By now, you know how five-star reviews can be a huge boon for your business; you may even have considered paying for stellar property management reviews. Today we’re talking about why that’s not a good idea – but, before we do so, let’s discuss why a property manager might even consider it.

Property Management Reputation Takes Work

When it comes to generating positive reviews for your property management company, it’s tempting to try to outsmart the process. Everyone wants a good reputation, but property management is not like other industries. For example, look at the food industry: if a restaurant provides good service and good food, there’s a good chance that a happy or satisfied customer will share their experience. It’s a business that has one type of customer to satisfy.

Unfortunately, property managers have at least two customers to keep happy – owners and tenants. Your first obligation is to the homeowner: you are managing their property, possibly their biggest asset. A homeowner, however, doesn’t necessarily think to leave a review for their property management company.  It’s not a one-time event or service, but an ongoing relationship.

Tenants, on the other hand, have no problem expressing their opinions online and, unfortunately, a single mistake can undo months, or even years, of good work; which in the case of property management, can be hard to see when you’re a tenant. It’s not easy to generate positive reviews for your company, so some people might think that they can sidestep the process by paying for reviews.

Paying for Reviews Has Consequences

While the idea is tempting, there are some serious repercussions. In the past, we at Fourandhalf have had to help people dig their way out of the aftermath. When you pay for reviews, there’s a very good chance you will get caught.

If you get caught by Google or other platforms, there is a risk to getting blacklisted online – meaning that you are risking all of the hard work you’ve put into marketing. Your business could be flagged, your reviews could be removed, and your Google ranking could plummet.

Earning Trust from Potential Customers

We have seen companies who have paid for reviews get pop-ups on review sites that warn others of their suspicious activity. See this example from Yelp:

screen-shot-2016-09-15-at-3-41-10-pm

Imagine a potential client doing research on property management companies and seeing that you’ve done something totally unethical. It’s difficult enough to get somebody to trust you when you play by the rules – spending a lot of time to gain the trust of Google and Yelp users. So when you destroy that trust, you will have a lot of catching up to do – and it may not work.

This is a similar outcome to employing black-hat SEO, where you buy spammy links to your website in order to influence search rankings. Sure, your website may be ranking high, but that could be only temporary once Google implements a new update. You can find yourself on the 13th page of Google just when you had managed to get to page one.

Gather Positive Reviews the Right Way

Manage your reputation the right way. Educate your clients that with their helpful reviews, they can attract higher quality tenants for their rental properties – great tenants also want to work with the highest rated companies. If you want excellent reviews, get them honestly from the homeowners you work for, the vendors you work with, and the tenants you work to keep happy. You can even source reviews from colleagues at NARPM conferences. All of these are legitimate sources for five-star reviews.

If you have any questions about your reputation and how to earn better reviews, contact us at Fourandhalf.