Online Review Site for Sectional Title Industry
By Jennifer Paddock
According to a survey from Dimensional Research a staggering 90% of consumers say buying decisions are influenced by online reviews. When one considers the popularity of websites like TripAdvisor, Yelp, Booking.com and Foursquare this statistic is hardly surprising. Personally, I won’t book a hotel before assessing its reviews on TripAdvisor.
But what does this have to do with the sectional title industry?
I am a big advocate of transparency and I believe we should have a platform, specifically for our industry, where businesses and service providers can be rated and reviewed so that our customers can make more informed buying decisions. Customers want to know they can trust a business before making the buying decision.
I know many businesses have developed a love-hate relationship with online reviews. They can be incredibly beneficial – helping to bring in new business, but if you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a negative review you’ll know how frustrating they can be.
Either way, customer reviews both offline and online (but more increasingly online) are playing an important role in how customers are finding and using businesses. I say we accept this fact and embrace it. Do you agree?
With my involvement in both Paddocks and Mystrata I hope to be involved in a project where we get an online sectional title service provider review site started.
Would you embrace it or would you hate it? Share with us by commenting below.
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In one complex I know, the MA and his partner have relocated to CT, so he is NEVER in Joburg, except for the AGM.
Please start an “Out the box” similar to this website, where owners can give good as well as bad reviews of Managing Agents. It is too easy for a MA to say that his contract states that he must only attend the ONE AGM a year.
He collects levies, but he could not be bothered to check how the money is spent – “heaven” for trustees. Nightmare for owners. A MA who does not even read the notices sent out by his agency on behalf of the trustees, should be blacklisted. At the very least, he should check that the ST is not directly flouted under his company’s name.
Jennifer, could you not create a “list of musts” / a “cheat sheet” to be put in the contract of a complex /trustees with a managing agent.
No 1 – EAAB
No 2 – NAMA member
No 3 – Informal unannounced inspection of complex twice a year, to enable him to advise trustees and pick up potential problems.
Comments from others would be appreciated.
Hi Yvonne, you might enjoy this post I wrote: https://paddocksblog.com/2014/05/06/jens-5-top-tips-for-managing-agencies-keeping-your-staff-and-customers-happy/
Just a thought – could this not be linked to mystrata.
Hi Frank – thank you, I have had the same thought. The answer – maybe! Watch this space 🙂
I still have this feeling that one or two residents with axes to grind could ruin the reputation of a ST scheme. How would it be possible to prevent this sort of thing? I’m not familiar with such a site . . . how would the laws of libel apply?
Hi Anne, if someone feels that a review is untrue or unfair they would be able to comment on the review to give their input – so it is not only a one sided platform. If a scheme or managing agency is unfairly slated by an unreasonable person, one of the staff of the managing agency or trustees/owners in the scheme could ‘reply’ in the comment section of the review and state their point of view… Have a look at a a thread of reviews on Tripadvisor for example: http://www.tripadvisor.co.za/Hotel_Review-g312658-d507295-Reviews-The_Twelve_Apostles_Hotel_and_Spa-Camps_Bay_Western_Cape.html
New laws regarding internet bullying, which by the way, South Africa have been one of the first countries to implement/pass a law making it possible to prosecute, people who hide behind their computer screens carrying out such despicable actions. People need to be made accountable for defamation, bullying and slandering and this law apparently takes care of that.
But why reinvent the wheel? There’s http://www.sto.co.za ; sectionaltitlesa.co.za; numerous sectional title pages or groups on Facebook and paddocksblog.com
http://Www.sto.co.za is really aimed at the ST owner who knows nothing about ST act- questions such as” I plan to add a room”. And ” the roof leaked and trustees won’t repair the inside”
Jennifer’s forum would be aimed at the knowledgeable and would be reviews. This is an outstanding idea Jennifer.
On the face of it, it sounds like a good idea, but if I were a service provider I would share Leighshe’s concerns.
Also; I have heard that on sites of this nature it has been known for service providers to post glowing comments about themselves, under various aliases. I don’t know whether there is some way of policing this practice.
Hi Anne, my idea is to create an industry site which has much more functionality than just the rating and reviews and to ‘join the community’ I foresee a profile being created which would be shown next to the review and the profile would be linked to an email address that would need to be verified. So I suppose if someone went to the trouble of creating a fake email address and created a bogus profile then it is possible that fake reviews could be posted but I would definitely do some research (if this idea goes anywhere) to see what we could do to avoid fake postings…
Fake reviews emails etc can be blocked via IP CPU specific number. Match poster to IP CPU code name. Each computer has one, Each location has IP address. A simple CAPCHA linked to login to post review comment might also just do the job.
I think your idea of Site for ST reviews info is brilliant! Run with it!
Would strongly support any reviews to assist Sectional title owners and Body Corporates (BCs) in trimming ever burgoening expenditure.
Many BCs are ignorant when it comes to matters like Utility Charges, Escalating Insurance costs, Security Charges and the like.
This might be what Jennifer has in mind:
We, as 5 concerned owners, have repeatedly requested information from the MA. So should the MA be reported under the Consumer Protection Act?
I trust that you can help. I would really appreciate it.
This is a request for the managing agent, under the sectional title act, not addressed to the trustees, but addressed to the MA. I would appreciate a reply within 3 working days as I need this information for completeness for the end of the financial year.
Could you please email me a copy of the
contract of Stone Crest with the security company.
contract of Stone Crest with the managing agent.
contract of Stone Crest bwith the gardening service.
contract of Stone Crest with the Premi-Cell Gate Access – or copy of the purchase/installation and service and guarantee document.
contract, spec and guarantee document of the roof waterproofing company.
updated insurance policy document (20-40 pages long).
2014 fidelity fund certificates of all the directors / managers (each one) of Whitfield.
2014 Whitfield directors and staff members membership confirmation of EAAB and NAMA.
A plan of complex as registered with the deeds office
Copy of document – Whitfields registration as a debt collector
Copies of the latest statement to Eskom / municipality / Joburg City to show that all costs are paid up to date.
Most of these should be on your Whitfields Stone Crest website for use by all owners.
It is of concern that a transparent management system is not in place.
Personally I would welcome the idea! One unhappy owner or one dropped ball does not an unsuccessful management agency make, many owners/dropped balls does!
Do or do not, but do not try @Wenus 🙂
Bad idea! One unhappy owner and your entire business is slated online. We deal with far too many owners and are the Trustee’s messengers far too often to make everybody happy. Nobody remembers the fact that you may have saved the Body Corporate thousands of Rands because one cared enough to query a high billing with Council and fight it or that one fought with a contractor or negotiated time and time again, but they all remember the one ball their managing agent drops. The dropped balls are never forgotten and given the expectations on managing agents, we will never be able to service the industry the way owners expect to be serviced.
I hear you Leighshe and understand the concern. If the service provider (ie. the managing agency) had a chance to respond to the reviews then they could put the negative reviews in context. On the flip side, when you have done something above and beyond like saving a BC thousands of Rands you could encourage the trustees to write positive reviews and you would then have glowing reviews in your favour…
Jennifer, this is an excellent idea. One should be able to search by complex name, by management agency or by the name of the management agent.