5 steps to navigating negative online reviews

While negative reviews can make an impact on your online reputation, not responding can have an even bigger impact!

As a property manager, there is no doubt that you work hard trying to keep tenants, owners, and vendors happy, all while trying to keep things moving. 

When you have satisfied property owners, it’s a virtual lock that they will inevitably write you positive reviews, which will boost your online reputation. Quality reviews are an excellent strategy to drive your marketing. 

However, we all know that you cannot satisfy everyone and that not every review is positive. While negative reviews can make an impact on your online reputation, not responding can have an even bigger impact!  Keep reading to learn how to navigate negative online reviews, one step at a time!

Step 1: Respond to the Review… And Quickly!

This might seem obvious, but you’d be shocked at the number of people that think ignoring a bad review till it goes away is a good strategy. You aren’t just replying to the person who left the bad review, this gives you the opportunity to respond to everyone who reads reviews, including future owners or tenants.

Replying to every review shows other readers that you respond to feedback, and pending the review, have taken steps to ensure a better experience next time.

Step 2: Acknowledge the Complaint

Remember, you can’t please everyone. It’s important to keep your emotions in check and read reviews objectively. It’s your job as the responder to acknowledge that something did not go as intended for one side or the other, and you are jumping in to help reach a solution.

The person leaving the review had their own experience. You can argue all the facts, which is NOT RECOMMENDED, but you can’t argue with how they feel.

Step 3: Apologize and Sympathize 

If a reviewer feels bad, acknowledge that! Showing empathy can go a long way, even if you feel it's unwarranted. A simple reply such as “We’re sorry to hear you had a poor experience with us” can make the reviewer feel heard. This is your opportunity to show how you may have handled the situation differently or how you will handle a similar situation in the future. 

Remember, a potential owner knows things are going to happen. They want to know how you handle not the perfect situations, but the tough ones. Responding to negative reviews gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your high level of customer service. 

Step 4: Be Specific… but not too specific 

You’re responding to a PUBLIC review. Your response is also PUBLIC! Getting defensive with an angry tenant because you didn’t return their security deposit is only going to make your property management company look bad. You don’t get brownie points for proving your case.

This is, however, a good opportunity to provide your property management company's policies or what your owners, tenants, or vendors usually experience with your services. 

Don’t forget, less is more!! You want to keep your response to three or four sentences max, no matter how unfair or lengthy the negative review is. 

Step 5: Take the discussion offline

Reviews are public, but so are your responses! You want to be direct and to the point. The goal is to not go back and forth leaving a gossip column for potential future owners to read. 

At the end of the day, the chances of making the person who took the time to leave you a negative review happy within the confinements of your response are slim. In fact, trying to fix the situation via 1 response can often do more harm than good.

Instead, your goal should be to move the conversation offline. Provide contact information, including the name of who they should specifically contact. This encourages the reviewer to contact you instead of responding back to your response, creating a downward spiral no one wants! It also shows that your property management company takes customer service seriously enough to have someone in charge of addressing problems as they arise. 

Quality Reviews Can Drive Your Marketing

While your response will certainly matter to the individual who left the review, it’s actually more impactful to the hundreds of people who will read your response over the upcoming months and even years to come. 

Simply put, online reviews are some of the most effective forms of marketing, both positive and negative! You are showing potential future owners, tenants, and vendors how you manage your business and what people have to say about it. 

Reviews are not only helpful in your websites' SEO but you can also utilize those positive reviews in all other areas of your marketing including email and social media. 

Reputation Management can help get reviews for your property management company - and it's included in your standard digital marketing package!

By optimizing your reputation software, you can automatically ask for reviews, push positive reviews to Google or Facebook, and get in direct contact with those individuals who felt your service wasn’t up to par, potentially before they go public with their opinion. 

We help our customers get reviews on Google, Facebook & over 100+ industry-specific review sites with email and text request campaigns. It’s easy for your customers to write a 5-star review! Ask us how!