Did you know nearly 80% of users look at online reviews prior to making an important purchase decision? In this day and age, online reviews have risen to the importance, if not even taken the place of, recommendations from friends and family members. 

It certainly makes sense that consumers want to explore others’ experiences with a product or service before shelling out their hard-earned cash. After all, reading reviews is simple, convenient, and gives a quick overview of what they can expect when they make a purchase decision.

This new approach to shopping seems like it’s here to stay, meaning business owners simply cannot cross their fingers and hope for the best when it comes to their online reviews. Instead, a proactive strategy for reading, requesting, and responding to reviews is key to maintaining an online reputation that attracts customers and promotes a positive business image. 

We’ve compiled a quick guide to review management to help you get a grasp on the key points you should be focusing on to leverage the potential of online reviews and ensure all feedback is handled appropriately.

 

1. Know What to Do When You Get a Bad Review

It’s almost inevitable that your business will receive a negative review at some point, but this doesn’t mean you should just let them slide. The best thing to do when you receive criticism that is posted online for all current and potential customers to see is to respond in a professional manner. This means:

  • Responding quickly. The sooner you respond, the greater the likelihood you can turn the situation into a positive experience for both you and the dissatisfied customer.
  • Remaining empathetic. It can be hard to put yourself in the customer’s shoes, but trying to see the situation from their point of view is crucial, even if you feel you weren’t in the wrong. 
  • Actively resolving the issue. Instead of explaining why a situation may have occurred, focus on fixing the problem. After a negative experience, the customer likely doesn’t care what circumstances caused it to happen; rather, they want an immediate resolution.

2. Ensure Customers can Express Their Dissatisfaction Offline

Sometimes, customers simply want their opinions to be heard, and posting a negative review is an easy way to express themselves. If you give your customers a more effective and convenient way to make complaints and ensure issues are addressed promptly, they’ll be less likely to take their criticisms online. 

The best way to do this is to clearly indicate how customers can contact management if they have an issue with your products or services. In many cases, you’ll be able to remedy the situation before the customer leaves a review, increasing the chances they’ll write about a positive, rather than a negative, experience. 

3. Respond to Positive Reviews, Too

Negative reviews aren’t the only ones that deserve a response. Take advantage of the opportunity to promote customer loyalty by engaging with positive reviews as well. 

This kind of interaction also shows potential customers your approach to customer service, dedication to building relationships, and appreciation for those who enjoy what you have to offer, making it an important part of online reputation management. 

4. Don’t Hesitate to Encourage Customers to Leave Reviews

Many business owners fear the effects of bad reviews to such an extent they don’t actively encourage customers to leave reviews at all. However, this approach can backfire. Remember your star rating is averaged, meaning a single bad review will be more apparent if you have fewer reviews in total. 

Having a high review count can not only negate the effects of bad reviews, but can also improve your search result rankings and show potential customers your business is well-established. With this in mind, you may have less anxiety about encouraging everyone who uses your products or services to leave a review, even if you’re unsure of what the outcome will be.

These days, savvy consumers are rarely willing to take a chance on a business they haven’t heard of or worked with before. Instead, they turn to trustworthy reviews to help them make some of the most important decisions about how they spend their time and money. 

If you operate a real estate business and aren’t leveraging this modern form of word-of-mouth marketing, you may be seriously missing out. This kind of feedback is essential not only for increasing your visibility and garnering credibility, but also for learning from your tenants and implementing critical changes based on their experiences.

Our Tips for Bolstering Your Online Reputation with Reviews

According to a 2019 survey from SurveyMonkey Audience, nearly three quarters of renters read between one and ten reviews prior to making a decision about a rental property. Most significantly, well over half of those respondents claimed they would pay more for a property that had higher rankings and reviews. 

With statistics like these, it’s clear both negative reviews and an absence of reviews in general can have an adverse effect on your real estate business’s ability to reach its full potential.

While you may know how important reviews are – after all, you probably use them yourself when making significant purchases – it’s understandable if you feel a little overwhelmed about collecting feedback from clients. The good news is that gaining insightful feedback from tenants and clients is easier than ever before. 

Take a look at our tips below to help you generate more online buzz for your real estate business and earn the trust of prospective tenants.

1. Listen to your clients and implement changes based on their feedback.

As it’s been shown, renters are willing to pay more for a better overall experience, you can gain more clients and increase revenue by improving that experience. Not sure where to start? Your best bet is to set up a channel for feedback so you know exactly which issues to prioritize. 

