Online reviews are a fantastic way to bolster your search engine rankings; connect with past, current, and future residents; and improve/maintain your reputation. In 2013, 60 percent of people polled by Local Results stated that online reviews were important when conducting business searches. Fast forward to today’s Real Estate market space and you’ll find that online reviews continue to gain influence. To date, 88 percent of people trust online reviews more than personal recommendations. With these compelling statistics in mind, Real Estate professionals must take the time to carefully read and respond to each online review.
Be Open to Feedback
Before you can even begin to respond to online comments, you must first have some. Here are a few tips to help you build up your reviews.
- Reach out to your highest quality residents. Choose some renters that you know are happy with the property and ask them to provide feedback. If you ever send thank-you notes, why not slip in a little request for a review, too? Send out a quarterly or annual email asking for residents to share their experience. Sometimes a simple reminder is all it takes.
- Share the wealth of reviews across multiple social media platforms. If a client has reviewed your services on Yelp, they might be willing to also provide a review elsewhere, like Facebook or Twitter. Reach out to those people who’ve left positive reviews and see if they are willing to write just one or two more.
- Encourage renters to comment before and after. Place a review card in the welcome packet and/or closing packet of new residents.
- Create a page on your website where renters can a) leave a review and b) read reviews. This tip has two major benefits. The first being that the easier it is for people to find your company on a review site the more likely they’ll leave one. So having links to your profiles on all the most popular review sites is useful. The second is that being transparent and surfacing your reviews for people to quickly scan might give people the nudge they need to pick up the phone or fill out an online application.
6 Reasons to Respond to All Reviews (Yes, ALL)
Once you start to gain more and more online reviews, you will need to find the time to professionally respond to each and every review. Remember—good, bad, or middle of the road—each review is an opportunity to improve your customer relations and learn a valuable business lesson.
- Responding to positive reviews provides a great opportunity to thank your renters. If they took the time to review your property, then you should take the time to show your appreciation.
- People like to work with property managers who are courteous and attentive. Responding to all reviews is a great way to show that you really do take time to work with people one-on-one.
- Replying to reviews allows you to remain actively engaged with your past renters. You never know when your friendly response might garner a referral or two.
- Adding your reply to a review lends credibility that might otherwise be lacking.
- Responding to bad reviews shows your capacity to accept and learn from criticism.
- When done right, replying to negative comments gives you the chance to explain your side in a professional, non-defensive way.
Reading and responding to all of your online property management reviews can help you greatly strengthen your resident relations and bring in some prospective renters who might otherwise be on the fence about your property.
Additional resources on managing your online reputation: