Here at Fourandhalf, we handle Internet Marketing for Property Managers. This week, we are talking about how property managers should respond to negative reviews. The most important thing to keep in the top of your mind as you respond to a disgruntled review poster is your audience. And who is your audience? Not the public, not the person you are responding to, but a property owner. Maybe a property owner coming to that review site to do their due diligence and check you out. Think of that possible client looking at everything you say.
With that firmly in mind:
You need to be timely and professional when you get a negative comment on Yelp, Google, or any other site. It’s extremely important that you are on top of this. You don’t want those bad reviews to just sit around. Negative reviews with no response from the company do not look good.
Set up an account for yourself on Google and Yelp, the most important review sites. Depending on where you’re located, there may be other local sites that will need your attention as well. Check your accounts on a regular basis. Google and Yelp will not tell you about it every time you get a review. There might be a monthly email that goes out to let you know you’ve received a handful of reviews, but you don’t want to wait that long. You need to check those review sites every week.
When you get a negative review – and you will – take the conversation offline immediately. You do not want to get into an argument or a back and forth discussion online. Think about it this way: if you have someone complaining about your services to you in front of your actual location or your storefront, with people walking by, you wouldn’t stand there and allow the conversation to escalate in public. If someone was complaining that maintenance wasn’t done when it was needed, you wouldn’t want to have that conversation in front of everyone. Instead, you would invite the customer inside to talk about it. When you go back and forth with a disgruntled reviewer online, you’re doing the exact same thing.
Think about your ideal customers – property owners. When they see you get into an argument online, they will assume you are going to treat them the same way you treat those complaining tenants. Don’t let them make that assumption. All you have to do to avoid this is take it offline. Check regularly, be timely and be businesslike. There is no need to get personal. You don’t want to say anything that will allow the conversation to continue in a public forum. Simply say something generic, like “I’m sorry for your experience. My name is John, here is my phone number if you want to call me and talk about this.” Don’t give them any kind of hook or a reason to continue the conversation online.
Your ideal customer is the property owner who is looking for information about you online. You want to look timely and professional and you want to look like you treat people well. Remember that it’s okay if people complain about you doing your job. If someone complains that they were evicted, or didn’t get their full security deposit back, or didn’t get an apartment they applied for – those are instances of you doing your job as a property manager. As long as you handle the complaint professionally, property owners will appreciate how you respond to those negative reviews, and see them as an instance of you doing what you’re paid to do.
So when you get a negative review, keep it short, simple, generic and timely. Always take it offline, and you’ll be in a good position to help people focus on those positive reviews. If you have any questions or you need help managing your online reviews, please contact us at Fourandhalf.