How to Handle Negative Reviews

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Are you looking for information on How to Handle Negative Reviews? Over the past few years, I have created videos and written articles on the importance of reviews and the impact they have on your ability to lease apartments. Until now, the information I am about to share with you on how to handle negative reviews has only been available to those who attend my Boot Camps and Live events.


How to Handle Negative Reviews

You can have the perfect unit for the renter at a price that fits perfectly into their budget. You can be the ideal leasing agent, and the prospect can trust you 100%. Even with all that in place; If the renter is overwhelmed with negative reviews and comments about the property before making their decision to sign a lease with you, your chances of closing the deal are slim to none.

Negative reviews about your apartment community left unchecked are silent killers. Theses online assassins sit perched on places like Google, Yelp and other online review and rating sites like snipers killing your leases and cash flow over and over again until you step in, take control and neutralize them.

If you follow my step-by-step process of how to handle negative reviews, you will easily counteract the destructive power these negative reviews have on your community and in cancel out their ability to kill your deals.

Step 1: Feed the Community an Abundance of Overwhelmingly Positive Reviews

The first step to properly handle negative reviews is to neutralize them by adding tens or even hundreds of positive reviews for every negative review left. Obtaining positive reviews is easier than you think. If you have not learned my system for positive reviews from attending a training boot camp, take a look at one of my videos or call my office at (888) 683-5885. My team will be happy to get you the information you need.

Step 2: Never Argue or Attempt to Prove the Reviewer Wrong, Even When They Are.

Never directly engage a negative review in disagreement or in an attempt to “win” the argument against them. Most reviews are written by crazy, unreasonable, and unhappy individuals. This is especially the case in the apartment industry. Your community and your staff are going to naturally be a target for irrational and rude individuals looking to lash out. If you want to know how to handle negative reviews, remember you can’t argue with crazy. Engaging them in an attempt to prove them wrong or you right on the review site only gives the outside 3rd party reader the impression that two crazy parties are having a public argument.

Your concern should always be in creating the most significant impact on the thousands of potential residents that are reading the negative review, not the one unreasonable person that authored it.

Step 3: Handle Negative Reviews by Responding Quickly.

The first thing the potential resident readers are going to look at is how quickly you respond to the negative review. Ideally, you want to post your initial response within minutes of the negative review being posted.

The longer you take to respond the worse you look. Not responding is never an option. Even for the most absurd negative reviews, you must respond as quickly as possible.

My company MultiFamily Traffic provides all our clients free alerts the instant any review is left about their community. If you would like to be alerted when reviews are left about your properties, call us at (888) 683-5885.

Step 4: Engage Negative Reviews with Agreement, Not Admission. Be in a Hurry to Help.

Right behind timing (how quickly you respond), is the tonality of your response. You want to present an initial reaction that agrees with the reviewer but does not admit to any wrongdoing. You also want to avoid anything that sounds like a canned customer service response.

Avoid Saying:

“I am sorry.”

“Thank you for your feedback.”

“We appreciate you letting us know.”

“I am looking into what happened.”

Instead, Say:

“I read your comment as soon as you posted it.”

“I take comments like yours very seriously.”

“I am hoping you can give me more information.”

Step 5: The Magic Step. Show Everyone How Overblown and Irrational the Negative Review Is.

Remember, as long as you are treating your residents right, and servicing them fairly, 96% negative reviews are going to be overblown and irrational. What makes this the magic step in how to handle negative reviews is that you are going to place the ball back in the court of the reviewer and allow their lack of response and failure to take action show the readers two things; 1. You care and are in a hurry to help, and 2. The reviewer is nonsensical and only wanted to complain.

Here is how the magic step works:

First, follow steps 2 – 4 above respond quickly and say the right things. Next, in the comments, you are going to ask the reviewer to reach out to you. Finally, you are going to follow-up publicly at the 2 hours, 24hr, 48hr, one week, and 2-week marks. This is going to discredit the reviewer and place a spotlight on how well you and your community services residents. Do this with every negative review, and you will mitigate nearly 100% of the damage negative reviews have on your ability to sign leases and retain residents.

Below is a typical negative review and the proper sequence of responses on how to handle a negative review:

Wednesday, September 5th 10:00 am – Mona M. writes “Don’t move in here, nothing ever gets fixed, and the staff is nasty.”

Wednesday, September 5th 10:34 am – Community Manager writes (in the comment section of the review) “Mona, my name is Jessica, I am the assistant community manager following up on the comment you left above a few minutes ago. I take all reviews very seriously and want to step in personally and service you. I am in the leasing office now; can you come into the office ASAP? I want to sit down over a cup of coffee and learn more about your situation. This is very important to me and your entire service team.

Wednesday, September 5th 12:34 pm – Community Manager writes “Mona M. It is Jessica again. I am following up from earlier this morning as I haven’t had a visit from you. This matter is at the top of my priority list, and I know it’s important to you as well. If coming into the office today is at all inconvenient for you, can you phone me here in the office? The number for the leasing office is (303) 803-7372.

Thursday, September 6th 10:34 am – Community Manager writes “Mona M., I am following up with you from yesterday. You have not been able to come into the office or call. You are very important to me, and connecting with you is my #1 priority today. I will move my schedule around to accommodate you best. Feel free to call or come into the office anytime today, whatever works best for you.

Friday, September 7th 10:34 am – Community Manager writes – Mona M., It is Jessica in the leasing office again, all I have is the first name you left on the review above, and I can’t find a Mona in my resident profiles. I have no other way to contact you except this thread. Maybe email will work best for you? The best email to reach me is, please email me if that works best, even if it is in the middle of the night or over the coming weekend. You are a priority for me.

Wednesday, September 12th 10:34 am – Community Manager writes – “Mona following up from your review last week. I still haven’t heard from you. Can you come into the leasing office, call or email today?”

Wednesday, September 19th 10:34 am – Community Manager writes – “Mona M. I wanted to make a final attempt to locate and speak with you via the comments section of your review as I have no other way of contacting you. Your comment two weeks ago is something the entire organization takes extremely seriously. We want to speak with you and learn more about your situation. If you are unable to come into the leasing office, call or email, will you consider writing us a letter with details on how we can contact you?”

Do you see how the detailed, caring and precision follow up in the example above completely overshadows the unprofessional, rude negative review left by Mona M? 75% of the time the reviewer will never reach back out, if they do, even better, Service them and ask if they wouldn’t mind removing the review.

Starting today, follow these steps on how to handle negative reviews and watch your community and career thrive!

If I can help you with anything from 10X more hot, qualified leads to training on how to succeed in property management. Call my office today at (888) 683-5885.