July 18, 2016

Online reputation might just be the difference between your property management company getting chosen as opposed to another. Additionally, negative reviews can cause four out of five consumers to reverse purchase decisions. Nothing is more frustrating than being the owner of a property management company and seeing that a tenant has left you a crippling negative review, especially when it’s not really a direct reflection of your business.

Today, we go over proactive measures that can help you weed out negative tenant reviews before they’re showcased online for all the world to see.

Common Bad Experiences for Tenants

For example, you might receive a bad review based on a maintenance request that goes wrong. If you contract with a vendor to fix a leaky toilet and the maintenance guy does not show up on time, and then he doesn’t fix the problem on the first visit and has to go back to the property for multiple trips – you’re going to have a frustrated tenant. This leaves you at risk for a potential negative business review…a dreaded one star.

This situation can also apply to:

  • An application fee was charged and you didn’t end up choosing the tenant
  • The tenant didn’t earn back their full security deposit
  • If you have administrative fees or increase rent after a lease renewal
  • Tenants leaving a review for the wrong property management company
  • The tenant simply doesn’t know that the property manager serves the property owner

Your property management company is vulnerable at any moment to receive these reviews on websites such as Google+, Yelp, AngiesList, etc.

What Happens If I Receive a Negative Review?

Once it’s there, all you can do is take reactive measures instead of proactive measures – You can try to reach out to Yelp and Google all you want, but the reviews are most likely going to stick (unless you’re lucky and the Yelp review gets filtered out!)

The only thing you can do on your end is to respond, apologize, and genuinely try to make it right. If you aren’t sure how to do just that, ask the reviewer what you can do for them.

The next course of action is to bury the review with positive ones. In the end, doing damage control ends up taking up more of your time and effort.

So What Do You Do to Prevent Negative Tenant Reviews?

Take proactive measures before an incident like this happens to you. A common theme we notice in negative reviews is that it stems from poor communication.

Let’s go back to the maintenance scenario. Your goal should be to obtain feedback from your tenants before it gets displayed online. Have someone in the company send an email after every maintenance request on how their experience was with your vendor. Something short and simple will be the most effective; there is no need to be overly complicated with the email.

If you get a positive response, this is a great opportunity to send them the link to your Google+ page or your Yelp page and ask for a review. If they provide you with negative feedback, then you can at least be glad that it’s in a private email between you and your tenant. There’s no damage to your online reputation.

This is a great method to use to screen out negative reviews and get positive reviews at the same time.

If you have an office that tenants visit, make it a point to ask how things are going. If they have constructive things to say, follow up with an email requesting a review. If you hear something negative, dig a little deeper and try to resolve the conflict. Then, follow up. Reach out to ensure they are happy with whatever you did to meet their needs.

Ask them to post their thoughts online. If they respond positively, you’ve just essentially turned around that negative review into a positive one.

Capitalize on Owner Reviews

Reaching out to your owners four or five times a year is a great business practice. Find out if they are pleased with your business, happy with the new tenant you placed, or grateful for lease renewals. Any time there is an area of opportunity where you have gone above and beyond their expectations, you should capitalize on that experience and ask for an online review.

The most successful property management companies take it upon themselves to ask for reviews and don’t just leave it up to luck.

If you are looking for a proven system to have this done for you, our clients have been raving about our Reputation Management software that is proven to filter those negative reviews from reaching Google and Yelp. If you have any questions about this blog or any other reputation-related questions, please contact us at Fourandhalf, and we’d be happy to help you.

Source: This article was published with permission from Fourandhalf.com

If you liked this article, subscribe to Rentometer's email newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in rental housing.