The Value of Online Reviews

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The Value of Online Reviews

Reputation management is an essential part of property management, including responding to reviews. While on the hunt for a new apartment, prospects will look at photos, read about policies, check availability, and read reviews. They want real insight into the good and bad of your community and trust each other more than your promotional content, so it’s important to monitor and respond to public  reviews.

 

What’s the big deal?

Reviews can influence the way prospects think about your business before they’ve even interacted with you. User-generated content is far more powerful than your promotional material because prospects believe it to be more true. Your reputation is shaped by these reviews and, while it may seem like you have little control, you can sway how potential customers view your brand by responding to reviews.

 

Do I have to respond to reviews?

While not all reviews warrant a response, most do. Publicly responding to reviews in a timely matter can reduce the possibility of driving other customers away. According to Google My Business, replying to reviews can build trust with customers.

In addition to strengthening your relationship with customers, responding to online reviews can also help develop your brand identity. It shows that you’re listening and interested in righting any wrongs. You could turn around someone’s bad experience or reinforce a good one.

 

Not sure where to start?

Responding to reviews can be difficult and overwhelming since you don’t want to escalate a negative situation. Negative reviews can be hurtful. It’s natural that we take them personally and get defensive, but they need to be handled professionally. Be sure to approach the situation with a clear head; step back after reading a review and let any emotions simmer before crafting a response.

The next steps won’t be easy, but take a deep breath and stay with us. First, thank reviewers for leaving their feedback, however critical. Secondly, apologize and sympathize. No matter how silly or dramatic the review may be, it was important to whoever left it. Don’t be too proud to take responsibility for your mistakes. Even if it wasn’t your fault, apologize anyways. Instead of getting defensive, focus on ‘next steps’. Communicate any changes that their review has prompted and try to make things right for the future. Lastly, take the issue offline. Provide information of who they can contact to discuss the issue further and invite them to return, so you may work to turn their experience around.

It’s easier to formulate a response to positive reviews, but by no means should these reviews be taken for granted. Positive reviewers are your greatest brand ambassadors. Thank them and welcome them back with open arms. They will appreciate the communication and send referrals your way.

 

User-generated content surrounding your brand is incredibly important for new customers, and the multi-family industry is no exception. Your online presence and reputation are crucial starting points for connecting with your target audience, so you need to put your best foot forward.

Don’t respond to reviews just for the sake of responding, make sure you have a clear goal in mind. Whether you want to turn around a negative experience, reinforce a positive one, or just take the issue offline to prevent further escalation, crafting a response must be done carefully.

 

Still having trouble responding to reviews? Are the reviews piling up? Read our blog post on determining whether you need to hire a property management team.