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Google Leads Apartment Review Sites, According to J Turner Analysis

Google Leads Apartment Review Sites, According to J Turner Analysis
Apartment resident review volume reached an unprecedented level in Q1 2020, more than doubling the total number reviews posted in the prior quarter (Q4 2019), giving credence to the importance of reviews and ratings. “We have observed that apartment reviews follow the same pattern as the industry leasing seasonality. Given the holiday festivities in Q4, the review volume is generally low, and it picks up again in the first quarter. It climbs up further in the second quarter due the leasing period in various communities nationwide,” explained Joseph Batdorf, president of J Turner Research. These data come from the fourth edition of The Mechanics of Online Review Sites and ILSs produced by J Turner Research. The report is an unparalleled resource on the growth of online reviews, review sites, and Internet Listing Services (ILSs) relevant to the multifamily industry. It offers a quantitative perspective on the progression of online reputation in multifamily. Its analysis originates from the online reputation monitoring of nearly 116,000 properties nationwide across various review sites and ILSs, each month. As of Q1 2020, there are 9,777,352 reviews for the 115,948 properties J Turner monitors, and 86 percent of these properties – 99,579 have at least one review. In this report, all analysis is based on these 99,579 properties. In 2015, it monitored 55,700+ properties. The number of reviews has grown 3.5 times from 2,741,818 reviews in 2015 to 9,777,352 reviews in Q1 2020. Additionally: Number of reviews per property – The average number of reviews per property in 2019......
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Here’s A Really Bad Idea: Sue Customers Who Write Negative Reviews About Your Company

Whether you’re an executive at a large real estate investment trust (REIT), a local community manager or a single owner of a multifamily apartment community, it hurts when a resident goes on a tirade about your community. It hurts so bad that you often want to ask the review site to remove the review immediately even though it doesn’t violate the site's terms of service. And for some companies, it hurts so bad that they file libel lawsuits against reviewers, according to a recent article in USA Today. But is it a good idea to file a lawsuit against your own residents? More than half of states say, “no” and have enacted laws against these types of lawsuits. Yet, some still allow the practice, and some companies are actually filing suits against their customers. Regardless of whether state laws allow you to file suit against a resident for a negative review, there are three big public relations reasons why this is a bad idea: Lost TrustOnce prospective and existing residents get wind of the practice, you’ll lose their trust. It’s difficult enough to maintain trust even when you provide excellent customer service, have the newest amenities and reside in the best neighborhood in town. The moment you try to shut down the free speech of your residents or prospects is the moment the tide turns and the people who pay rent and never complain stop trusting you. Lost trust at an apartment community means angry residents, broken leases and lost revenue. Prosp......
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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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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 te......
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Positive Review Peril: 5 Steps to an Authentic Online Story

Positive Review Peril: 5 Steps to an Authentic Online Story
Imagine you are planning to make a major purchase, let’s say a car for example.  You decide to check out a local dealership’s website and find nothing but 5-star ratings, hundreds of glowing reviews describing excellent service, and testimonials of loyalty from customers who are over-the-moon happy with their experiences.  At this point you’re feeling pretty confident that buying from this dealership would be a smart decision.  Or are you?  Human nature tells us a little skepticism is bound to seep in when something seems too good to be true. We’ve all been burned before; it would not be far-fetched to say in hindsight the situation at the beginning was in fact, too good to be true.  “I should have known better”…sound familiar?  Renters have also been burned before; some have spent an entire year or longer dealing with bad neighbors, inconsistent service, unresponsive management and more - none of which was depicted in the community’s marketing message.  In a previous post, I wrote people now value the written word over the actual score.  Scores, while still a prominent factor for management companies and communities, have become secondary to those seeking information.  Star ratings are following this trend as well.  According to Brightlocal’s Consumer Review Survey, 68% of respondents said they’d be willing to do business with a company that had at least a 3.5 out of 5 star rating.  Communities intent on projecting an all-positive image could be in peril.  Renters are not looking for perfection – they’re looking for authenticity.  If......
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Top 6 Resident Complaints That Will Damage Your Reputation

Author John Green’s book title “The Fault in our Stars” seems fitting to describe the significance of star ratings for prospects scouting the Internet to search for apartments. We know that residents are flocking online to voice their disappointments or favorable experiences at their apartment homes. Research proves that these online conversations affect prospect traffic to your doorstep.   A nationwide survey by J Turner Research involving more than 25,000 residents indicates that 62 percent refer to online ratings and reviews at the beginning of their apartment search. According to a 2016 study, the two most influential aspects of reviews in a prospect’s decision making are star ratings and the relevancy of reviews to their likes and dislikes – relevancy refers to content of the reviews. The number of reviews is a close third.   Are you monitoring the content of your online reviews? Do you know the top complaints echoed by residents on online review sites and ILSs?  In analyzing hundreds of online reviews, below are some key pain points that annoy residents the most.   1.  Racial discrimination – The rhetoric of racial discrimination can damage a business severely. Residents feel victimized due to “perceived” racial discrimination by a specific staff member. Residents also notice how staff members deal with a diverse resident body. If the interaction is not respectful by their standards, the resident may misconstrue it as an act of racial discrimination.   2. Eviction letters/notices - Residents view eviction letters as humiliating and threatening. Sticking eviction letters on thei......
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The Data Doesn’t Lie: Ratings and Reviews Matter

The Data Doesn’t Lie: Ratings and Reviews Matter
Prospective renters rank ratings and reviews as more important than referrals from friends and family. Nearly 70 percent of prospective renters say they research ratings and reviews before making a rental decision. And a clear majority of prospective renters distrust anonymous ratings and reviews over those that have been third-party verified. That’s what our recent study, which involved nearly 30,000 respondents, found. I know – you can hardly go to an industry event or pick up an industry publication without hearing or reading something about reputation management. But the industry hasn’t ever had definitive research like this on the importance of ratings and reviews on leasing decisions. And the facts we found in the study conducted in conjunction with Kingsley Associates provide pretty compelling evidence that ratings and reviews matter to prospective renters. The budget-season question now is: what should apartment companies do about it? Based on the results of the survey, we have a few important suggestions.  Monitor. First and foremost, apartment companies must monitor ratings and reviews posted on every site available on the web. This isn’t new advice. Some of the most innovative apartment companies have been doing this for years. The fact that 86.2 percent of the renters in our study said they’d be more likely to consider a community with mostly positive reviews validates this activity. Respond. Monitoring without taking action is no longer an option. In fact, 69.5 percent of the survey respondents said they expect apartment communities to respond to ratings and reviews posted online. R......
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