5 Tips for Handling a Bad Online Review

Last Updated: October 9, 2015By

209_kuramoto_03-e1431064602793As a property manager, a bad review is going to happen at some point in your career. Individual opinions will vary no matter how hard you try to exceed client expectations. However, when a bad review does occur it’s up to you to save your reputation, maintain your professionalism, and respond with respect.

Hopefully bad reviews are rare for your business, but with these five tips, you can turn any negative experience into a positive one for your brand.

1. Respond in a timely fashion. Responding to your first bad review will be like ripping off a Band-Aid; it might sting a little, but the longer you let it sit the worse it gets. You need to respond professionally and quickly to a negative review. Make sure to carefully write your response so that it’s both considerate and respectful. (Keep in mind that current and potential clients might read and judge your response.) I recommend writing your response, sitting on it for an hour, and then edit it again before posting. If you respond too hastily you might respond with a harsher tone than intended.

2. Encourage the reviewer to take the conversation offline. In today’s digital world, it’s far too easy to start throwing around insults when responding to negative reviews, particularly when the person initiating the negative comments can’t be reasoned with. In a professional and polite way, encourage the reviewer to take the conversation offline. If the comment appears on Twitter, ask the person to direct message you. When you find yourself going back and forth with a disgruntled person online, you’re basically having a public argument—something frowned upon in any industry. Whether it’s through a phone conversation or in-person meeting, you’re more likely to create a positive experience in a private setting. Remember, a properly handled negative review should end in problem resolution.

3. Think about your potential clients. Your potential client is going to be either a resident or a property owner. If they see you get into an online argument, they might get the impression that you’re hard to work with, sending them straight to your competition. At the same time, your potential clients will want to see how you handle conflicts. As mentioned earlier, timeliness and professionalism are the two key elements to a proper response. Using polite phrases, such as “please,” “thank you,” or “we greatly appreciate the time you took to provide feedback” can go a long way toward diffusing the situation and reassuring your potential clients that you are the best option.

4. Remember you’re running a business. When someone sends you a negative review it’s very easy to take things personally. But this isn’t your personal Facebook page; it’s incredibly important that you remember to keep things on a business level. For example, suggesting that they contact the office or asking if there is anything that the business can do to improve or resolve their concerns can help you to keep things from getting personal. Again, you want to subtly guide the conversation offline. The sooner it’s offline, the easier it is to achieve a resolution and mitigate any harmful effects from the review.

5. Write your response with your ideal customer in mind. An ideal customer is someone who conducted research before deciding that he or she wanted to work with you. This type of customer has specifically chosen you for a wide variety of reasons. Make your response to the negative review one of those reasons. Show them that you’re aware of the needs of others, respectful of past clients, maintain a professional demeanor at all times, and are dedicated to continuous improvement. These characteristics are exactly what an ideal customer wants to see from a successful property manager.

After reading the above five tips you should feel more confident about your ability to handle a negative review. If, for some reason, things escalate online and you can’t resolve the issue, remember to keep your cool. If all else fails simply try saying, “Thank you for your feedback, if you have additional comments please contact us directly at [insert contact info here].” If the reviewer continues to comment they will lose credibility, while you retain your professionalism.

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AppFolio, Inc. develops Property Management Software that helps businesses improve their workflow so they save time and make more money. Appfolio submits articles & blogs including topics of Resident Retention, Improved Owner Communication, Time Management, and more.


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