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We talk a lot about online reviews on the blog. We’ve provided tips on how to get more reviews, improve your local listings, and even hosted a webinar on the topic of reviews. However, we continue to hear how reviews are a continued stressor for management companies.

Yes, online reviews are important. So much so that 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends and family members. However, you need to know that your company is going to get bad reviews. Even if your team provides excellent service, getting a bad review here and there is almost unavoidable.

According to ReviewTrackers, consumers are 21% more likely to leave a review after a negative experience than a positive one, and that makes sense. Think about a time you left a restaurant less than impressed when you were really looking forward to an amazing meal and exceptional service. There’s a strong chance you had more of an urge to take the time to draft a review to express your disappointment than other times you’ve left a meal super impressed.

According to the same report from ReviewTrackers, there are changing trends in the world of online reviews that are actually impacting overall average ratings. First is that Google and Facebook are the top two most popular review sites. People are already on these sites every day, making it even easier to leave reviews. If you make it super difficult to leave a review, consumer typically only take the time to write a review when they’re really angry. When it’s easier to leave a review, you’re more likely to get more positive reviews. The report goes on to explain how the average review has actually become 12% more positive since 2010.

So, what does this data mean for your business? More importantly, why should your team stop dwelling on the bad reviews and start using them to take action?

Take action on bad reviews

When you get a bad review, listen to the feedback being provided and use it to make your company better. Address the review head on by responding to the reviewer, as 80% of consumers believe that a business cares more about them when management responds to their reviews. Prospective customers researching businesses like yours are checking review sites to see what current customers are complaining about, and more importantly, how companies are responding to these complaints. If you’re silent on these sites, that can lead prospects to believe you might also go silent when they’re in need of maintenance help or when other issues arise in the community. Consider following up with the person who left the review by phone or email to make sure their issue was properly resolved and if there’s anything else your company can do to make things right.

Keep an eye on the main review sites

As mentioned earlier, Google and Facebook are the two most popular review sites. Make sure you’ve claimed your listings so you can receive email alerts any time there’s a new review on one of these sites. Try to respond to all reviews day of, or within 24 hours. Since these are the most popular review sites, make sure you’re driving happy customers to share their feedback here as well.

Ask for reviews!

You can’t just expect your residents to leave reviews on their own. Sometimes you simply need to reach out and ask! Good times to ask are when you’ve had positive interactions with residents, such as after closing out a work order, helping them host a party in one of the community’s amenities, or after a phone call. That’s a great time to ask if they’d be interested in sharing their experience online. You can have a prewritten email template to send to them with links to your Facebook and Google listings. You can also offer incentives to the first 10 or so residents to leave a review, by offering something small like a $5 gift card for coffee.

This all ties back to the importance of providing excellent customer service across the board. Interested in improving resident experience in the communities you manage? Download our free guide!