As a hardworking real estate professional, nothing can be more heartbreaking than negative apartment reviews. They can be a major hiccup in your marketing plans and strike a major blow to your confidence. Fortunately, there are many ways to deal with negative apartment reviews, and this guide is here to help.
First, we’ll show you how to take down fake apartment reviews. Next, we’ll cover how seriously you should take apartment reviews. Finally, we’ll come up with ways for you to respond to negative reviews.
This post covers:
- Why should you care about negative apartment reviews?
- How to respond to fake apartment reviews
- Should I listen to bad apartment reviews?
- How do you respond to a negative apartment review?
Why should you care about negative apartment reviews?
No matter what industry you work in, negative reviews are inevitable. Nevertheless, you should still give them at least some attention.
In the same way that positive reviews can boost your marketing efforts, negative apartment reviews can affect you in many ways.
Negative apartment reviews have the power to:
- Turn would-be renters away from your building.
- Lower your rankings in Google search results.
- Damage the morale of you and your employees.
- Lead to negative media attention if reviews are serious enough or go viral.
What’s more, studies show that the opinion of others can affect someone’s valuation of something. So, negative reviews can cause otherwise happy residents to become discontent with or question your building.
However, before you worry about unfavorable reviews, you should know that in most cases, people are more likely to leave negative reviews than positive ones. Why? Because people tend to seek resolution to negative emotions. And leaving a bad review for a company or service is an easy way to blow off steam.
So, if you’re going to get any reviews for your property, odds are there will be a few negative ones no matter what you do. Regardless, let’s take a look at some handy solutions to address negative reviews.
How to respond to fake apartment reviews
One of the biggest issues you may deal with is fake apartment reviews. Fake apartment reviews can come from someone who’s never even lived in your building. They can also be a complaint or an exaggeration about something that didn’t happen.
While infuriating, there are a few things you can do to prevent fake apartment reviews. However, you can address them. And in the process, you’ll also restore order to your building’s good reputation.
In order to handle fake reviews, you should:
- Report them on the listing site. Usually, there’s a report button that you can use. Depending on how outlandish the fake review is, a system administrator may remove the review entirely — and possibly ban the reviewer.
- Fight fiction with facts. Respond to the comment and respectfully call out the reviewer’s lies. Make sure to provide evidence in the form of screenshots of text messages or pictures if you have them.
- Threaten legal action. If a fake review’s claims damage your rental property’s reputation (and therefore your business), then you have a right to take legal action. This is especially useful against outlandish claims. For example, if they portray your character or that of a specific employee in a negative light, you may want to pursue legal action.
Fake reviews can be stressful, but they’re easy to handle because you’re almost always in the right. Conversely, negative reviews with a bit of the truth to them are tougher to handle, as we’ll explore below.
Should I listen to bad apartment reviews?
Whether you should listen to a negative review or not depends on the review. There is no pleasing everybody. Take a look at the reviews of your favorite restaurant of all time and you’re guaranteed to find a few bad reviews. The same goes for movies, books, stores, and businesses big and small. Unfortunately, yours is no exception.
Inevitably, some negative reviews are going to be petty.
They’ll be about things you can’t possibly resolve, such as:
- Footsteps, voices, and other noises from neighboring apartments.
- The restaurant you share your mixed-use property with hosts noisy diners late at night.
- Bad weather prevents year-round use of amenities like parks and pools.
Conversely, other bad reviews are going to be fairer. If someone complains about loud noises during quiet hours from your building’s staff or unannounced maintenance inspections, then these are things that you can handle. Therefore, you should consider listening to them.
Remember, when listening to bad reviews, it’s important to have a diplomatic temperament. Bad reviews can help you create the best rental property brand possible if you consider and apply honest criticism. Eventually, good reviews will outweigh the bad if you treat all reviews as a learning experience.
How do you respond to a negative apartment review?
Responding to negative apartment reviews is something of an art form. Good or bad, you should publicly respond to most reviews — especially if they’re fake, dishonest, or petty. After all, being active online is a valuable marketing strategy.
When responding to negative reviews, you should follow three steps:
1. Be professional
No matter how aggressively a review is worded, always respond respectfully. By carrying yourself with dignity, you can boost your building’s reputation and model yourself as a professional worthy of respect.
You can sound professional by:
- Taking the time to spell everything correctly without using abbreviations.
- Thanking the reviewer for their feedback.
- Using de-escalating language if the reviewer seems especially emotional.
- Acknowledging that you’ve listened to the reviewer in your reply by reiterating what they said.
- Identifying yourself at the end of your message with a tag that says your name. This way, readers know that a real person responded and that the message isn’t automated.
As we’ve been taught since grade school, saying “I’m sorry” can go a long way — if you mean it. So, consider apologizing to the reviewer for their bad experience if the complaint is valid.
This is a great way to save face. It also shows that no part of the bad experience was done with malicious intent. If your apology is sincere enough, the reviewer may even take their review down. However, your objective should be to demonstrate your willingness to compromise and please your residents.
Pro tip: Explicitly say what you’re apologizing for, instead of a general “I’m sorry.” Additionally, include the reviewer’s name in your apology to make it more personable.
Disclaimer: If apologizing and admitting that you’re at fault puts you at risk for any legal consequences, then reconsider your apology and consult with a lawyer instead.
Watch how ButterflyMX works:
3. Offer a solution
After apologizing in a highly professional and sincere manner, you should always offer a solution. Your solution can be any number of things, but if possible, it should be outlined in your response.
Your solution can include:
- Free services. This could be assistance moving in or out or an in-unit upgrade if they’re a current resident.
- Refunds. Even if you were already planning on giving a resident’s security deposit back, you can re-state that you intended to do this, or have already done it, for them. In another case, if a resident had all of their quarters eaten at your vending machine, a literal cash refund will be more effective.
- A promise. If there’s nothing you can physically do for the reviewer, then you can promise to prevent the problem from happening in the future. This is likely your number-one option if you can’t do anything else.
- Negative apartment reviews are unavoidable.
- You should combat fake reviews as quickly as possible and try to get them removed or discredited.
- Consider listening to negative reviews that make valid points and using the feedback to improve your building.
- When responding to negative apartment reviews, be polite, apologize, and try to find a solution to the reviewer’s problem.