Online reviews are great, right? You can read reviews on that product you want to buy, and get all of the inside tips on what a companies advertising isn’t telling you. That’s awesome! Until someone is online reviewing your business, and it’s not good.
As a matter of fact, it’s terrible. And exaggerated. And not at all the reality of the situation. And they left out so many facts! So what do you do? Now that review is out on the inter-webs for everyone to read, it’s a big problem indeed as 78% of prospective residents use online reviews when choosing where to live. That’s a huge number of potential renters making decisions that have nothing to do with your marketing efforts.
When you consider that 31% of non-renewals are due to poor maintenance experiences, and a good maintenance experiences account for an 80% increase in resident satisfaction, you realize the value of online reviews relative to property management.
All is not lost. There are some things you can do in order to save face in the online review community.
- First and foremost, respond. Do not respond, however, with the intent to prove the reviewer wrong. Respond with empathy. This doesn’t mean accepting blame, it simply means acknowledging that the reviewer is having a hard time with the situation at hand. This will show the online community that you care to engage and have the integrity to address the situation.
- Get the conversation offline. In your response, be sure to offer a channel of communication such as email or phone number that will take the discussion out of the public eye. If things escalate it’s better to not have millions of eyes following the drama and potentially donating their two cents. By getting the conversation somewhere private, it allows you to maintain some control rather than participating in a hostage-type situation.
- Finally, truly look for a resolve. Try not to take the review as a personal attack, but rather as a way to improve for the next person. Is there a consistent theme that needs to be addressed? Live and learn, fix it and move on.
As another consideration, think about integrating review sites with your existing software. Platforms such as GatherKudos, Reputation.com, Grade.Us offer options to the property manager for publishing reviews which offer controlled transparency.
And as a final thought, likely the 31% of tenants not renewing due to a poor maintenance process are disgruntled renters leaving reviews on their way out…don’t let maintenance woes be the reason it’s not all good in your ‘hood!