Words can damage your reputation or build it up. Whether they're spoken from one friend to another, written on a review site, or shared on social media, the words that people say and write have a great influence on how other people see your business. If you have less-than-flattering reviews and you're wondering how to respond to those reviews, you'll find the following information helpful.
Find Negative Reviews
It's an unpleasant search, but it's one that must be done. As a property manager, you need to know what people are saying about your business. Take some time to read and respond to property reviews. Do this as frequently as you can, as sometimes time is of the essence. For example, Web Marketing Today suggests that "Promptly responding to negative reviews shows the customer that you care and value their opinion. It may also be the catalyst that results in a person who had a bad experience with your business giving you a second chance."
Set up a Google Alert with your business name, and when people mention your name online these alerts will land directly in your inbox. Consider this damage control to be part of your digital marketing strategy.
Shine a Light on Negative Reviews
When you find a negative review, what do you do? You may decide to respond, but you can also decide to ignore the negative review. If it's buried beneath other positive reviews and is obviously not receiving a lot of attention, it may be better to allow it to pass without commenting on it. Some companies decide to pursue a policy of responding to every review, while others do not.
Delete the Review When Appropriate
Sometimes, a review may be from someone who is making damaging and untrue comments about your business. It may be a tenant or owner who is unsatisfied, or worse, it could be a competitor who's trying to damage your business reputation. In this case, you may want to try and delete the comment. Some websites have a feature that allows you to report comments and request that they be deleted if they don't comply with the website's guidelines. In fact, according to the California Apartment Association, "A false statement of fact published on the internet may be actionable, including as libel (harmful to a person's reputation), trade libel (harmful to a person's business reputation), interference with contracts (e.g. interfering with leases with current tenants), or interference with prospective business relationships (e.g. interfering with prospective applicants for tenancy)." If another person or organization persistently writes untrue statements about your business, you may have the right to pursue them with a cease and desist letter.
Most negative property reviews are not made by people who are intentionally trying to damage your organization's reputation. They're annoyed and they're sharing negative information to allow others to share in their annoyance. If a negative review appears on a website that prospective tenants would perceive to be neutral or if it is receiving a lot of attention, you should probably respond to the review.
Be positive when responding to the reviews. Express empathy to the person in question, and if possible, offer a solution or reparations. Apologize to the person in question. By doing this, you'll not only do the right thing, you'll be seen to do the right thing by others who are online, enhancing your reputation. In a best case scenario, a difficult property review that's handled well can become positive advertising for your business.
Learn From Negative Property Reviews
In addition to responding in words, you can also respond to your negative reviews with actions that allow you to improve your business. For example, if someone expresses frustration that your record-keeping is slow and inaccurate, it may be time to shift to an online software system that speeds up your ability to respond to tenants' needs. Rental property management is not easy, and by learning from your negative experiences you can improve your service in the future.
Keep Communicating to Improve Rental Property Management
Positive communication strategies such as online tenant portals can make a world of difference to your business communication. For example, with a tenant portal, a worried tenant can look at property information online and reach out with questions and concerns. This helps reduce the number of complaints on review sites.
"Even if you do get negative feedback, you can turn it into a positive by engaging in a constructive way and showing that you're a genuine business," said Shama Kabani in a recent Forbes article. Understanding and working with the data in negative reviews can make your business better.
“We wouldn’t be the company we are without Propertyware… it allows us (with only 2 people) to manage the entire business” – Jeff Shelton / 3rd Base Realty
Technology has made it easy for dissatisfied customers and tenants to share their experiences on various review sites and at social media networks. It also makes it easy for you to find and respond to these reviews, if required. As your business grows, you need the support of people and products that will ensure that you can grow well. Looking for property management business tips? Contact Propertyware today. Sign up for a free trial.