Emotional intelligence required in reputation management

Customer Experience Concept, Happy Businessman Client with Question Mark Icon on Paper Bag, Crossed arms and wearing Suit. Concrete Wall with Wording of Positive and Negative Reviews

There’s only one thing worse than getting berated by a resident on site – getting berated on a review site.

When words are put on paper – or the pages of Yelp or Google, in this case – they’re much more powerful than when they’re said to us in the heat of the moment. That’s because we can say something we don’t mean much more easily than we can write it. When we write it, we probably mean it.

That’s what makes multifamily reputation management so difficult to navigate for anybody who works for an organization they love and believe in. The moment you read a negative review from an angry resident, you feel it to your core, whether you were involved in the situation or not. You might feel angry, annoyed, hurt, sad, confused or any other negative emotion for that matter.

But that emotion won’t serve you well when you sit down to write a response to that review. That’s why we recommend hiring a third-party to respond to reviews. However, if you are tasked with writing the response yourself, you’ll need some strategies to manage your emotions. Here are a few I’ve seen work:

Give it a few hours. Don’t just jump into your response right away. Let yourself work through the emotions before hitting the keyboard. It often takes time to work through the initial emotion and start viewing the situation rationally. Those first feelings are often irrational because expressing them to the resident won’t fix the problem. They will only escalate the negativity.

Vent to a coworker. You’re going to want to do this in private behind closed doors, but a little venting will help get how you really feel out of your system. Hopefully, after some venting, you’ll be able to take a step back and view your response as a business task, rather than a personal one.

Put what you really want to say on paper. Open up a word document or your notebook and write out what you really want to say to that resident. Then, delete it or throw it away.

Write out what you want to accomplish with the response. Some good things to write down would be: 1. To show prospects that you care about your residents. 2. To show prospects that you are rational and want to fix the problem. 3. To show prospects that you’re good at customer service.

Then, ask yourself if what you really want to say will meet those objectives. If you’re rational about it, you know that telling them they’re a liar or they’re overreacting won’t accomplish those objectives. Keep the end in mind and write to accomplish the real objective. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll change the climate with the resident.

Of course, you could just retain a multifamily centric agency to respond to your portfolio reviews and avoid all this mess. But if that’s not in the cards, you have to find a way to tame your emotions if you want reputation management to work for you rather than against you.

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