How to Manage Online Reviews

Every business gets negative reviews. Yours will too. How they effect your buyer’s decisions is entirely based on how you respond to it.

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We’re all aware of the importance of online reviews in today’s business. Thanks to the internet, it’s easier to share an opinion now, or to make decisions based on perceived satisfaction. In addition to word-of-mouth recommendations, the first place customers take to narrow down their options, is reading online reviews. 89% of consumers viewed online reviews as trustworthy–and another 80% have changed their minds about a service based solely on the negative online reviews they read.

All it takes is one bad service experience to trigger customers to discredit your property and your management on review sites — and those reviews survive forever on the Web!

So, how do you manage your online reputation? Do you respond to them 100% of the time? Let’s look at 3 ways that you can manage your online reviews:

Resolve Issues Before They Become Negative Reviews

Online Preventive maintenance isn’t just for appliances and equipment — it can also be applied to your reputation! The best way to avoid negative online reviews is to prevent them from happening altogether. A good way to do that is to communicate to your tenants that you have an “open door” policy and they can freely approach you for any problems or suggestions. Show that you want to resolve issues. Give them a direct contact of someone from your management team that they can reach out whenever any issue arises. Do a “health check” by calling or emailing tenants periodically to see if there is anything that requires repairs in their rentals or if they have any pending administrative issues with the management.

Respond to Negative Reviews as Objectively as You Can

Receiving and replying to negative online review can be emotionally challenging, but the worst thing that you can do is to ignore it. You cannot let a negative review sit out on a major review site with no public response. Instead, respond and express your concern about the customer’s experience. Politely mention that you will contact them directly to discuss about it offline. Some customers can be impossible to please, but as long as you identify the root of the problem, you can craft a firm and professional response to the review. But what if the commenter is deliberately being rude and off-putting?

Here are quick tips on how you can react to negative reviews online:

1. Cool Off – Give yourself 24 hours to collect yourself and to gather answers to their negative claims. Doing so will make you sound professional, calm and collected in your reply.

2. Be Brief – Long responses can make you look defensive and petty. Make your response short and direct to the point.

3. Take It Offline – You don’t want to start a public conversation about a customer issue. Politely ask them to contact you privately so you can discuss the issue at length.

4. Don’t Take It Personally – Not saying to ignore negative online reviews or not let it change what’s wrong in a situation – but don’t let it ruin your day. Every business will get a negative online review one in a while. Just learn from it and work to provide a great experience for your next customer.

Never underestimate the power of a negative review. But like any business challenge, welcome it. Don’t take that as something that is beyond your control but rather as an opportunity to improve and grow as a business.

Run Your Own Review Campaign

You can conduct your own survey to learn how your company can do better and understand where your customers need your support the most. This is beneficial for 2 reasons: first, you can get some great testimonials that you can use to market your property to future tenants. Second, it shows tenants that you care about them and builds trust between them and you. Talk to them about their response to the survey. Make them feel that you totally understand their concerns, and you are willing to make changes happen. Don’t be afraid to ask good renters if they can post a review for you online. Asking a renter while they’re happy with you to leave a review can help you build up positive reviews to drown the negative reviews that you may have online.

Don’t Ignore Positive Reviews, Either

Similarly, don’t ignore a positive review either! Express gratitude to the commenter, reinforcing your willingness to listen and offer solutions whenever it’s needed.

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