A Layer of Sincerity: Add a Signature to Your Review Responses
Imagine getting a birthday card or another congratulatory note. The message is brief and kindhearted. But even though it’s clear who it’s from, it’s unsigned. Seems a little off, eh?
Now envision a letter from a company who oversees one of your monthly bills, we’ll say your car payment. They are writing to inform you that you’re late on a payment and subtly hint that it’s in your best interest to get caught up. But imagine if the typed letter abruptly ended with no signature, not even a general one from the lender. Even though you know it’s from the lender because the envelope told you so, no signature seems a bit cold.
Yet that’s what’s happening frequently in the reputation management world. More and more apartment operators are taking the proper step of responding to any and all reviews, but many are coming across as insincere. That’s because the most frequent mistake teams are making when responding to reviews is failing to add a signature.
Granted, if you are responding to a review on Google, Yelp or any other platform, it’s clear that the response is coming from the community because it says so in the handle. But this isn’t the same as replying to a comment from your personal Facebook account, where it’s clearly you. (As a quick aside, it seems ridiculous for someone to sign their own individual posts or comments, but it does happen.)
Anyhow, it’s very typical for reviewers to use an alias or altogether fake name, particularly when crafting negative reviews. It’s their way to voice their complaints anonymously without having to stand behind them or answer to them. You don’t want to be that person in your response.
A team signature will suffice. An individual signature from someone onsite, preferably the community manager, is even better. Here’s an example. Let’s say Jasper H. from the fictional Blustery Mountain Heights apartments in Vail, Colo. posts a mixed review, noting he loves living there, appreciates the friendliness of the onsite team but wishes the gym opened before 10 a.m. on weekdays.
Take a look this brief response:
We’re delighted to hear that you’re happy here, Jasper. Our team appreciates the kind words as well. And we’ll definitely look into your suggestion to open the gym earlier. – Rebecca H., Blustery Mountain Heights.
Now imagine the response only signed by The Blustery Mountain Heights Team. It is still acceptable, but not as personal. Now imagine with no signature at all. It might not make a difference to everyone, but it will to the reviewer and anyone close to the situation.
Responses without signatures are like a basketball game without a scoreboard. You can get a hint of what’s happening by observing it, but it’s difficult to put into proper context. So if you make the effort to respond, take the extra step by signing off on it.
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