There are plenty of software options out there that enable businesses to gather up-to-the minute, actionable feedback from clients with a few simple clicks. Not only will the changes you make as a result help generate a more positive experience for prospective clients, but your actions will also instill trust in current tenants and make it more likely they’d be willing to leave a positive review.

2. Ensure your business is claimed on all reviewing platforms.

If you’re only checking on your Google reviews, you may be unaware of other reviews that have popped up for your property on platforms such as Zillow, Yelp, and Facebook reviews. This list isn’t exhaustive, of course. There’s also Apartments.com, Angie’s List, Yelp, and many more contenders that attract the attention of prospective tenants. 

Make the effort to claim your business on all of these platforms so you can better manage your online reputation. Fortunately, managing all these accounts doesn’t have to be a hassle. 

Utilizing innovative customer engagement software allows you to view and respond to reviews from a range of sites all in one place. This will make it easy to reap the rewards of having a widespread online presence.

3. Take the time to respond to all reviews, both positive and negative.

According to a recent survey, 97% of consumers who read reviews also read what businesses say in response to reviews. Whether the initial review is negative or positive, the way a business responds says a lot about their guiding philosophy and how they tend to treat their clients. 

This kind of communication can go a long way in building trust with prospective tenants, as it lets them know you take the time to maintain tenant relationships and value their feedback.

What you say in your response isn’t the only important factor to consider. The speed with which you respond to reviews can also make or break a relationship and even impact your overall review score. In certain situations, you may even be able to resolve the issue behind a negative review by acting quickly.

4. Request reviews from happy tenants.

It’s no secret unhappy customers are more likely to write a review than satisfied customers. To regain balance in your online reputation and ensure your review score reflects how the majority of your tenants actually feel, don’t hesitate to ask happy tenants to write about their experience online. Sometimes a gentle prompt is all it takes to let these individuals know how helpful their review could be for prospective renters.

To make this process as frictionless as possible, you can even automate your request. For example, you could have automatic invitations for reviews sent out via text each time a lease is signed or renewed. As long as you go the extra mile to make this process quick and easy for the tenant, you can have confidence they’ll be up for completing this small task.

We all know reviews are important, but few real estate businesses take the steps needed to collect tenant feedback and amass trustworthy online reviews. With these tips, you can build credibility for your business and generate some online buzz while simultaneously strengthening your relationship with renters.

And Why NPS Adopters Are 2 Steps Ahead

Google recently updated their policies around what’s commonly known as review gating.

Review gating is a process where businesses first find out if a customer’s experience was positive or negative. When businesses only ask those who report having a positive experience to leave a review, this is known as “gating.”

According to one of the key changes in Google’s terms of service, businesses should not “discourage or prohibit negative reviews or selectively solicit positive reviews from customers.”

Google realizes that consumers use their reviews to make purchasing decisions. They also realize that, in order to continue to be a reliable source, they’ll need to make adjustments to their ecosystem, as we’ve also seen in their recent removal of anonymous reviews.

What does this mean for companies that only ask for reviews from their happiest customers? Right now, with very little info coming from Google, it is unclear. Many businesses are choosing the “wait and see” approach as there haven’t been any reports of companies being penalized for continuing business as usual. Others are taking a more proactive stance and asking all their customers for reviews, regardless of sentiment.

At Listen360, we believe it’s important to look beyond reviews when making decisions about running your business. Negative reviews stem from negative experiences. When great experiences and loyal customers are a priority, stellar reviews follow. This is the essence of the Net Promoter System (NPS) and is the reason that businesses who’ve adopted the NPS methodology are two steps ahead.

Businesses that ask for reviews in tandem with NPS are less likely to be impacted by this Google policy change. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Customers want to be heard. NPS gives detractors a way to express their concerns privately. By giving them an outlet, they’re less likely to follow it up with public negativity, even if given the option.
  • Finding out who is dissatisfied and looking for ways to make it right affords businesses the opportunity to generate positive reviews that would have otherwise been nonexistent.
  • By looking for trends in customer feedback, businesses can prioritize and tackle larger issues that impact more people which, in turn, influence more reviews.

If you love your customers, they’ll love you right back. Adopting customer-centric strategies like NPS helps drive repeat business and increases the quantity and quality of reviews organically.

Whether or not your organization chooses to ask some customers or all customers for reviews thereafter, nothing beats knowing the true drivers of customer loyalty at your organization.

If you’re curious about how Listen360 can help you build a brand that customers adore, give us a shout.