Many multifamily communities already understand how a positive online reputation attracts renters. According to J Turner Research, 71% of prospects decide to visit a property with a higher online reputation rating, and renters report 52% of their decision to lease at a property as based on online reviews. As renters narrow down their short list, it’s important that your community make a strong first impression with a two-pronged approach: responding to reviews and proactively surveying current residents.
Online reviews left by current residents impact your community’s renter retention and influence prospective renters. Addressing positive and negative online comments across all review platforms in a timely and professional way allows you to stay on top of your online reputation. In a J Turner Research survey, renters reported that the top two things they look for in a response to either a positive or negative review are “commitment to resolve the issue” (69%) and “authentic/customized response” (43%).
Although it takes more time, carefully customizing empathetic responses leads to a more positive impression of your community. Be sure to respond to a negative review as soon as possible, using it as an opportunity to showcase your customer service. In order to ensure polite and professional responses that reflect well on your community, engage a trusted team member or reputation management expert to handle negative comments. In addition, responding to positive reviews demonstrates that your community is engaged with residents, rather than only engaged in damage control.
In order to maintain your community’s positive reputation over the long-term, your reputation management strategy should also proactively engage current residents. Posting regularly on social media, surveying residents, and generating fresh reviews can lead to organic, positive reviews and impressions that will be seen by both residents and prospects.
While some proactive activities require an investment of time and energy, connecting with renters on social media is an easy way to start strengthening your online reputation. A social media feed of interesting content, engaging responses to renters, and helpful resources proactively demonstrates your community’s values and personality.
Next, in order to grow your reputation with current residents, proactively reach out to your renters to discuss any concerns before they become issues. By staying ahead of any potential problems, you not only avoid negative online reviews, but you also have the opportunity turn your resident into an advocate for your community.
Finally, surveys of existing residents generate new, original feedback that you can promote across review platforms. Fresh reviews paint an accurate picture of your community, and they even play a role in bettering your community’s SEO ranking.
According to an article fromMultifamily Executive, managers should use a targeted, personal touch in asking residents to leave new reviews. For example, instead of random email surveys, consider sending surveys that are timed with service. Residents may be most willing to give feedback after receiving a completed work order, or in the 90-day period after moving into your community.
Reputation management is a long-term effort that demands commitment, time, and resources. To organize your community’s reputation management strategy, schedule activities on a daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis with a dedicated execution team.
If your in-house team doesn’t have the time or internal resources, you may want to consider outsourcing your community’s reputation management. Look for a third party service that specializes in the multifamily industry and is familiar with all aspects of reputation management, such as social review responses and proactive resident surveys.
Being vigilant in maintaining and marketing your communities’ reputation allows you to attract quality prospective renters and retain your current residents. In today’s digital landscape, your community already has an online reputation. Responsive, proactive reputation management ensures your community’s reputation makes the best first impression.