Online reviews have altered the way people find products and services, and nearly every property manager has experienced a bad review, regardless of how proficient they are at their job in reality. As a property manager, you have two seperate groups to please, property owners and tenants. Unfortunately, sometimes making one client happy conflicts with the desires of the other. Bad reviews can spawn when unhappy tenants voice their opinion while the property manager was providing great customer service to their property owner client. This situation can always occur in reverse as well, in which you would have a disgruntled property owner while dealing with a tenant leaving glowing remarks.
While you can’t pick and choose which reviews the public can see, you can respond to them. Commonly, when a company responds with a caring and helpful message to a negative review, the original review is either improved or deleted altogether. While not every reviewer will be kind enough to adjust their initial review, a strong response to a review will encourage future customers to place their confidence in you.
Whether you’ve received a review that contains a few short words or elongated paragraphs, the way you respond will say more about you than that review will. The most important thing to do is to respond in a professional manner, and not let emotion get tied into a response. Do not respond until you feel you are level-headed enough to give a satisfactory response. Sometimes, the best way to remove the emotional element of a response is to give the review a little space. For some managers, this may take a few hours, for others it may be a day or two.
Once you are able to view the situation more objectively, you can begin formulating your response. The most successful responses to negative reviews tend to focus on resolving the problem the reviewer had and not working on the bad review itself. Most people just want to know that they have been heard and that you care about their situation. Here are a few recommendations to keep in mind when responding to negative reviews:
Kill Them With Kindness
Deep down you might want to call your critics out or catch them in their own words, however this won’t help your reputation whatsoever. Kindness usually begins with being able to see someone else’s perspective even if you don’t agree with them. Though it may seem like a conservative thing to do in the moment, a kind answer can cool tension and diffuse conflict with the reviewer. Returning criticism with genuine concern also gives you the opportunity to demonstrate a level of care you have for your clients and shows potential customers that you can handle a problem with class.
Admit to Any Wrongdoing
Nobody is perfect. The same goes for almost all businesses. Is any part of the accusation in the bad review truthful? If so, then it’s best to own up to it. If you forgot to send a reviewer their security deposit, apologize and promise to send it immediately. Making mistakes is normal and most reasonable folks understand that. Trying to cover up a mistake generally leads to angry responses from the reviewer and makes you look less trustworthy and downright scummy to whoever reads the exchange.
Stand Behind Company Policy
No, this doesn’t mean no rules apply to some just because they complained online. If your lease specifically says only dogs and cats allowed for example, stick with it. You gain nothing from conceding to your clients against company policy simply because the drama is being played out in the public eye. Owners lose faith in you, potential tenants feel they can walk all over you, and suddenly you have an increasing number of issues to work with down the road.