A stellar online reputation is a must for any property management company. For one thing, potential clients usually base their first impressions on online reviews.
Needless to say, the better your online rating, the better the chances of potential clients doing business with you.
Regardless of how well you conduct your business, however, the fact is that you won’t please everyone. Even a single negative review on one of your rentals can affect your clients’ overall impression of you.
When you get one of those reviews, it’s your job to respond in a way that says: “We care about your feedback, whether it’s good or bad. ”
Here’s how to deal with negative online reviews in property management.
Assess the Damage
Before you respond to the review, take a step back and analyze it. Is the review based on fact? Does it touch on a legitimate complaint, like a broken washing machine? Or is the reviewer complaining for the sake of complaining?
If the complaint is valid, respond to it as soon as you can. Not only will this soothe hurt feelings, but will also show prospective clients that your company takes complaints seriously.
If the reviewer is making baseless accusations, think about whether it’s possible to have their review deleted. For example, sites like Yelp will consider removing a review, provided the following criteria are met.
- The content is plagiarized
- The language is vulgar or threatening
- The content is promotional
- The content is irrelevant
- The content contains information that’s private
- The content is requesting payment
- There’s conflict of interest.
These types of comments don’t have any value for the review community, so they’re easier to get rid of. You only need to send a request to the review site asking them to take it down.
Assuming the negative comments have some merit, here are tips you can use to turn things around.
Keep Your Review Responses Professional.
Don’t take negative reviews personally. Be professional and objective with your response. Be aware that not everyone is going to be happy with you 100% of the time.
If you’re having a hard time keeping your emotions in check, the best thing to do is to wait a day or two to respond or have another employee do the responding for you.
Respond in a Timely Fashion.
When dealing with online reviews, time is of the essence. The quicker you respond, the faster you can save your business’ reputation. If it takes you six months to post a reply, people might get the impression that responsiveness isn’t a strength of your company.
Also, make sure not to rush into writing the response. You need to respond promptly, but you also want to come across as respectful and considerate. If possible, have a colleague go through the response before posting it.
Be Direct With Your Response.
Don’t be passive-aggressive with your response. Instead, reply directly to the reviewer’s “pain point.” Doing this will not only improve your chances of winning back the client, but it will also show prospects that you genuinely care about providing good service.
If you can, try to make your response public. By doing so, you show that your company is professional, dedicated and serious about resolving the problem.
On the other hand, you might get caught in an endless back-and-forth match between your company and the reviewer. In this case, find another way to address the reviewer’s complaints.
Message The Reviewer Privately.
You should also respond to the complaint in private. If the reviewer is stubborn and unreasonable, it might not be a good idea to engage them publicly.
Many review sites have a business ‘dashboard,’ which allows you to respond privately to reviews. You can send a message to the reviewer in which you:
- Introduce yourself
- Appreciate them for doing business with you
- Appreciate their feedback
- Apologize for any bad experience
- Outline what you understand to be their concerns
By making the reviewer feel that you care about them personally, they might retract the negative things they said about you. As always, be professional and polite when dealing with disgruntled clients.
Think About Your Prospective Clients.
When responding to online reviews, always keep your clients in mind. Whether they are or will be, doing business with you, they’ll definitely be watching how you respond to online reviews. And your response will help them determine if it’s a good idea to make use of your services.
As much as possible, respond to every review your company receives, whether good or bad. By responding to the positive ones, you reinforce the reviewers’ good impression of you. By addressing the negative ones, you demonstrate that you listen to and care for customers regardless of their experience with your company.
As a property manager, you’re going to have to deal with bad reviews at some point. When that happens, remember that time is gold. The quicker you respond, the lower the impact of the negative review on your reputation.