Key Elements of a Rock Star Review Response
Responding well to an online review is more involved than you might think at first glance. There’s a lot of customer service and public relations theory working in the background that has to be incorporated into a few short sentences.
And it’s happening while you’re trying to hold back the emotion from being skewered online. If you can find a way to tame the angry beast inside and remember the following five elements, you can become a response rock star.
This isn’t a statement to the media or a legal letter. It’s a response to an upset resident with hundreds, if not thousands, of prospective renters watching. If your response reads like you outsourced it to your legal team, it’s not going to sound natural and prospects are going to know it isn’t genuine. Be natural, be authentic and prospects will believe you truly care about your residents.
The worst thing you can do is lie. Saying your service manager was at the community at 9 a.m., when they didn’t show up until 3 p.m. might seem like a good idea because prospects will believe you arrived on time. But the truth always comes out and it’s more believable when it comes from a resident. The resident will call you out on a follow-up post and other residents might post their own negative reviews about late service just out of principle. Always tell the truth, even when responding to a review.
It’s hard to be friendly to someone who just questioned your integrity, your commitment to service and your competence. But it’s the only way to diffuse the situation and show that you are customer-service oriented. Take the high road and be friendly with the person who isn’t being friendly to you. Prospects will respect you more if you’re friendly than if you fire back with a nasty tone.
This is one of the most overlooked components of review responses because it’s hard to do without sounding defensive. But taking the time to write what you’ve done in a way that doesn’t sound defensive will pay dividends. Today’s customers want action in addition to empathy, so you have to show them that you take action when residents express concerns about your service. No, you can’t say, “We did fix that leaky faucet,” in response to someone saying that you didn’t fix a leaky faucet. But you can say, “Our records show that a service associate was at your home on that day and that he worked on the faucet. I’m sorry the work wasn’t completed to your satisfaction. We’ll give you a call shortly to schedule another service appointment.”
The goal when we receive a customer complaint is to resolve it to the customer’s satisfaction. Theoretically, that means we should leave it open until it’s resolved. That’s what prospects want to see – that you will work a problem until it’s resolved. Your review responses should indicate to them that you will do just that. So, indicate that you will either call the resident back or that you will be happy to meet with them at their earliest convenience. Then, follow through and try once again to resolve their concerns.
These five elements are critical to a solid review response, and why it’s important to spend the time necessary to effectively respond to every review. If you don’t have the time or expertise to do this for every response, consider outsourcing to an agency with multifamily expertise.