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Copy...Paste...Repeat: 5 Cringe-Worthy Response Phrases

Copy...Paste...Repeat: 5 Cringe-Worthy Response Phrases

It’s a typical day in the office when a resident walks in, looks you straight in the eye and says, “I just wanted to say I love living here.  The entire team is so friendly, the community always looks amazing and I would definitely recommend anyone looking for a new place to move here.” 

You mechanically reply, “Thank you for your feedback. We strive to provide a top quality living experience for all our residents. Please let us know if there is anything you need in the future.” 

Talk about awkward! 

Reviews are merely residents sharing their experiences in written form.  How you respond to an online review is no different than if the compliment or complaint were told to you verbally.  Repeat and overused phrases may be an efficient strategy for responding but they come across as cold and emotionless.  Many think it’s easier to have a bank of ready-to-go responses, but as renters tend to read an average of 6-10 reviews per community, repeat and formulaic responses are complete turn-offs.

Renters believe the quality of customer service they will experience as a resident can be determined by how the management team chooses to respond, and not respond to an online review.  As found in our 2019 Online Renter Study, when asked how does it make you feel when a management team professionally responds to a review, the most chosen answer was “they really care about their residents”.  A copy and paste approach will negatively impact a renter’s perception of the management team and could possibly ruin the chance of adding a new resident to your community. 

Here are 5 cringe-worthy response phrases along with alternatives to shake things up! 

1. “Thank you for your feedback” – the ultimate meh.  A quick thesaurus search yields a variety of ways to re-work this phrase.  For a positive review, I recommend plural personal pronouns (we, us) and singular personal pronouns (I, me) for a negative review.

POSITIVE: “We are extremely grateful you took the time to detail your resident experience.”

NEGATIVE: “I appreciate your honesty in sharing what has been your experience at our community.” 

2.  “We strive to provide” – either you did or you didn’t.  This phrase just doesn’t work; not for the reviewer, nor the reader.  Strive means to try hard, struggle vigorously and to make a strenuous effort.  Bottom line, strive alludes to a management team who has to work way too hard to satisfy its residents.  Renters need to know the team is adept at handling any situation and are true experts in their field.

POSITIVE: “We are thrilled to know you have never had a delay with any repair in your home.”

NEGATIVE: “Reviews like this are difficult for me to read as our team is dutiful in satisfying all of our residents.” 

3. “We are sorry to hear” think proactive, not reactive.  The word “sorry” can come across as hollow; residents would probably prefer not having to write the negative review altogether.  Acknowledging such regret is a good place to start.  “My sincerest apologies you were not kept in the loop throughout the repair process.  I want to assure you the issue with your dishwasher will be rectified within 48 hours.” 

4. “We are happy to hear” a missed opportunity.  A positive review is an opportunity knocking and this phrase does little to capitalize on it.  Responding to reviews is the new marketing window and words which convey emotion humanizes the management team.  “Wow! This review has our entire team smiling.  We are blown away by your compliments and all of the 5 stars.” 

5. “Please contact us” – the go-to phrase.  It’s difficult to resolve every complaint with a response and even more so when the reviewer is anonymous.  The problem with this phrase is that it’s simply used for the sake of appearances.  The management team doesn’t really expect the resident to contact them.  And why should they? Residents with negative experiences will not be willing to engage in a conversation unless there’s something in it for them. Drop a few breadcrumbs to pique their interest and demonstrate to the reader you are solutions oriented.  “I have a couple of ideas to solve this problem if you’re open to meeting.  I’m positive we can reach an agreeable solution.” 

Crafting individual responses which are authentic and thoughtful is time-consuming to say the least.  However, if renters believe review responses demonstrate the level of customer service they will receive should they decide to lease, the payoff for doing so is worth the effort.

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Please add me to these emails.

  Crystal Crutchfield
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We got you covered, Crystal!

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Thanks Brent!

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