As noted previously, online ratings and reviews play a critical part in the later stages of the renter journey, when a prospect is deciding whether or not to visit a property. While negative reviews can impact your online reputation, so can letting both positive and negative reviews languish, untouched, on the internet. By taking a few steps to manage your ratings and reviews, you can increase your renter reach and recapture the leads that you’ve been missing.
Don’t fear negative reviews – they serve a purpose, and eliminating them entirely can be harmful. Consumers mistrust an overwhelming number of positive reviews just as much as they mistrust negative reviews. In fact, according to a study by PowerReviews and Northwestern University, “82% of shoppers specifically seek out negative reviews” as part of their decision-making process. Instead, pay attention to the mix of review types that your properties have; the positives should outweigh the negatives whenever possible.
You may not have total control over your online ratings and reviews, but you do have some options for taking charge:
First, you can post responses to all existing reviews.
Second, you can proactively work to generate additional (positive) reviews from your residents by sending out surveys, either through a third party or by using your existing communication system.
Third, you can promote positive reviews from residents across any online channels that are a part of your marketing mix. You’ve earned that praise, and it’s OK to shout about it from the virtual rooftops. Plus, this approach will help you reach prospects with a steady stream of fresh content, and it has the added bonus of boosting your SEO and raising the profile of your communities.
Negative reviews are just a fact of the digital world; it’s up to you to manage them so they work to your advantage. Each time you respond to a review or social media comment promptly and professionally, you have the opportunity to demonstrate a sincere interest in engagement rather than a simple need for damage control. In fact, studies have shown that when reviewers are satisfied by the response they receive, 33% return to post a positive review, while 34% delete the negative review altogether.
In most cases, a public response to a review, positive or negative, will be appropriate. However, if the topic is sensitive or violates fair housing regulations, be respectful but try to take the conversation offline.
If you don’t have the resources to respond to reviews, or you aren’t sure how to position your responses, you may want to consult with a professional reputation management service.
For a more in-depth look at best practices for managing your online ratings and reviews, download our free multifamily marketing guide to reputation management.