Online reviews can have a huge impact on the success of your rental property. In fact, according to a study commissioned by Apartment Guide, nearly seven out of every 10 people looking for a new apartment seriously considered ratings and reviews before making a decision.
It’s pretty natural for landlords and apartment managers to feel a little queasy when it comes to online reviews. Because these reviews are public, the thought of having even a couple of negative reviews is understandably scary. Managed poorly, these reviews can really deal a blow to a landlord or property group’s reputation.
But because online reviews are an essential part of today’s buying culture, it’s important for rental properties to be listed on review sites with the right information. Equally as important is for owners and managers of these properties to maintain an active presence on these profiles and engage with both happy and unhappy reviewers. Here are a couple of tips to help you do just that.
1. Delegate a trained individual to handle your review profiles
Even communication professionals commit mistakes when it comes to responding to reviews, particularly the testy ones. Remember, your review profiles are among the top searchable pieces of information that pop-up when people look up your property.
Put your best foot forward by delegating a team member who is trained to respond politely, eloquently, pleasantly, and in a friendly manner no matter the nature of the review they are responding to. It may be best to establish response guidelines, so you know that each response will be an acceptable one.
Regardless, someone needs to be responding. Not responding at all can make your property seem like you do not care about your tenant’s opinions, or that you are uninvolved.
2. Handle negative reviews promptly and politely
There are two main motivators that drive people to take their voices online, namely — delight and frustration. Don’t ignore the latter. Just because they are not saying the nicest things about you doesn’t mean you don’t need to engage with them. Acknowledge positive reviews with gratitude and enthusiasm, and acknowledge negative reviews with a sincere apology, followed by a fair solution.
The worst thing you can do is to not follow through with the solution you’ve put forward. Show your audience you care by using the negative information you’ve gathered on your review sites to make your tenant’s experiences or property better.
3. Respond to reviews right away
Don’t procrastinate on replying to reviews. Whether the reviews you’ve received are good or not, respond as quickly as possible.
Reviews are visible online for everyone to see. Negative reviews from a tenant can swiftly deter potential interest and may even “go viral” or be shared across several social media platforms. Handling reviews immediately show other potential tenants that you are attentive and you care about your tenants. Even a quick reply to a positive response can go a long way towards impressing prospects and pleasing reviewers.
4. Strive to get updated reviews from happy tenants
It’s okay to ask happy tenants to leave a review for you. If they are willing to do so, point them to your most important review site — one that generates the most clients for you — or one of your review profiles that can use a little love.
Happy tenants will also defend you from unwarranted negative reviews, so don’t be afraid to ask. Prospective tenants are always interested in the “now” so make it a point to encourage your tenants to leave reviews regularly.
5. Promote your positive reviews
Don’t hesitate about promoting your best reviews, after all, you’ve earned it. Feature them strategically on your website, post them on your social media platforms, and use them in your collateral pieces. Get the most out of your best reviews by making sure they are visible to your prospects.
Don’t take your online review profiles for granted and don’t be scared to respond. Be sincere in your responses both to positive and negative reviews. Strive to be casual and sound as human as possible, no one wants to talk to a robot. If reviews are a little sour, take it as a sign of room for improvement. Reviewers can be forgiving so as long as you “man up” to the issues. Offer a good resolution and actively seek suggestions on things to improve.