Dealing with negative reviews is a fact of life for property managers and apartment marketers. The truth is that despite your best efforts, you can’t please everyone all the time, but most issues can be resolved with a bit of patience, empathy and problem-solving.
But what if you get hit with bad apartment reviews from trolls? These could be people who feel they were wronged and have no real interest in accepting any plan you may propose to fix their problem, or reviewers with no direct connection to your apartment community.
Trolls may criticize your community across multiple apartment review platforms and might update their reviews with even more negative feedback. They may also recruit friends and family to write their own bad reviews or leave one-star apartment ratings. The effects could be devastating to your apartment community’s online reputation — even one or two particularly negative reviews can have a major impact on prospect traffic.
Fortunately, most people reading apartment reviews will filter out emotional outbursts and will instead look for patterns across a wider time frame. They’re also interested in seeing how the manager responds, and they expect to see a caring and authentic reply.
Here are some tips on how to handle apartment review haters and trolls firmly and professionally.
Assess the situation
The first step is determining if the complaints have any merit. Is the reviewer a current resident, a past resident, a prospect, a guest, or none of the above? Have they complained directly to you in the past? Speak with everyone who might be connected to the issue, including apartment maintenance and leasing staff, to see if they have any insight.
If the reviewer has a valid complaint, own it and be upfront about how you plan to resolve it, then follow through. After you’ve successfully resolved their concerns, see if they would consider revising or removing the apartment review.
Call them out
It’s possible that the reviewer has not ever set foot in your apartment community and is just acting in support of a friend or relative. If you can’t verify that the reviewer is a lease holder in your community, simply reply, “Thank you for your feedback, but we’re unable to find your name in our system. If you are a resident of our community, please get in touch with us directly.”
Fire back with facts
If a reviewer complains about something that has no merit, don’t hesitate to challenge them. For example, a common gripe centers around apartment security deposits. If a review states that they were ripped off because they didn’t get their deposit back, but the truth is that they left a mess behind when they moved out, point this out to them as politely as possible.
Keep your reply consistent
If the same review is left across multiple apartment review sites, make sure your response is the same, word for word.
Don’t expect the reviews to be removed
Apartment review sites base their credibility on genuine, untainted opinions of customers, and they’re not known to remove reviews easily. But you can certainly try by seeing if the situation falls within the site’s parameters for removal. It’s best, though, to assume the review will remain online and enter an appropriate response.
Respage can take the task of dealing with apartment review trolls off your hands. Contact us to learn more about how we can help manage your online reputation.