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Managing Negative Online Reviews
I recently made a post about a new website 'Don't Rent Me' that sparked a lot of interest in managing negative reviews.
I hope this article assists in responding to negative reviews.
It is becoming more and more challenging for property management agencies to manage negative reviews in the world of the internet and social media.
The most recent game player (outside of Facebook and Google) to property managers is 'Don't Rent Me'. If you are not aware of this website I recommend that you check it out to see if you or your agency has been featured on what they call 'The Wall of Shame'.
Personally, I don't know how such a website can be public without some sort of regulation. Property management agencies are required at law to notify a tenant if they have been listed on a tenant database. However, tenants seem to have a free say without the agency even being aware.
Following many calls and messages from property managers in how to manage negative reviews I have written some key points to assist.
- Make sure that you are monitoring the reviews. Dedicate this role to someone within the agency to check the reviews regularly.
- Try not to take negative reviews personally. As hard as this may be, you want to remove the emotion from your response. I have seen so many posts in property management chatrooms where the property manager responds in a negative way (usually out of frustration).
- If it is a public review respond as the Business Owner or as a Business Owner would. Stick to the facts as getting personal will only compound the issue.
- Don't allow posts on your Facebook page (You are only turning off posts not comments).
- Always respond, no matter how busy you are.
- Restate the complaint in your response. They are upset and want to be heard. 'I apologise that this has happened or you feel this way...'
- Don't make excuses for the problem [A first reaction is often to say why. This sends a message that you are not owning how they feel. "'This was not our usual process or this was out of character for us and we would like to make it right."
- Highlight your strengths. Don't focus on the negative of the complaint. "We are truly sorry that our property manager was unfriendly. We have been in business for more than 15 years serving thousands of clients and each customer is important to us."
- Work out the details privately. Ask the tenant, landlord or customer to call or email you (provide your contact information).
- Most negative reviews tend to be about something that happened at the final vacate and then a dispute occurs. "We apologise that you feel this way. We conduct many final vacates and bond releases with many satisfied tenants. We would be more than happy to work through a resolution with you."
- Most important, remember that people who frequent review sites and look for your business on social media know that all of your reviews won't be perfect.
- Don't stress if you receive a few bad reviews.
- Simply make it right and show everybody that you care about your clients in the way that you respond.
- Finally, watch for patterns. If numerous people are posting complaints to your social media pages about slow service, rudeness, etc. then this is something that may need to be discussed and addressed. Negative reviews sting, but they're valuable feedback you can use to make build a better business.
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If you would like to be coached by Debbie Palmer, she delivers live online coaching sessions each Tuesday that covers all areas of property management. Visit www.ppmgroup.com.au to find out more, call 07 5562 0037 or email firstname.lastname@example.org