McRae’s welcomes changes made by the digital age of business
In a world dominated by online reviews, it is sometimes easy to forget that, only a decade or two ago, we existed without them. Word of mouth, guide-books, advertising, or a good word in the paper could make a business, but many companies could get by with relatively low standards, knowing that new customers would have no way of knowing whether their quality was up to scratch.
This all changed in the 2000s. The advent of TripAdvisor meant that takeaway restaurants that once hid in the shadows were haunted by unhappy customers’ thoughts. Vendors selling online now had to perform well when it came to Amazon reviews or be drowned out by stronger competitors. In its purest form, the technology that compiled individual perspectives did more for raising standards through competition than anything else had managed in years, giving the power back to individual consumers.
Naturally, this didn’t just stop at dinner and online shopping. Real estate, an industry plagued with negative connotations, was an sector that had a huge amount to gain from the implementation of a review system. Any business process where you are not likely to repeat it again for decades is one that is more exposed to bad practice than most – previously, the incentive for return custom was the one of the few drivers of high service, and this did not naturally occur in the industry, as people rarely buy multiple houses in quick succession.
This change towards a review system helped weed out the frauds in the field, but also allowed those who had been quietly and consistently dedicating themselves to improvement to step into the limelight. Craig McRae, Managing Director of McRae’s Sales Lettings & Management, has been operating in the property industry for 20 years. Not only was he a fan of review systems being introduced to the sector; he helped to bring it to the industry.
Writing in his best practice article for The Parliamentary Review, McRae says ‘in helping to pioneer this independent customer review scheme from The Property Ombudsman and Reference line, we put our neck on the line’. However, McRae’s small team and dedication to customer service has seen the company score at 98 per cent when it comes to satisfaction in sales, and 98 per cent in lettings.
McRae cites the 2008 financial crash and the Brexit vote as challenges that have affected the industry, but believes McRae’s is in a strong position, penning that ‘we see ourselves as a cottage industry. There are bigger players out there, but they can’t always tailor their approach and they don’t have our level of local knowledge or local ties’. As the digital age drives innovation forward, early and enthusiastic adopters of practices that make industry more transparent like McRae’s are the ones to pay attention to.