When it comes to managing your online reputation, it’s easy to occasionally let the haters get you down. As difficult as it may be to avoid focusing on the negative, you need to remind yourself there are still plenty of positives to be taken away from the reviews your business receives! One of the most important being how you choose to respond to those reviews because it can make a world of difference to prospects and to your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. (For more on SEO, see our previous article here). Here are a few helpful tips to implement in your review management response strategy for better reputation marketing:
If the reviewer is stating things that are 100% false, it’s tempting to call them out on their lies and share the truth with prospective customers. The problem is this will usually only rile up the reviewer and result in back and forth banter thus creating a bigger problem. When in doubt, it’s best to simply say, “because there are some discrepancies or inconsistencies within the review, you urge the reviewer to call the manager directly to discuss the details further and clear up any confusion.” This way, you’re making it clear some inaccurate claims are being made, but you’re not going to get into it with the reviewer via this public forum.
Don’t be defensive
Instead, try to utilize the constructive criticism you’ve received and offer an empathetic, proactive response. This demonstrates that you’re taking the reviewer’s feedback seriously and doing what you can to make feasible improvements. As tough as it may be not to take negative reviews personally, you often have to swallow your pride and think about the bigger picture. Your review responses are yet another form of (reputation) marketing for your business, so keeping your cool is a must. Acknowledging the reviewer’s complaints and concerns, apologizing and making the effort to offer a solution in a timely fashion can turn a 1-star review into a 5-star in no time!
Don’t offer incentives in exchange for positive reviews
Many companies offer gifts in exchange for 5-star reviews, and even though they may not always get caught, this type of activity is strictly forbidden by Yelp, Google, and other major review sites. Your best bet is to teach your team to make a habit of requesting feedback from happy customers. The goal here is to catch them in that perfect moment; when they’re so pleased with the service received that they will happily hop online and give your business an awesome review.
Benefits of 3rd Party Review Management
Think of us as expert mediators appointed to facilitate a resolution that ultimately benefits your business’ reputation. Our team has the opportunity to observe the consumer’s concerns, hear the management’s side of the story, and then use our objective point of view to create an unbiased response on the business’ behalf. This type of response shows a certain professional detachment and level-headedness that is often difficult to achieve by frontline staff.
We get it. Property teams are busy with assisting current residents and securing new leases. They don’t necessarily have the time to personally reply (quickly!) to online reviews. And even if they do, it’s difficult to do so in a way that it neutral and professional. It’s hard to be unbiased when they have a personal or emotional attachment to the claims made. That’s precisely why 3rd party review management helps in reputation marketing. Responses can be more timely and professional, and conflicts can be mediated in a way that makes your business rise above the negativity.