Reputation management can feel somewhat ambiguous at times. It’s not like social media engagement, which is easy to track using meaningful engagement metrics like shares and comments. Still, one thing is crystal clear when it comes to reputation management; every business needs to respond to reviews. According to a research report developed by SOCi and the Local Search Association, 80 percent of consumers expect a response to critical reviews. As if that doesn’t drive the point home enough, the report also found that 40 percent expect a response within 24 hours.
Between monitoring reviews, creating responses, and posting those responses across multiple review sites, reputation management eats up precious time that property managers can’t spare. Fortunately, there are technology solutions and workflows that can help improve response times. Here are four ways property managers can improve review response times while still providing quality customer care.
You could set a few times throughout the day to check every site for customer reviews, or you could simplify your workflow by using technology like SOCi that alerts you when new reviews come in. A reputation management tool that sends alerts is the best way to ensure that you see and respond to every review. Make sure notifications appear as soon as new questions or reviews are posted, and ensure every team member knows which reviews are their responsibility. This leads us to our next point…
Google and Facebook are two of the top five most important review sites for property managers. The other top review sites include Apartments.com, Apartment Reviews, and Yelp, so be sure to invest in technology that pulls reviews from all five sites. According to the Google My Business support page, responding to reviews is one of the best ways to maximize how often your business appears in local search results. Google has two different sections that require responses to customer feedback; Google My Business (GMB) and Google Q&A. GMB reviews appear in search results and Google Maps, and are some of the first pieces of information renters will see when searching for your property.
Google Q&A is a consumer-facing, crowd-sourced FAQ feature that allows consumers to ask questions about the business, and for businesses to provide answers that appear on the GMB profile. Whether it’s you or one of your leasing agents monitoring this platform, your team can cut down on response time by pre-populating some of the most commonly asked questions with answers from your business.
On Facebook, there are three things you should be monitoring and responding to; Recommendations, comments, and private messages. Recommendations is the new name for Facebook’s review feature. The system asks users a simple yes/no question about whether or not they would recommend a business. The user’s response can sometimes include written feedback as well, which business owners can respond to just like responding to a comment on a post. Some people may choose to comment on your posts instead of leaving their feedback in Recommendations. The team member in charge of Facebook should check posts for comments daily, and respond accordingly.
Lastly, be sure to pay close attention to private messages on Facebook. According to Facebook, businesses that respond to messages quickly are rewarded with badges on the Business Page that read, “Very responsive to messages.” To get that coveted badge, you have to respond to 90 percent of messages and have an average response time of 15 minutes or less.
Get ahead of negative reviews by creating a list of common review topics and acceptable response templates, equipping your team with on-brand messaging so they can handle the issues they see regularly. Not only will this speed up your review response process, but it will also help your property identify common problems. Once you’ve developed your FAQ list, the next step is to create customizable templates for each response so that your team can easily copy, paste and tailor these responses as needed.
Although these will be templated responses, you should train your staff to personalize their response as much as possible. Even something as simple as including a first name, or reiterating their concern can make a big difference. According to the report we mentioned earlier, 89 percent of customers state they would be willing to change a negative review depending on how the business responds. Personalizing your response gives you the best shot of giving the customer a positive impression and getting them to change their review.
Setting expectations with your staff regarding review response is essential. Every responder should have guidelines for timeliness, tone of voice and when to use templated responses versus custom responses. You’ll also want to make sure your team knows how much time to dedicate to review response. You don’t want to miss any reviews, but you also don’t want customer interactions to take over your whole day and ruin your workflow.
Once you’ve given your staff these guidelines, make sure they have the tools they need to make this process efficient and effective. A tool like SOCi can help users quickly respond to hundreds of reviews across multiple locations.
Customer care is shifting from a reactive to a proactive approach. By monitoring feedback and analyzing trends, you can better determine the root cause of the negative reviews and can actively address them – hopefully prior to more bad reviews being posted.