Negative reviews can make a property manager's blood run cold; after all, they can destroy your reputation and your business in short order if they aren't brought under control. Sometimes, negative reviews are your fault—and having methods in place to determine if you have serious customer service issues internally is smart. One of the ways you can do this is by tracking your metrics with property management process automation.
This is especially relevant when the reviews are coming in from upset property owners who have a right to be upset. Then, there are also the property owners who don't have a right to be angry—and, most commonly, tenants with a grievance that may not even be real.
If you've ever been part of an online group of property managers—or have been at it for more than a few weeks—you've probably got some stories about the crazy things that tenants can do. From the hoarders who move out without notice leaving their hoard behind for you to discover and clean up to the tenants who didn't read the giant red letters noting your application fee is (understandably) non-refundable.
So, what do you do when tenants give you lemons? You make some lemonade.
Spinning Negative Reviews From Tenants Into Gold
The best way to respond to reviews is by using facts to back up your position that, while your tenants matter, your first responsibility is to the property owners you work for. Using language from your lease as well as documentation of the events in the review is how you will position yourself as a property manager that owners can trust.
For example, if a tenant leaves a negative review complaining about how they think the windows are drafty and your maintenance crew has been out twice and found nothing, an appropriate response could be something like this:
"Hi (Name), We've looked into our records, and our maintenance team responded to your requests on January 15th and February 3rd, both within two days of your submission. We have caulked around the windows and determined that replacement is not necessary. As always, our duty is both to you and the property owner, and we have a responsibility to find cost-effective solutions that benefit everyone. If you have further questions, please contact our office so we can address your needs directly."
A response like this shows tenants that you respond to work orders and displays to owners that you take reasonable and fiscally responsible actions to ensure their property is well-maintained and their tenants are happy.
Perhaps you've gotten a review like this: "These people are HORRIBLE!!! What SLUM LORDS! Only move here if you want to lose your deposit for an apartment you left clean!!!"
This is the perfect time to take advantage of property management process automation and CRM databases to look up the tenant and find the walk-through photos from their move-out inspection as well as the move-in inspection photos to reference.
- Use the photos when responding to the reviews and publish them if the tenant is dishonest.
- Calmly point out the damages and that you charged for their repairs per the lease and made it right with the property owner.
- New owners reading these reviews will be very impressed at your level of detailed information and record-keeping.
- They will know they can feel safe leaving their property in your care when you showcase incentives for trust in your responses.
It is also reassuring for an owner to see such a calm and measured response, even to a tenant that is clearly in the wrong. This speaks to your professionalism and ability to keep a level head in difficult situations, further strengthening your position as a trusted resource.
- Property owners and tenants alike read your reviews when looking for a company to rent with or from.
- For this reason, you'll always want to respond to negative reviews politely and professionally.
- Never turn into the bad guy or get into a flame war with an owner or a tenant: If you are in the wrong, acknowledging your mistakes and apologizing for them can go a long way in your favor as well.
- This has the effect of showing future clients that you are willing to make things right when you have a misstep, which is ultimately all we generally want from the companies we work with.
For more information about reviews, you can check out these other blogs as well to give yourself an edge when it comes to how you choose to respond. :
- How to Detect—and Manage—Fake Reviews About Your Property Management Business
- Curating Your Reputation: How Fake Reviews Affect Your Property Management Business
- Tap into Reviews to Amplify Your Property Management Marketing
- They left a Negative Review, Now What? Responding to Negative Reviews
As always, the first step to gaining positive reviews comes from providing excellent customer service! RentBridge's property management process automation solutions help you provide outstanding service consistently so you can delight your clients and get the reviews to showcase it.
An added advantage to automated service offerings is that they can provide the responses and support your clients need—regardless of the situation around you.
There's no better time to bring technology into your management approach! Contact us to learn how we can automate your property management processes from rent collection to leasing and beyond!