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6 Ways to Handle Negative Online Reviews With Finesse

landlord looking at a Ponte Vedra Beach property management company's rating on cell phone

If you own a rental property in Ponte Vedra Beach, you probably have a way to source online reviews or are thinking about doing so. There are several places to post your reviews like Google, a rental site, your website, or social media. Having a public forum for reviews — especially if you own a large multifamily property or more than one rental home — is a great way to gain feedback from your tenants. It shows potential renters why they should live at one of your properties and makes them feel more secure in their decision.

On the flip side, any negative reviews will make your business look worse even if you believe the review is unfair. While most systems don’t allow you to delete reviews, there are certain ways to respond that will help redeem you and your Ponte Vedra Beach property. At Real Property Management, we know that more often than not, reviewers are simply frustrated and just want to be heard.

The good news is that there are ways to listen, help, and boost your reputation at the same time. Read our six suggestions below on how to handle negative reviews.

Respond Quickly with a Public Reply

A quick response is one of the first steps you should take. While it may seem better not to get involved and let the review sit instead of continuing the conversation, act immediately to appear more professional and like you’re willing to help.

You don’t have to say much or immediately have a solution; rather, thank the reviewer for their feedback and let them know you understand their concerns and want to help improve their experience.

Take the Conversation Elsewhere

Taking the conversation away from the public review space is one of the best moves you can make. This way, you can help the disgruntled tenant without it getting messy in the comments. If the reviewer feels heard, they are less likely to leave any more bad reviews and may even delete the original one.

It also allows you to show in your reply that you truly want to listen. Anyone reading the reviews will see that, instead of ignoring negative comments, you are willing to discuss the matter. In your reply, mention an email or phone number so the reviewer can contact you, or ask them the best way to get a hold of them.

Be Professional and Don’t Get Defensive

As we’ve already mentioned, you want to sound professional in your responses. If you tell the reviewer that they are wrong, argue with them, say anything negative back, or even defend yourself, it can come out in a way that only paints you in a bad light. If you know for a fact that what they are saying is not true, simply thank them and ask to speak privately. Then you can address the concerns without seeming petty.

While it’s okay to clarify any information, remember that anyone reading the reviews does not know you personally. Even if you look like you’re right, they probably won’t want to get involved with a property owner who shows the potential for drama. When it comes to renting, people are spending a lot of money and committing to a lease, so they are especially cautious about who they are working with.

Customize Your Response

You can have a templated response that automatically replies to every complaint but personalizing each message will help the reviewer feel heard and make you appear genuine. Whether the review is reasonable and concise or angry and rambling, try to break it down into the main points. Are they frustrated? Offended? Did you not meet their expectations? Are they misinformed?

From there, address whatever the actual concern is. The review might mention that their car was broken into while parked on your property and how upset they were even though their car is fine now and insurance covered the damages, Don’t congratulate them for getting their car fixed or even just apologize for what already happened (though you should do that as well). Instead, dig deeper beyond their anger and understand that they are likely feeling worried about safety, not just to their car but to their home. In addition to your apologies and support, explain how you are going to address security issues going forward.

Ponte Vedra Beach property manager sitting at desk thinking of negative online review response

Try to Resolve the Issue

You know to respond and potentially keep discussing the review offline. Now, take it a step further by seeking a solution. While the review may be from a tenant who already brought the issue to your attention, and you may have already done everything you can to resolve the problem.

If you can find a resolution that will please the tenant, circle back to the online review and post an update. For example, if they were complaining about a maintenance issue not getting fixed, leave a comment that you are sorry for the inconvenience and let them know the problem has been resolved.

Keep What Matters in Mind

Remember, several key factors are important to potential tenants during their search. Try to be proactive to not only keep current tenants happy but also to attract new ones. If a bad review mentions anything from this list of what’s important to renters, stay on top of it and address it in a way that is empathetic while simultaneously reassuring those who are looking for a rental. According to the list linked above, tenants are looking at:

  • Location
  • Safety and security
  • School district
  • Parking
  • Move-in ready condition
  • Appliances included
  • Upgrades and renovations
  • Age of property
  • Open floor plan and storage
  • Outdoor space
  • A cooperative landlord

While a tenant may complain about anything and everything, it’s more likely they will complain about the discomfort of their home, whether their rent amount is worth it, their safety, or a promise that wasn’t kept. Understand that these are human concerns, even if they rant about something unrelated, and that the best thing to do is try to address their concerns as part of your duty as a landlord.

If you are having trouble keeping up with all your reviews or aren’t sure where to get started, we can help. As one of the top property managers in Ponte Vedra Beach, we’re here to attend not only to reviews but also to anything else you need.

Contact us today to get started.

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