Have you read a bad review for a restaurant and then decided to go somewhere else? I read reviews for products before I purchase and for professional services before I make an appointment.

Face it, reviews carry weight and they are everywhere. Your tenants are typing out reviews right now about their personal experiences. Is your property at the top of their list? This could be a good thing or a bad thing.

A big step

 
Moving into a building, merging into a new community and creating a home is a giant step. You can bet that potential residents are doing their homework and searching online property reviews before they take one physical step into your building.

This is why branding is a critical issue these days. Instead of letting the reviews languish unaddressed, you need to step up and control the focus of the conversation. Show the world your professional side.

Locate your online property reviews

 
First, find out where the online property reviews have been posted. You can find consumer reviews written just about everywhere but start with the hubs and then keep looking. Yes, you must go through and then past the first page of Google.

Always include a search of your physical property address and your community name; e.g. “123 Main Street” and “Main Street Apartments.” You might be surprised by what pops up!

Compose your response before you post!

 
When responding to reviews remember that what you write will be on the internet permanently. Your written words will be irrecoverable, glowing in computer screens day and night. If you react and lash out at a negative reviewer no one is ever taking your comments down.

The truth is there is too much entertainment value in a verbal fight. You know that. If you are upset then take some time to level your head. Think through your response before you tap the post button.

You are responsible for your words

 
Equally important to remember is the legal aspect of this equation. Your words from an email, text or any online responses can be used in court. Conduct yourself professionally. Get legal questions answered if you are in doubt.

It’s important to not disclose anything about a tenant, or the community. Always avoid posting anything private or personal about the reviewer.

What is the formula for a successful online review response?

 
The first rule in responding to any review is that you are the professional so act like one. Keep your tone businesslike, cool and on point. There is a formula for writing winning review responses. Keep these pointers in mind.

  • Appreciate the feedback – negative and positive
  • Stay calm and professional
  • Own up to your mistakes
  • Don’t get personal
  • Address specific issues in the review
  • Mention action steps taken to address issues and improve customer experiences
  • Invite reviewer to write to management directly and resolve issues

You should respond to online property reviews on the site where they are written, for the writer and other readers to see your powerful words. In addition, you could publish your responses in more than one venue. Address reviews and publish your responses on YouTube, as this restaurant successfully demonstrates.

Online property reviews can be free advertising

 
These days online property reviews mean lost or gained business, money in your pocket. There are companies that will track reviews for you.

Think of the reviews as free market research. You can discover exactly where your business is flourishing and where your business is lacking.

Read reviews, learn from your market and you will know exactly what potential tenants want to read. Just as important, you will know exactly how to improve your business and garner more positive reviews! You’ve got this.

Related Articles:

 
Retain Residents With a Tenant Exit Interview and Survey

What Is Brand Marketing, and Do You Need It?

Four Resident Technology Strategies That Will Keep You Competitive

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Theresa Bradley-Banta writes about investing in real estate while avoiding the pitfalls that plague many new investors. She is a 2017 PropTech Top 100 Influencer and winner of 14 American and International real estate awards for her website and real estate investing programs. As featured on: The Equifax Finance Blog, AOL’s Daily Finance, Scotsman Guide, The Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever Show, Stevie Awards Blog, Rental Housing Journal, and Investors Beat among others.

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