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Death By Template: 5 Tips To Create Custom Responses

Death By Template: 5 Tips To Create Custom Responses
You know what, I totally get it.  With all that goes on during the workday, responding to reviews is somewhere on the priority list with eating lunch.  And in this industry, we all know an hour-long lunch break is a luxury.  Responding to reviews takes time; and for property management professionals, time, just like lunch, is a luxury. In my last article, I wrote “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.”  And it’s true!  We’ve been conducting conversations with renters for the past 3 months and here a few direct quotes from some of the over 100 interviews we’ve had so far. REVIEW RESPONSE: Thank you for taking time to leave a review to help us improve our community. Your feedback is important to us as we want our residents to be comfortable and satisfied with their living experience. If you wish to add any more details, please email us at XXX to discuss. QUESTION: What are your thoughts on this response? “It's nice that the manager took the time to post however I wonder if the answer is a pre-made one. Seems like a copy/paste kind of thing.” “This response feels kind of canned, very robotic.  The intentions are good but this response could apply to any review, positive or negative.” “Where are the specifics? None of the resident’s issues are addressed. A response like this would make me mad if I was th......
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Social Media and Review Responses: Do you know your audience?

Social Media and Review Responses: Do you know your audience?
During your day to day tasks do you treat social media posts and responding to reviews the same? Both are equally important in a community’s marketing strategy, however each have a different target audience. Imagine you are checking out a new restaurant for dinner, if you have never been there before, reviews will be the most important aspect of looking for a quality restaurant.  Once you have dined at the restaurant, you can now contribute to the restaurant’s online story through social media by posting videos or photos of your food and experience. Reviews are most valuable before you’re a part of the experience, social media is most important once you’ve become part of the experience. Renters view their experience through the same lens, turning to ApartmentRatings among other review sites to thoroughly understand the resident experience as well as other aspects of life at the community. Once a renter chooses to lease, they can now contribute to the community’s online story via social media.  A renter’s journey is extremely important no matter if it is before or after a lease is signed.   Our 2018 Social Media Study shows only 14% of renters consider a community’s social media presence, ranking it at 46 of 48 when it comes to the impact of the prospects leasing decision. What does this mean in regards to a community’s social media efforts? “Do social the resident’s way” Social media has become an avenue for residents to connect and engage with the community team. Residents can sense the authenticit......
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More Than a Score: 5 Tips to Protect Your Brand

More Than a Score: 5 Tips to Protect Your Brand
I’m often asked for tips and tricks on how to improve a community’s online reputation.  Over the last year or so these requests have become more frequent, as companies are realizing a positive online presence can directly impact leasing and renewal decisions.  I think it’s great we have an expanded awareness throughout our industry and I’m happy to offer any insight and support as needed.  “Reputation Management” is now a commonplace term within our industry, so much so that it is in jeopardy of becoming “white noise”; falling into the same lane as topics such as Fair Housing.  While teams know it’s important, they also feel as though they’ve learned all there is to know.  One Community Manager once told me “Unless something ground breaking happens, or it’s mandatory, I really don’t want to go to another reputation management class.”   Wow, harsh words, but I get it – I live and breathe this stuff daily so I’m not surprised that once standing room only crowds have dwindled to half-empty rooms.  Such was the case a few months ago when I presented at a conference. My first question to the audience was “Okay, let’s be honest…how many of you drew the short stick?” While many chuckled, many more nodded.  For our industry, reputation management tends to center around percentages and ratings.  Fixation over scores is a slippery slope because in reality, scores are low on the totem pole for renters.  We surveyed visitors to ApartmentRatings, hoping to determine which components of a community’s page was most valuable.&nbs......
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Your Online Reputation Could Be Costing You 5-6% in Occupancy


 

 55% of Residents Confirmed Reading Positive Online Reviews Led to Contacting a Community; Only 46% of Property Managers Manage Online Reviews Daily

 

According to a national study, 43% of residents stated a community rated at a 3.0 on a 5.0 scale was too low to be considered a desirable place to live, with the majority of residents focused on a community’s curb appeal, unit condition and rent price when writing an online review.

More break-down on how reviews are impacting renter-decisions and the factors that are considered when residents go to write reviews:

  • Over 90% of residents will read at least one review before touring an apartment.

  • Apartment condition, property curb appeal, and cost were the top three factors residents considered when writing an online review of their apartment community.

  • 55% of residents will either visit a property or contact the community for additional information after reading a positive review.

  • While 95% of property management companies found value in investing resources into managing online reviews, only 46% dedicated time daily to managing their online reviews.

 

 

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Straw, Sticks or Bricks...What Is Your House Made Of?

Straw, Sticks or Bricks...What Is Your House Made Of?
When the big bad wolf, better known as online reviews, comes knocking at your door, how solid is your community’s reputation? Think back to the children’s bedtime story, The Three Little Pigs. Each pig decided to leave home and seek their fortunes. Before leaving, their mother told them, “Whatever you do, do it the best that you can because that is the way to get along in the world.” The first pig decided to build its house of straw, because it was the easiest, leaving him more time to play. Is your community built of straw? Are you doing just enough to get by? Residents living at a straw community may feel as though all they are to you is an apartment number and a monthly check. Walking into your office, they may be second in priority to prospects, a ringing telephone, or even a conversation among co-workers. Straw communities are defenseless to the big bad wolf because cutting corners and indifferent service are surefire triggers for negative reviews. The second pig built its house of sticks. While stronger than the straw, this material had its own shortcomings. The second pig chose sticks because he could fashion a sturdy structure quickly and still have the rest of the day to play. Stick communities have great intentions when it comes to their residents however, consistency and longevity are often challenges. By not providing a stellar level of service day in and day out, the big bad wolf has no problem lurking outside your do......
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