Wouldn’t it be awesome if every client you ever worked with was thrilled with the outcome? The fact is, as hard as we try to keep every customer satisfied, there will inevitably come a time when someone ends up leaving with a less-than-pleasant taste in their mouth. And unfortunately, thanks to the internet, those few unhappy clients now have a platform from which to share their poor experience with the world. While there’s no way to prevent the occasional bad review, thankfully there are some things you can do to diffuse the situation and possibly even turn a negative into something good for your business. Here’s how.
First, be diligent about removing reviews that are especially defamatory. In certain instances, review sites like Yelp will consider removing a review, provided it meets one or more of the following criteria:
- Threats or vulgar language
- Irrelevant content
- Promotional content
- Content containing private information
- Conflicts of interest
- Content requesting payment
- Plagiarized content
These types of comments do not add value to the review community, and therefore are easier to make a case against. Should you notice a review that you feel exhibits any of the above, send a request to the review site asking their editorial team to take a look. If they agree, they’ll remove the negative comment.
Of course, the majority of online reviews will simply include a synopsis of a particular problem. And since people are entitled to their opinion (hence the reason these review sites exist in the first place), you won’t be able to remove them all.
For those comments that do have some merit in terms of content, regardless of whether you believe them to be accurate or not, there are some steps you can take to put a positive spin on things and hopefully turn things around.
Stay plugged in. The first step to good reputation management is to stay on top of what’s being said about your property management business online. You can streamline this process by setting up a Google alert that includes your company name and any other criteria you’d like.
Always respond. Regardless of whether a review happens to be positive or horribly negative, you should be responding to each and every one. Thanking those who shared their good experience will help foster quality relationships. Meanwhile, by taking the time to respond to those less-than-stellar comments, you’ll demonstrate that you’re listening and that you care.
Be prompt. The sooner you respond to an online review, the better. If it takes you six months to post a reply, those looking at the exchange after the fact may get the impression that you’re not that in tune with your clients. Additionally, you may miss the opportunity to win back an unhappy customer.
Be professional. It can be challenging not to lash out and get defensive when you read a comment that paints your business in a bad light, but responding in that way will only serve to add fuel to the fire. Even if you believe the reviewer is entirely wrong, be diplomatic and professional in your response. Thank them for bringing the situation to your attention, acknowledge their feelings and propose a solution.
Be positive. Keep communications with your online reviewers as positive as possible. Don’t be argumentative. Show them you’re eager to correct the situation. Doing so will not only improve the chances of winning back that client’s business, but it will also show future prospects how willing you are to improve your service levels.
Bring it offline if necessary. If the exchange with a negative reviewer seems to be going off the rails, don’t let it get any more out of hand. Offer to bring the conversation offline. Providing one-on-one support may or may not help bring resolution to the situation, but it will at least put the fire out online.
And last, but certainly not least, you can help improve your online reputation by encouraging more positive comments from your happy customers. The more glowing reviews are posted, the lower down the list your negative ones will fall, which is the ultimate goal.