You’re never going to please everyone, but these days angry renters or ex-renters are more empowered than ever thanks to the Internet. All it takes is one bad experience that wasn’t resolved to their satisfaction to prompt them to slam your property and your management on one or more of the various review sites. Being that more than 90 percent of consumers either regularly or occasionally read online reviews, and nearly 85 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as they do recommendations from their friends, you can’t ignore their impact.
What’s the best way to monitor and manage online reviews? Here’s a closer look:
- Try to resolve issues before they occur: Preventative maintenance isn’t just something that should be carried out on your car and appliances, it can also apply to property management. The best way to avoid a bevy of bad reviews is to do your best to prevent them from occurring altogether. There are several ways you can do this. For instance, you can stress that you have an open door policy with your tenants where they can approach you with suggestions or problems at any time. Another way is to keep a comment or suggestion box in the common areas where tenants can anonymously leave their feedback. If you send out a newsletter – no matter whether it’s printed or emailed – include an information box about how tenants can contact management if an issue arises. Show that you want to help resolve issues. The initiative can go a long way.
- Don’t be afraid to respond to negative reviews: The worst thing you can do with a negative online review is ignore it and hope that no one sees it. If you have the option, respond publicly to the negative review expressing your concern about the renter’s experience and inviting the commenter to contact you directly. You can even politely mention that you offer several ways for tenants to express concerns and suggestions to management. On a similar note, don’t be afraid to respond to positive reviews either, expressing gratitude to the commenter and reinforcing management mission statements for others to see.
- Conduct your own reviews/ratings: This can be beneficial for a couple of reasons. One, it can net you some great testimonials that you can use when marketing your property to future tenants. Two, it can help you understand ways that you can improve the property without reading a public negative online review first. All it takes is creating an online survey and then sending it out to your tenants. It also shows tenants that you care about them, which can build trust.
- Ask for what you want: Don’t be afraid to ask your favorite renters if they’d mind posting a review for you online. Perhaps after having a great chat with them – doesn’t matter if it’s in person, on the phone, or via text/email – asking a renter while they’re happy with you to leave a review can go a long way in building up positive reviews that drown out the noise from negative reviews you may have out there.
As we said, you’re not going to please everyone. It’s how you go about preventing – and then reacting – to reviews that matter most.
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