Residential community clients may oftentimes be unhappy with community ongoings or the level of customer service they received, and will take that dissatisfaction to an online platform. With the rise of digital platforms from social media to review sites where people receive up to the minute information and interact, the impact of a negative review is amplified. Thus, developing a plan to proactively mitigate negative comments shows proactiveness, openness to consider feedback, and make positive change. This surely goes a long way in ensuring happy clients and establishing relationships with new community prospects. In this blog post, we’ll navigate through five important tips to effectively improve online reputation.
1) Know what your clients are saying about your company
Constantly monitoring what your clients (residents and board members) are saying online about you is the foremost important step to improving your management company’s online reputation. First, assign someone in the management company to lead this new effort. They’ll need to take stock of the platforms your clients use for sharing complaints. These platforms may include review sites such as Yelp, search engine reviews such as Google, or social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Here’s how your company can stay on top of online monitoring efforts:
- Setup Google Alerts – Enter the name of your company and/or relevant keywords. Google will then send daily emails of articles/mentions you specified straight to your inbox. Check Google’s help article to learn more about how to set these alerts.
- Check mentions on social media regularly. These include direct replies to your posts and indirect mentions of your company.
- According to Forbes, 91% of individuals use a search engine to learn more about a company before they buy from them. Thus, it’s important to research search engines to see what is being said about your company. Simply type your company name and navigate to the News tab to see what is being said about your company.
- Don’t rule out personal communication. When residents walk into the office or they send an email, ask them if they are happy with the services they’re receiving? This is a great way to better understand how residents feel about your services and if they are likely to share their complaints on social media.
2) Remain a calm stance in your response (and don’t engage in online arguments)
Words used in reviews are oftentimes rude and one’s natural tendency might be to defend their stance. However if not handled appropriately, the online encounter can quickly escalate into an argument, resulting in the risk of legal tussles and worsened reputation. It’s absolutely essential that the employee responding remains calm while being clear and assertive in their response. Here are a few tips to respond to negative comments:
- Respond to the issue quickly, preferably within a few days.
- Be sympathetic in your response to the residents and show you understand their concern.
- Let them know you are looking into the issue. Continue the discussion offline via phone or email.
- Once the issue has been resolved, respond within the same review with a short description of the resolution and thank them for their patience.
3) Don’t simply use “copy-paste” responses
It’s important to make your responses to comments thoughtful and personalized so that residents will appreciate that you took the time and valued their opinion. If you notice a pattern in your response that includes repeated text, build a template with that content in it so you can reuse it. Make sure to leave enough room to address the problem stated in the review.
4) Generate more positive reviews on the platforms that matter
A library of testimonials on different platforms helps spread word of mouth the quality of services you deliver and can become a great form of social proof for your business. The question is, how do you generate positive reviews for the hard work your client services team puts in?
- Conduct a survey regularly requesting resident feedback and if they are willing to post their feedback on a review platform. Or, provide a link to this survey in every customer support email.
- If you can fit in reputation management software in your budget, it can help you to monitor reviews on multiple platforms and separate the negative reviews from positive ones before they go live on public platforms.
5) Continue your efforts in creating a stellar customer service (take feedback in your stride)
The best way to invest in the welfare of your company’s reputation, in the long run, is to continue delivering excellent customer service to your residents. This effort improves resident satisfaction (and with it, generate more positive reviews), boosts client retention efforts (communities will stay with you longer), and better operations (less chaos in the office dealing with issues). With these long-term benefits in mind, how can you support ongoing customer service?
- Engage in transparent communications with your residents and keep them informed. Miscommunication or lack of it can result in resident dissatisfaction. Know the best ways to reach them – through emails, phone calls, text message, newsletters, direct mailers/letters, and/or website updates.
- Provide an easy way for residents to connect with you and retrieve information. Community management software such as Pilera’s allows residents to log into a website or web portal to see their financial balance, update information, submit work orders, and retrieve all latest community information.
- Take any feedback you receive from clients, whether positive or negative, in your stride and consider it for future improvements.
An investment in reputation management is an investment in your community management company’s success in retaining satisfied communities and establishing new relationships. Identifying online platforms where your customers interact is important in understanding what they say about your company and level of services you provide. Then, you can develop a strategy to effectively handle any complaints, respond with transparency, and incorporate feedback into customer service and operational improvements.