Even if your team strives to provide excellent customer service at every turn, negative apartment reviews are still hard to avoid. It’s impossible to please everyone 100% of the time, and some factors are beyond anyone’s control.
Not only are bad apartment reviews hard to avoid, they’re also notoriously difficult to have removed. Unless the review violates the review platform’s policies, it will most likely remain online. Ignoring negative reviews will send the message that you don’t care. So, you need a plan for how to respond effectively when a one-star apartment review appears in your queue.
The No. 1 best practice when it comes to dealing with bad apartment reviews is this: You must respond. Even if you contact the reviewer privately to resolve their concern, you should also write a public reply to the review. Keep in mind that prospects are also reading your apartment reviews, and how you respond may influence their decision to sign a lease with you.
Read on for seven more steps to crafting the best response to negative apartment reviews.
Use the reviewer’s name.
People who write reviews (especially negative ones) want to be heard and want to be treated as an individual, so open your response with a friendly, “Hi, [NAME].” Most apartment reviews are on Google and Facebook, so you can usually get the reviewer’s first name.
Demonstrate that you value the reviewer’s candid feedback by saying thank you in your replies to apartment reviews, even the negative ones. Here are some ways to phrase your appreciation:
- “Thank you for taking a moment to share your thoughts with us.”
- “We’re grateful for your valuable input on your experience in our community.”
- “We truly appreciate your honest feedback.”
- “We thank you for sharing your experience with us.”
Saying you’re sorry shows that you care. Even if the apartment community isn’t at fault, say it anyway. Keep it short and sweet like this:
- “We’re very sorry to hear that your stay in our community fell short of expectations.”
- “We regret that this happened, and we apologize for the inconvenience.”
- “It’s important that we provide excellent customer service at all times, and we’re sorry to have disappointed you.”
- “Please accept our apologies for this situation.”
Even if something was an isolated incident or an unusual occurrence, acknowledge the resident’s experience and don’t make excuses. Reassure them that your team members hold themselves to high standards. Some ideas:
- “Our goal is to provide exceptional customer service at all times and we regret that we missed the mark in this instance.”
- “We’re sorry to hear that this was your experience. We appreciate you sharing this feedback — we will use it as we strive to make our community an even better place to live.”
- “We always aim to give our residents excellent service and we are very sorry to hear about this.”
Resolve the concern.
Craft your response to address the reviewer’s specific concerns, and communicate any changes you’ll be making as a result of their feedback. Avoid using a template response as it could come across as generic and insincere.
If there is nothing that you can do to resolve what happened, here’s a way to take ownership and make things right:
- “Please accept our sincere apologies. Your situation was an exception, and we deeply regret that this happened. We are known for our great service and we truly care about our residents. You have our commitment to do better going forward.”
Take it offline.
The last thing you want is a protracted back-and-forth with an unhappy resident or prospect. Instead, let the reviewer know you’ll be contacting them directly (if you can) to resolve their issue, or provide your contact information and ask them to reach out to you. Some things you can say:
- “We’re eager to speak to you directly so we may do all we can to help. Please contact me at [email address or phone number] so we may work as quickly as possible to resolve this.”
- “A member of our team will be reaching out to you shortly. We want all of our residents to be happy living in our community and we’re committed to addressing your concerns.”
Ask for another chance.
If a prospect had an unpleasant experience in your apartment community, or if a resident vows to move out at the end of their lease as a result of something negative happening, request a chance to improve. This shows that you have the confidence to deliver a great experience going forward and that you care about their satisfaction. Here are a few ideas:
- “Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We are very sorry to hear we fell short of expectations. We care deeply about providing a great living experience to our valued residents, and we’d love a second chance.”
- “We are truly sorry to hear about this. We want all of our prospective residents to enjoy visiting our community and we regret that you feel this way. We would love to give you the tour you expect and deserve, so please call or email me directly to set it up.”
Online apartment reviews have the power to make or break the success of your apartment community. When people leave negative apartment reviews, your focus should be on engaging directly with them, showing a willingness to understand their concerns, empathizing with their experience, and offering the direct contact information of an employee who has the power to help.
While you can’t stop someone from leaving a bad apartment review, you can actively participate in improving your apartment community’s reputation by carefully responding to all of your reviews. If you need a hand, Respage can help! We offer DIY and Full-Service Reputation Management packages. Reach out to us to learn more.