Why Outsourcing Reputation Management Efforts Isn’t A Bad Thing
When someone criticizes the job you’re doing, particularly one you’re ultra-passionate about, an emotional response is inevitable.
Emotion might work well if you’re trying to lure back that girlfriend who ghosted you a few weeks back, but it doesn’t reflect well on online review sites, where readers tend to side with the reviewer over a business. This is where a steady, proactive and non-emotional approach is the most effective.
That’s precisely why it’s a good idea to let someone else handle your review responses.
In the apartment industry, for instance, residents will leave negative reviews on the pages of Yelp, Google, Facebook and Apartment Ratings no matter how well the property is managed. Some of those reviews might be fair, but many of them will not be. These reviews might be the product of a resident who didn’t get their way and decided to go on a rant. Or the ill-logical perceptions of someone who believed they were wronged and choose to spill out semi-coherent (or maybe not) paragraphs on social media.
Imagine you are the community manager who has worked diligently to make the property a place residents are proud to call home. Then Xavier from B-23 writes a grammar-free diatribe about how the onsite team “simply doesn’t care” about the residents and is only out for money.
The community manager would probably be pretty peeved. In fact, they are already compiling a list of things they have done this month specifically to provide a comfortable community for residents. Pool parties, Taco Tuesdays, the pet costume contest with dog and cat first-place prizes – and free pet treats. It’s you, Xavier, who is only out for the money.
Now imagine a prospective resident, looking for a place to live. As virtually everyone does nowadays, they scour review sites of apartment options in their area and they come across Xavier’s review and see that the community management team responded. Score one for them, right?
Then they notice that the response, rather than addressing the resident’s concerns, counteracts everything Xavier said. It provides examples of why his review isn’t accurate, which basically dismisses his concerns as illegitimate. Maybe it’s not a big deal to some readers, but others will simply say “next.”
That’s why many in the apartment industry hire a third-party firm to assist with responses. While the community manager should still be involved in the informational process, the third-party won’t have the emotional tie and can compose more of a down-the-middle response.
The last thing to do is escalate the situation or get into an online he said, she said. At that point, it’s online reality TV and you’re not getting paid for ratings.
An added benefit to a third-party response team is that the community manager can spend their time working on the tasks they were hired for rather than managing reviews.
Companies often shy away from third-party services because they worry about removing themselves from the situation. In the case of review management, property managers can, and should, remain intimately involved. It just won’t show from an emotional standpoint, and that’s a good thing.