Back in April, Zillow Group announced it was rolling out changes to its Premier Agent program. Now, those changes have begun.

Zillow previously disclosed that it would soon bring several significant changes to its Premier Agent program “over the next several months.” Now, reports have reached HousingWire that this rollout has begun.

The new changes will certainly be beneficial to consumers, however real estate agents are still unsure about the changes.

Previously, real estate agents could purchase leads, which Zillow would send to them either via phone call or email. If the agent did not answer the phone, they were able to call the lead back at a later time.

But Zillow pointed out several pitfalls to this system, both for real estate agents and consumers alike. For consumers, the pitfalls were obvious – there wasn’t always an instant connection to a real estate agent when they tried to contact someone to get their questions answered.

Real estate agents also complained due to the value of the leads they would receive, as often times the callers were already working with another agent, and just wanted to ask questions. Also, several different real estate agents were able to purchase the same zip codes, meaning if they missed the call and other agent called the consumer back first, they would keep the lead.

Now, however, Zillow is changing the game. It will now have its own representatives screen incoming calls. They will make sure the caller is actively looking to buy or sell a home, not yet working with an agent and ready to speak to an agent. Once this screening process is complete, Zillow will connect the real estate agent to the caller.

However, if the agent doesn’t pick up, Zillow will automatically transfer the call to the next agent in line.

“We’ve implemented these changes to deliver higher quality leads to agents while also ensuring a great experience for consumers looking to connect with agents,” a Zillow spokesperson told HousingWire. “This will allow potential buyers to schedule time to speak to an agent when it’s convenient for them and the agent. And, when an agent misses a call for any reason, they don’t lose their place in the queue, they receive the next connection.”

If a consumer requests a specific real estate agent, the lead will be sent to that agent, and will remain with them regardless of whether or not they answer the initial phone call. However, Zillow explained this occurrence in rare.

“Our data shows the majority of home shoppers do not specifically select an agent when submitting an inquiry on a listing,” the company said. “However, when a home shopper does select an agent, that lead is much more likely to convert.”

And Zillow does warn that real estate agents’ lead volume might change, but expresses its hope that the leads agents are provided with will be of better quality.

“Your lead volume may change; however, you’ll continue to receive leads in proportion to your Premier Agent Advertising share of voice,” the company stated. “We’re now focusing on quality over quantity. Each lead you receive will be validated, ready to speak to you and directly connected to you by phone.”

The company will continue to roll out its new program across the U.S. throughout 2018. To see if Zillow has begun using its new Premier Agent validated leads in your area, click here and enter your zip code.

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