How to Respond to Apartment Ratings and Reviews

by Charity on March 6, 2012

80% of review site users feel that a management response to a bad
review is reassuring. – TripAdvisor, 2010

Would you, could you, should you… respond to an online review?

In our previous post, we discussed why it is critical to have a reputation monitoring strategy. Today we’re covering when and how you should respond.

Customer reviews land at the top of search results. In some cases it may be advised to respond to negative, and even positive, reviews. Set objectives and create a policy and a plan for responding to reviews.

95% of review readers become suspicious when only positive reviews are available. – Reevoo, 2011

The most important objectives for responding to reviews online:

  • Demonstrate that you’re listening
  • Understand their perspective
  • Provide the opportunity to explain the situation
  • Be accountable, provide solutions, and solve problems
  • Attempt to change perceptions
  • Win over new residents
  • Reinforce the positive

Important to note: Don’t remove content posted unless it is attacking, violent, threatening, racist, offensive, pornographic, uses foul language or violates Fair Housing Laws.

Negative comments on social networks

When to Engage a Positive Reviewer:

Positive comments are those that thank your company for the value or their experience. Thank everyone on social networks that leave positive or thoughtful comments. Consider thanking positive reviewers occasionally on review sites.
Share positive reviews on your website, in testimonial blocks within your email marketing, on social networking sites, and within your printed materials (including signs).

When to Engage a Constructive Reviewer:

Constructive negative comments are those that criticize your brand, company or service but invite opportunities to solve the problem.
This is the MOST critical opportunity to apologize, without flaw or fault and provide a solution to the problem. Focus on these three issues first, before addressing any others:
  • Maintenance
  • Safety/Security
  • Customer Service
Start with these questions when addressing critical issues:
1. When did the issue(s) begin?
2. How many times has the customer encountered the issue(s)?
3. Can you fix the issue(s)?
4. What can you do to improve or prevent the issue(s) in the future?

How to Engage a Negative or Disruptive Reviewer:

Negative and disruptive comments are non-constructive insults to a company, service or employees designed to distract or interrupt the conversation.
Is there any merit to the claim(s)? If not, provide facts and ask for corrections to the content. If so, offer to discuss the issue offline. NEVER be defensive or appear to be covering up the facts!

Should You Engage With Spam?

Spam is when someone posts links or content completely unrelated to the community or service. Take a screen capturre or save the HyperAlerts notification, delete the content from the social networking pages and, for repeated offenses, ban the user from publishing again.

Additional measures you can take to protect your online reputation:

  • Own any and all negative URL’s that include your company name and community names.
  • Set appropriate privacy settings on each social networking profile.
  • Claim your Google Places pages
  • Claim your Yelp account
  • Consider ApartmentRatings account
  • Train employees about reputation management and privacy

Does your community have a subscription to ApartmentRatings?
MultifamilyInsiders is sharing a survey of how companies are using ApartmentRatings
free for all of their registered users.

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