MAY / JUN 2016

New review portal for OrangeTee property agents

Minister of State for National Development Dr Koh Poh Koon (centre) with OrangeTee representatives - (L-R) Agency Director Simon Yio, Adeline Lo, Raymond Khoo, and Alex Goh (Photo: MND)

Empowering customers to make informed decisions. Raising industry service standards. Building resilience to the disruptive world.

These are the three key reasons that led OrangeTee to set up the Property Agents Bank. This is the first property agent review portal of its kind by a property agency in Singapore that allows customers to review and rate its property agents.

OrangeTee's agents have received more than 700 reviews through the portal since its launch in February 2016. The platform also enables prospective customers to assess the agents' specialty areas, track record, and customer ratings before choosing their preferred agents.

Getting prepared for disruptive technologies

OrangeTee managing director Steven Tan said the company realised that disruptive technology is a new emerging trend. "There are more and more technology companies who want to become the 'Uber' of various industries, including the real estate industry. In fact, this is already happening as there are some DIY platforms in Singapore."

OrangeTee is of the view that such online reviews will also help to reduce the impact of disruptive technology on the agency business as customers will be more confident in engaging property agents. "We want to be ready and engage with our customers more effectively before they switch their attention to the DIY property portals," said Mr Tan.

Taking a "customer-first" approach

This initiative also motivates agents to provide service with a "customer-first" attitude, rather than take a more traditional sales-driven approach.

Mr Tan added that after they launched the Property Agents Bank, they saw a mindset change in some agents. The agents realised that they will be reviewed for their service from the first day they start to serve their customers.

While the agency is prepared to lose agents with poor reviews or those who do not support the initiative, it has seen some positive changes.

"We observed that our agents are more proactive in upgrading themselves to make sure they are able to provide better service to their clients. I think this is an effective way for the industry to self-regulate the service standards of agents. It will motivate the agents to do even better when they get positive reviews."

Motivating agents to provide better service

To ensure that reviews are legitimate and credible, each customer's review on the Property Agents Bank search engine includes essential information such as the transaction ID, a brief property address, and the type of transaction. The reviews are unfiltered and will be tagged to the agent for 12 months.

OrangeTee agent Alex Goh said that he was initially apprehensive about the new platform. "Opinions can be very subjective, and this is particularly true for our business, which can involve large sums of money, multiple stakeholders, and moving parts. So there are many inherent opportunities for emotions to run wild, especially negative ones."

Since then, he has come to see the portal as an opportunity to increase customer engagement and collect useful feedback to improve his team's service quality.

For Adeline Lo, the feedback she had received via the portal so far has motivated her to provide better service for clients.

"I was very happy with the customer reviews, especially since I have been serving some of them for quite a while. The fact that I can help my clients solve their problems by fulfilling their needs gives me great satisfaction."

Other agents were also encouraged by the customer reviews. For Raymond Khoo, the first review he got was a morale booster. "I was glad that my client gave feedback that I was responsive and she would want to engage my service again in the future."

On the benefits of the portal, he said, "The Property Agent Bank has helped me to lift up my business outlook and belief that if I continue to provide excellent service, there will always more business opportunities."

Going forward, OrangeTee intends to develop a separate website for the review portal and plans to expand their brand into the region by leveraging this search engine.

Minister of State for National Development Dr Koh Poh Koon visited OrangeTee on 4 May 2016 where he was briefed on their Property Agents Bank. To read Dr Koh's comments on how property agencies can respond to improve on their service to consumers in light of potentially disruptive technologies, check out his Facebook post and our other story in this issue of CEAnergy.

Does your agency have initiatives that enable your agents to better serve clients? These could be in the form of new technologies, work processes, or value-added services that your company offers to clients. Get in touch with us at feedback@cea.gov.sg and your initiative could be featured in an upcoming issue of CEAnergy.

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