People have varying expectations when it comes to their interactions with service providers and businesses. Sometimes there’s a clash between their hopes and reality. On occasion, unhappy consumers will post a negative review online to voice their dissatisfaction about a service or company.
Like other businesses, the multifamily industry faces these public criticisms. Property managers essentially offer both a product and a service through their communities. When residents move in, they unpack their expectations and can become unhappy when reality doesn’t play out as they had hoped. Whether these expectations are met can result in positive or negative reviews online.
What can you do if you receive a negative review? How can you mitigate its bad effect on your online reputation?
The first thing you can do is to change your outlook on the situation. Negative reviews are actually prime opportunities to show residents how well you solve problems and how much you care. It is also a chance to grow as a property manager and improve your community after receiving valuable feedback.
This may seem odd, but it’s true: A few negative reviews can contribute more credibility to your brand. To consumers, nothing waves a red flag of suspicion more than a product that has nothing but positive reviews. The occasional negative review is actually nothing to fear because it delivers an organic imperfection to your review roster. When consumers see that you don’t filter or censor your reviews, they will view your community as more authentic and honest.
This doesn’t mean that having excessive negative reviews is okay, however. Instead, it is best to have a majority of positive reviews with the occasional negative review that is addressed cordially and professionally.
A negative review is a chance for you to exercise your customer service muscles. The response field to a complaint is your platform on which you offer solutions and show courtesy to your valued resident. Because this response will be visible to anyone who views this review online, you have now presented yourself as a caring, responsive, and resourceful property manager to everyone who is reading.
Most negative reviews can be addressed politely on a public platform. There may be times, however, when a customer is particularly disgruntled and starts using abusive language. In this situation, it is best to try to resolve the situation privately. Remember, no matter how angry the resident becomes, do your best to acknowledge their side and offer them a solution that respects both the resident and your community.
In the realm of multifamily marketing, projecting your community as one that is on top of everyone’s needs can improve your online reputation and help convert more contacts into leads.
When you properly address negative reviews, you can actually reverse a fair percentage of them. In fact, Chatmeter reports that prompt and polite responses can convince up to 33% of respondents to change their negative reviews to positive ones. In addition, 34% even delete the original negative review.
Promising statistics from Lee Resources via Help Scout’s blog bring even more incentive to address negative reviews. According to their sources, consumers are 70% more likely to do business with you again if their concerns are addressed. Because retaining current residents spares you the cost of screening new ones, this opportunity to salvage current relationships is to your financial benefit as well.
Criticism can also open doors to improving your multifamily community. Sometimes a negative review is unfounded, but other times it addresses real problems. For example, your community center may be outdated with broken appliances or frayed furniture. Or, perhaps residents are not cleaning up after their pets. Renovating your community center and adding amenities such as dog waste systems for pet owners may help solve these problems.
When you lean in to understand why some residents are unhappy, you can take their feedback to develop your community into an even better place to live.
A negative review is a fantastic opportunity to reach out to your residents and cultivate an online reputation of trustworthiness and professionalism. You can also find valuable insights in opposing viewpoints that can help you improve your community for the good of both yourself and your residents.