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Brooklyn Brokerage is Very Sorry, Begs Your Forgiveness

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Every once in awhile, our inbox is graced with a press release so beautiful, so golden, that we are compelled to share it with you in its entirety. To whet your appetite, here's just one paragraph from said release:

Armed with the internet, the New Brooklyn Renter can make a very big impact on a broker’s business - for better or for worse. A positive recommendation or negative rant about a customer's experience used to only travel as far as their friend’s ears, but today, an irate customer can click their way onto Yelp!, Curbed, Brownstoner, or hundreds of other online forums to make themselves heard. And Rapid Realty definitely heard them. They’ve invested in consulting, new customer service staff, a website overhaul, and a new focus on up-front fees. They even went as far as issuing a Statement of Regret to apologize to customers that they may have burned in the past.Now, we can't find the statement of regret on Rapid's website, but on behalf of the entire New York City real estate community, we'd like to accept their apology.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BROOKLYN REAL ESTATE RENTAL FIRM GETS REAL ABOUT CUSTOMER SERVICE
In light of a slowing real estate market and a new type of customer, Rapid Realty is restructuring to focus on customer service Brooklyn, NY – Over the past several years, Rapid Realty has grown to become one of Brooklyn’s largest apartment rental agencies, but in today’s Brooklyn, size isn’t all that matters. When online reviews began to highlight the firm’s weaknesses, they decided to invest in cleaning up their reputation.

Armed with the internet, the New Brooklyn Renter can make a very big impact on a broker’s business - for better or for worse. A positive recommendation or negative rant about a customer’s experience used to only travel as far as their friend’s ears, but today, an irate customer can click their way onto Yelp!, Curbed, Brownstoner, or hundreds of other online forums to make themselves heard. And Rapid Realty definitely heard them. They’ve invested in consulting, new customer service staff, a website overhaul, and a new focus on up-front fees. They even went as far as issuing a Statement of Regret to apologize to customers that they may have burned in the past.

“Real estate has always been a cut-throat industry in Brooklyn, and we got wrapped up in the competitiveness,” says Rapid Realty’s owner Anthony Lolli, “But when I started to read what customers were saying about our approach, I knew that we had to make some changes.” So, the company started doing a lot of research on what today’s Brooklynites customers were looking for in a Broker. Then, they began working with a business consultant to put together a plan.

“We found that people walk into a broker’s office expecting to be ripped off,” says Rapid Realty’s consultant Dustin Buss, “and with that mentality, a company is always operating on defense – it pits the customer against the company. Ultimately, we had to become a lot more up-front with clients and lay out a realistic set of expectations. Clients and staff are much more at ease with the process when they understand it.” That’s where Rapid Realty’s new website comes into play.

Rapid Realty’s website (http://www.rapidnyc.com) was been reconstructed to provide a lot more information about how the rental process works. It explains all the fees that a client can expect to incur during the process, as well as the differences between a “No Fee” and “Broker Fee” apartment. It also gives a renters a lot more tools for contacting the company if the information provided is insufficient.

“It may seem cheesy, but we’re a whole New Rapid Realty,” says Lolli. “We think differently, we train differently, we even invest differently. We want our customers to know that we’ve learned from their feedback, and we are going to make it up to them. It’s a continuous process and we’re far from perfect, but we’re going to emerge from this recession as Brooklyn’s best rental agency.”

So just what were the people saying that prompted Mr. Lolli's radical, visionary overhaul? A peek at the Yelp and Citysearch review pages for Rapid shows—well, the usual mix of shill-a-riffic five-star reviews and a whole bunch of really nasty one-star reviews (with more than one reviewer wishing, in vain, for the ability to rate them using negative stars). But that's the past! Let us greet the new, transparent future together!
· Rapid Realty [rapidnyc.com]