate companies fell to its lowest level in the history of the five-year-old survey, a record low on par with mortgage rates.

The firm said that overall satisfaction slipped to 789 on a 1,000-point scale, down from 797 in 2011. Seller satisfaction followed the trend by averaging 768, down from 779 from the same time frame.

""Although home buyers and sellers are aware of continuing challenges in the real estate market, a key reason satisfaction is down is that customer expectations are not being met, either in


terms of sellers having to compromise on their listing price, or for buyers who are compromising on the home's condition and size,"" ""Christina Cooley"":http://www.linkedin.com/pub/christina-cooley/46/517/b47, senior manager of the real estate practice at J.D. Power and Associates, offered in a statement.

""This is understandably frustrating all around,"" she added.

The study tied real estate companies viewed more favorably by buyers and sellers to the frequency with which these companies capture a sizeable proportion of the listing price. The firm said that sellers report obtaining 89 percent of their listing prices from their real estate companies.

Several companies withstood the test of customer satisfaction ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô at least by the standards of 2,990 evaluations and more than 2,790 respondents. These included ""Keller Williams"":http://www.kw.com/kw/, which J.D. Power found ranking highest in both buyer and seller categories, with lofty scores among agents and salespeople to boot.

Buyers ranked ""Prudential Mortgage"":http://www.prumortgagecapital.com/businesscenter/realestate/pmcc/home/welcome.shtml second after Keller Williams and sellers second-placed ""Coldwell Banker"":http://www.coldwellbanker.com/.

According to Cooley, companies like these ""set themselves apart in terms of working closely with their customers and meeting their needs,"" a courtesy that she says ""may play an important role in both managing expectations, but more importantly, exceeding them.""

This isn't the first time real estate companies wallowed near the bottom of customer satisfaction surveys. A ""Leads360"":http://www.leads360.com/ white paper from August last year found that ""only 21 percent of mortgage lenders made an effort to follow up with borrowers"":https://themreport.com/articles/study-more-lenders-fail-to-follow-up-with-borrowers-2011-08-12.

Then again ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô revealing just how wishy-washy these surveys sometimes are ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô the same report by J.D. Powers from July ""tracked a jump in customer satisfaction among servicers"":http://www.dsnews.com/articles/study-reveals-customers-are-more-satisified-with-servicers-2012-07-19. Which maybe means that you should get the facts and find your own truth.

Interested in sharing a story about your experience with a real estate company? Pass an email our way by writing us at editor@themreport.com.

About Author: Ryan Schuette

Ryan Schuette is a journalist, cartoonist, and social entrepreneur with several years of experience in real-estate news, international reporting, and business management. He currently lives in the Washington, D.C., area, where he freelances for DS News and MReport.

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