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How to Respond to (and Prevent) Horrifying Online Property Management Reviews

It happens to even the best property managers — the occasional stinging online review. Sometimes, the resident is justified in their complaint, and it’s up to you to make things right. But many times, the review contains false information, or the resident is simply confused about the facts of the situation. These misleading reviews also tend to be highly emotional, expressing the resident’s anger about their perceived negative experience.

Regardless of which type of negative review you’ve received, the best thing you can do is to respond promptly, fix the issue if possible, and learn from it. In that spirit, we’ve collected 4 negative reviews posted online for real property management companies. Let’s take a closer look at what could have been done to prevent each issue, and how you as a property manager could respond in each scenario to build trust with future customers and protect your business from horrifying reviews like these.

Review 1: A Frightening Lack of Follow-Through

Assuming that both of these residents are accurately recounting the situation, in this case, a lack of follow-up on a reported maintenance issue is the root cause of both of these bad reviews.

Following up on maintenance requests can be tricky, but issues like this arise most often when you’re using an offline, pen-and-paper system to track and follow up on maintenance requests. It’s easy to lose track of an issue that a resident has reported, especially when communication with a property owner or maintenance vendors is required to resolve the issue.

However, when you use online maintenance tracking tools, you can collect requests from residents in your database where no information can be lost. Within the same system, you can manage communication with the owner if an approval is needed, dispatch a vendor to resolve the problem, and stay on top of communication with the resident to keep them informed every step of the way.

Sometimes it’s not always possible to fix an issue immediately, but providing communication with the resident can go a long way towards preventing negative reviews like this one.

Review 2: Ghosting The Resident

Negative reviews like this one are often caused by the resident’s lack of knowledge regarding your office’s opening hours or communication policies, or the resident using the wrong communication channels to get in touch. To prevent this, make sure that all your residents have the right phone number or email address (not the manager’s personal cell phone number), and that they are aware of any policies you have in place regarding communication with your staff. Better yet, take as much of your communication as you can online — paying rent, submitting maintenance requests, or even getting answers to questions about company policies can all be accomplished via an online resident portal.

If indeed this resident is reaching out using the appropriate channels during opening hours, there may be an underlying staffing issue. It’s possible that your team simply doesn’t have enough time to adequately handle resident requests, or that the team is understaffed. One of the best ways to increase productivity without increasing headcount is by introducing automation in your business — this allows your team members to provide the best possible resident experience without getting bogged down in time-consuming, offline processes.

If the problem is with employee hiring and training, check out some of our tips to attract and keep a high-performing team.

Review 3: A Lifeless Leasing Process

Staying on top of leasing communication can be one of the hardest aspects of property management. Not only is it difficult to respond to leasing inquiries around the clock, but following up with leads to schedule showings quickly and efficiently can be a major challenge. 

If this is an issue your team is running up against, take a look at our tips here for improving lead-to-lease conversion by following up with leads quickly and efficiently. New advancements in technology have made it possible to reply quickly to 100% of leads, around the clock, by leveraging conversational AI solutions like AppFolio’s AI Leasing Assistant, Lisa

In situations like this one, Lisa can reply right away to questions about the property, allow the prospective renter to schedule a showing, and send text messages to remind them of their appointment — all without taking up any of your team’s time. 

To address the issue of showing properties only during working hours, you can also consider allowing prospective residents to do a self-guided showing. This is made possible with lockbox technology that allows the customer to securely gain access to the unit, at a time that works for them. 

Review 4: A Hair-Raising Hallway Complaint — Salvaged by a Skillful Manager

Although the issues reported by this resident would scare away many prospective renters, the property manager who replied to this review aced it. Their reply shows a genuine concern for the renter’s situation, explains what has been done to solve the problem, and offers to continue the conversation offline to resolve the issue. 

Even though this manager never explicitly calls out the resident or implies their review is not truthful (or blames the problem on this resident’s neighbors), the earnest reply and non-combative way that they presented evidence in their favor suggests that they have acted with integrity. This reply leaves a positive impression that would boost trust for any prospective renter reading it. 


For more tips on how to provide the best possible customer experience, so you can prevent reviews like these and turn your residents into raving fans, check out our guide, “How to Deliver Excellent Service to Residents in the On-Demand Economy.”