The Ratings Game: How to Handle Negative Reviews
Fall weather is here! I must admit it is one of my favorite times of the year! The leaves start turning, the air is crisp and clean with just enough breeze to really make you feel invigorated in the mornings.
Fall also means the number of people looking for apartments is declining, but this time of year gives the on-site staff an opportunity to focus on outreach, social media and their online branding efforts. Many of you have asked questions about responding to negative reviews on ApartmentRatings.com, YELP, Google Places, Yahoo! Local and the many other websites out there that give people the opportunity to voice their opinions about your communities. Here are a few tips to help you through the minefield of reviews.
Take steps to protect your online reputation
If you do any research on this topic, you will find millions of articles written on this subject. It was one of the most talked about topics at the national apartment conferences this year. You may be surprised at how many management companies have not developed a game plan for responding and taking control of their online reputation. In a recent survey, more than 75% of renters ranked online ratings and reviews as their top tools in helping them make a rental decision.
So how do you get started?
- Have a game plan. Develop a program that outlines who will monitor your online reputation with specific guidance on how they will respond.
- Take the conversation offline. You never want an online argument.
- Keep the response brief and polite. Do not get defensive, no matter how negative the reviewers’ comments may be.
- The fastest way to defuse the situation is to be polite and drive the conversation toward a personal phone call with a manager or executive of your company. Show the people reading the reviews that you are as passionate and determined as the reviewer in your effort to solve their issue in a polite and professional way.
- Understand the tools at your disposal.
- The worst plan is to ignore the negative reviews and hope that no one reads them. Many times, if your response to a negative review is well written, timely and apologetic, the reviewer will remove or edit their negative comments if they feel you have appropriately addressed their issue.
If you would like more information on this subject, try one of the links below:
- Search Engine Land: 5 Tips for Responding to Negative Customer Reviews Online
- Local Vox: How to Respond to Negative Online Reviews
- Yelp: Responding to Reviews
Thank you for all of your positive comments over the last several months. I have enjoyed hearing from you. If you have topics or ideas that you would like to discuss, please post in the comments below