A bad online review can make a good day turn for the worst. It can easily break potential applicants’ interest and leave a bad taste in your current residents’ mouths. Keeping watch on accessible online rental rating sites like Google Reviews, Yelp, and Apartmentratings.com for good and bad reviews and coming up with a strategy on how to deal with bad reviews should be a priority.
- Don’t take it personally.
Whether the review mentions your name specifically or references your community overall, try not to take the negativity personally. This is easier said than done, but by letting it go (personally) you’ll be able to act on the issues faster and more professionally. If you can’t respond professionally in a timely manner, then see if one of your team members will respond for you.
- Respond professionally or don’t respond at all.
With some finesse, a bad review can be turned into some good PR for your community. Because the review is online, you can not only resolve the issue behind the scenes, but publicly show your good customer service. It’s not easy. Sometimes the review was bad simply because your (current or previous) resident was having a bad day, they were dissatisfied with things out of your control, or they just simply weren’t the right fit for your community. Whether you’re handling a difficult resident or not, responding quickly and professionally is essential to turning around a bad review. Once you have those down, you should address these in your response:
- Show that you’ve listened
Your resident wants to know that you’ve listened, are concerned about their experience, and are willing to address the main issue.
- Consider if an apology is needed
You shouldn’t apologize for everything. If it’s an outright slanderous review, then it might be better to try to delete the comment. However, overall you should apologize, whether their experience was in your control or not.
- Make efforts to contact them on and offline.
Unfortunately not all review websites offer ways to publicly respond and you will have to find a way to contact the author of the bad review offline. That being said, your bad reviewer can always come back and edit their review.
- Set up a review response system.
You might already have a standard for responding to reviews, but now would be a good time to review those standards. Are you responding to good reviews as well as bad reviews? Are there any patterns in the reviews you’ve received? Considering what trends are in both your good and bad reviews is vital when coming up with an action plan. While you might come up with some quick fixes, like approaching your residents with open body language, you might have to consider long term resolutions, like changing your construction and maintenance policies. Ultimately any consistent bad reviews won’t change if you don’t respond in action.
As heart-breaking as bad online reviews are, good reviews can have a 180° effect. Encourage good reviews in your community. Before you know it, your bad reviews will be a dime a dozen.
What’s the worst review you’ve dealt with? How did you rectify the situation? Let us know in the comments and be sure to subscribe!
About the Author
Becky Bower is the Communications Executive here at the Resident Screening Blog. She holds a degree in English, with a focus in creative writing, from CSU Channel Islands. Her biggest weakness is cake and favorite superhero is Batman.