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Is Your Property Being Trolled?

Is Your Property Being Trolled?

When an irate resident decides to troll or leave negative reviews for your property or properties managed by your company on multiple review sites repeatedly, what do you do? Don’t be afraid to call a spade a spade and deal with trolls firmly, but professionally. Here’s why: content is king. Residents and apartment shoppers have become more discerning and sophisticated in interacting with online reviews and responses.

When analyzing a review, they filter facts from emotional outbursts and look for recurring complaints in areas of apartment living that are most relevant to them. Apartment shoppers notice manager responses, and they expect a genuine and personalized response with a problem-solving attitude.

Below are some handy tips to deal with trolls effectively.

Get the facts.

Gather the facts on the situation described by the reviewer. Your response should be armed with facts to stop any further controversy or dispel any rumors about your property. Your groundwork should include:

 

  • What’s the status of the reviewer—prospect, current or former resident, or a guest?
  • Talk to everyone involved—the office and/or the maintenance staff.
  • What is the nature of the problem? Is it a recurring issue highlighted by other reviewers, for instance, bed begs, pests, and nonfunctional amenities, or is it a staff complaint?
  • Was any attempt made to diffuse the situation by communicating with the reviewer and offering a resolution to his/her concerns? What was the outcome of your efforts—was the reviewer receptive to the solution you offered?

 

For instance, one of the most common conflicts is the security deposit. The resident may have completely trashed the apartment but feels cheated if the security deposit is not fully refunded. If you have documented the damage with photographs and have made attempts to contact the resident to review the photographs to no avail, mention that in your response: “We are sorry you feel this way. Our team has made several attempts to contact you to review the condition of your apartment upon your move-out to no avail. If you wish to discuss this further, please contact us at (email/phone number). We would be happy to go over the details with you. Thank you for your time and we wish you all the best in your new home.”

Sorry, you are not a resident.

You may find out that the reviewer is not a resident of the property which he or she has reviewed. The reviewer is a resident of another property and has trashed properties managed by the same company. In this case, don’t hesitate to say “Thank you for reviewing. I understand that you are not a resident of our community. If there is anything we can do for you, please contact us (include email or phone number—this could be property or company specific).”

Solve the issue at the grassroots level.

Actor and TV host Jeffery Hayzlett recommends on Entrepreneur, “If what a critic is saying is true, fix a mistake and be honest about it. Let the person who wrote the complaint know you have corrected an error and explain what you did.”

If the reviewer’s concerns are echoed repeatedly by other residents, escalate the problem to your regional and/or management team and fix the problem permanently.

Be consistent.

No matter how many sites the reviewer has trolled you on, be consistent in your response.

Consult with your management.

Before crafting responses to such reviews, consult with your management team on best practices and policies on dealing with trolls. Remember your response should reflect your company’s tone and attitude toward residents in general. Be sure to get the response looked at by another set of eyes, preferably someone on the management team.

In a nutshell, while responding to online trolls, craft factually accurate, professional, and personalized responses that reflect your commitment to resolve the problem. If you have done enough to correct the issue, don’t hesitate to politely put the onus on the reviewer. A prospect reading the review will understand the situation and filter facts from online harassment.

 

 

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