Handling Negative Online Reviews: Be Honest, Proactive, and Responsive

leaving a review

No matter the business, working with the public, requires professional communication skills. Being honest, proactive, and responsive are three elements to use when managing negative reviews.  

An Honest Image is Key to Proactive Management

A key point, as found on Zumper, “always portray your units and/or living community in an honest way; anything else will cause your renters to have unrealistic expectations, which may snowball into a negative review.” Not only can a dishonest image portrayal result in disgruntled renters, but you may also be losing prospective residents who walk away and share their findings. 

Proactive Management is Looking at All Online Reviews 

As the Zumper article highlights in their third step, you can “set up a Google Alert, so you always know when your property is mentioned, in any capacity.” Why not see what all the reviews say about your property?

As we all know, people are more apt to write a negative review, and you must address these reviews. But why only address the negative reviews? Expressing appreciation is always good business. It may lead to enticing more residents, who are happily living on your property, to also leave more positive reviews. 

Responding to Negative Reviews Show You Care

Let’s jump back to the second step. “Once you receive a negative review, even if the reviewer is completely off base, you should respond to it.

  1. “Take responsibility. You know what they say—the customer is always right.”
  2. Your response should be public because you want your residents to know that you care enough to address issues.
  3. Respond professionally with sincerity, and express that you’re available to them. You want to fully understand the problem, especially if you feel they are “off base.”
  4. Whether the resident is off base or has made a valid complaint, “offer a solution to the problem.” 
  5. Don’t forget to “follow-up via email, phone, or in-person visit.”

Negative Reviews Can be Positive for Your Property

Not seeing any negative reviews may also give the wrong impression, like something is too good to be true. Another excellent resource, Inc., helps you take bad reviews and use them “in a positive way.” 

  1. As long as you don’t have a high percentage of negative reviews, “the negative reviews highlight positive reviews.”
  2. “Negative reviews help set realistic expectations.” What one person saw as a problem may not be a problem for another resident. 
  3. Today, transparency is vital to building customer trust. “Negative reviews help build trust.”
  4. “Bad reviews are opportunities to engage” with residents, and you should try to “turn a negative review into something positive by responding with a solution.” 
  5. Negative reviews can be the information you need to improve your property and “learn from your mistakes.” When multiple negative reviews pertain to the same problem, then the problem requires immediate attention.

When you put everything above together, it’s all about taking responsibility and following up on any negative reviews with positive actions. Whether good or bad, reviews are a vital part of property management. The positive ones make you look great, and the negative ones allow you to engage and show you care. 

Focused on hiring the best people to manage our properties, come find out more about Marquette Management, and our properties. We believe we are the best place to work, live, and invest!

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