It might come as a surprise, but research shows that 85% of consumers actually trust online reviews as much as they would a recommendation from a friend or family member. And, as a real estate professional, that can have a huge impact on your business. Why? Because any potential tenants who are considering leasing a property under you, or requesting property management services, might be persuaded by something they read online.
Positive reviews are fantastic news, but what happens when you get one that’s negative? This isn’t only going to damage your business immediately – it can have a substantial knock-on effect to your reputation down the line.
For this reason, it’s important to understand how you can manage and prevent bad reviews from tenants. Read on to learn how:
Preventing Negative Reviews
Make Your Service Tenant Focused
The more focus you place on your tenants, the stronger the relationship you’ll build with them. If you have open communication channels, they’ll be likely to bring their concerns and grievances to you before posting them online.
If you receive a complaint from a tenant, the first thing you should do is listen to their concerns patiently, following up with how you might be able to resolve them. This will help out hugely in your day-to-day role too, as happy tenants are much more likely to make on-time rent payments.
Request Feedback by Email
Periodically send out emails to your tenants to request feedback. This will give you the opportunity to isolate any negative reviews before they’re taken online and start to damage your reputation.
If the feedback you receive actually ends up being positive, you could always ask your tenant if they’re happy with you using it as a testimonial for your website. Furthermore, you could always ask them to copy and paste their feedback onto a public forum such as Google, Facebook or Rate My Agent, as this will help to bolster your brand and build trust with potential new tenants and landlords.
Encourage Tenants to Leave Positive Reviews
If you’ve had a couple of negative reviews, an influx of positive ones can help to lessen the damage. Additionally, if a tenant goes onto a review site to leave a negative review, seeing a large number of positive reviews might dissuade them into thinking their bad experience was a one-off. This could drive them to get in touch with you directly to solve their issue.
Responding to Negative Tenant Reviews
If you’ve received a negative review from a tenant, there are a couple of actions you can take to mitigate the damage.
Quickly Locate and Address Negative Reviews
The longer you take to respond to a bad review, the more people are going to see it. As a result, you need to address them quickly and effectively. If you don’t, the damage to your brand and bottom line will begin to stack up.
You can tackle this issue by regularly monitoring any online channels you have that reviews can be left on. This can either be done by checking in once a day or setting up real-time alerts, so you get a notification when someone leaves a review.
Remain Professional and be Empathetic
If someone’s leaving you a negative review, it might come across as an attack to your business, so it’s understandable for you to get defensive. However, to best handle the situation, you need to remain calm and put yourself in the tenant’s shoes. You shouldn’t take it personally – instead, you should view it as an opportunity to solve a problem a tenant is experiencing. You need to realise that a tenant is only going to leave you a negative review if they’re incredibly upset or frustrated.
When you respond to their review, you need to empathise with them and show them you understand the problem they’re facing. Apologise for any damage or inconvenience that’s been caused to them and keep your replies short and to-the-point. This will help to avoid an endless chain of messages that go back and forth.
Handle Your Negative Review Privately
If you’re able to work out which tenant has left the review, it could be worth getting in touch with them directly to see how you help. After you’ve done this, reply to their review publicly, stating you’ve tried to get in touch with them privately to address the matter.
If you can’t identify them, provide your contact details in the reply to give them the opportunity to get in touch with you. If you manage to speak with them and address the core issue, ask them to take the review down. You should, however, be careful with doing this, as it might leave the impression that you’re only helping them as a result of the review.