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How and Why You Should Respond to Negative and Positive Online Reviews

How and Why You Should Respond to Negative and Positive Online Reviews

Because teams tend to focus on damage control when it comes to negative reviews, responding to positive reviews are often sidelined.  After all, responding to positive feedback is often sidelined as many times the focus is on damage control for negative reviews. How many times has an ecstatic review gone viral?

Whether renters are reading a positive or a negative review, responses surely have an impact. 52.3% of prospects feel communities have great customer service and 50.6% of prospects feel communities really care about their residents, according to our 2017 Online Renter Study.

Although the reviewer may not return back to read a community’s response, the benefits to responding to reviews is twofold. A thoughtful, engaged and authentic response will attract new renters as well as boost retention rates which can have a profound effect on the community’s bottom line.

Follow these 4 simple steps to craft a well-rounded response

STEP 1 – Examine

·        Read the review in its entirety and alert team members of any possible areas of improvement or areas of success.

STEP 2 – Acknowledge

·        Pinpoint areas in the review to acknowledge. Address the issues specifically and avoid any canned responses.

STEP 3 – Market

·        Look for marketing opportunities to reiterate in the review response. Remember people will be reading your responses for year years to come – don’t miss out on a chance to promote your community.

STEP 4 – Respond

·        Respond to the review authentically and honestly. Leaving your name and contact information in the response.  Not just “Community Manager”. Follow the guidelines for a positive and negative review below.

o   Positive Review: 30% acknowledge / 70% market

o   Negative Review: 70% acknowledge / 30% market

Responding to reviews in a timely manner is important. It directly reflects a community’s customer service.  A response to a residents review demonstrates you value their time and appreciate feedback.  Establishing an expectation of response between your team can help create trust with your residents. For example: “All positive reviews must be responded to within 1 day and negative reviews within 2 hours.”

Think about how you would respond in person to a compliment or a complaint. Acting as graciously on review sites as you would face to face builds trust and real relationships no matter if the review is positive or negative.

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  • Great overview and steps to follow! Do you have recommendations for those properties just undertaking OPM? How should replies differ if you're responding to a now 2-3 year old review?

  • Hi Jon!
    Such a great question! According to our 2018 ApartmentRatings Visitor Study, 62.1% found community reviews 6 months or less to be most valid. Of those respondents, 36.6% look for reviews that are within the last 3 months. My advice is to respond honestly and authentically to the reviews posted within the last 6 months. In the case of new management, I recommend including that in the response with something like: "I see your review was posted prior to us taking over management of the community. It's unfortunate your experience has been less than stellar however we are excited to implement a variety of changes we're sure will improve life here at the community going forward."

    Hope this helps! Please feel free to reach out if you have any further questions.

  • Hi Jennifer - love this! We've found it's often overlooked, but reviews can be a lifeline for a property, especially as younger generations move in. They are looking for somewhere reputable and will track down reviews to determine if it makes their list. Further, responses really help to seal the deal! A good response from a caring manager can not only help a current resident, but also, as you mentioned, help a future renter. Great piece.

  • Thank you so much, Gitel!

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