Having a positive online reputation is essential for any business, especially apartment communities. Prospects, competitors, and customers can easily research your community online to determine if you have a positive or negative reputation and then decide if they want to do business with you before you every have the opportunity to have a conversation. Just one negative resource or comment can deter a prospect.
A positive online reputation will encourage them to pick up the phone or walk in your leasing office. With that being said, investing in reputation management is crucial for your business, and having a 90-Day Reputation Management Plan is a necessity.
Your reputation is your secret sauce; it sets your brand apart from your competitors and drives revenue growth. And your utilizing your residents is key. Encouraging them to generate reviews and contribute to your online reputation will have a huge impact on your success. Unlike most advertising models, positive resident reviews are priceless.
In order to move forward with a plan to gather positive reviews, you must understand the motivation. A strong customer acquisition strategy must be augmented by an effective, customer-centric retention strategy. Start with encouraging reviews. Even the happiest of residents need to be motivated to leave their feedback on third party review sites.
With the following tips to create a 90-Day Reputation Management Plan, you will have new, authentic, positive review in no time.
- Be Honest. When a resident confronts you about a negative experience, it is important to be honest and transparent. Own your weaknesses and never bend the truth. Residents can see through false promises, so be careful and act as a real person. You can turn the negative experience into a positive one, and you will become well respected as a company and an individual.
- Be a Good Listener. Conversations happen in multiple forms, and you will want to pay attention to the conversations happening online just as much as the conversations happening in the office. Invest in social media monitoring and watch for those talking about negative experiences – whether it be with you or your competitor – and take action.
- Be Quick on Your Toes. As mentioned above, negative conversations will happen online, thanks to social media. Don’t let the tweets or comments sit without a response for too long. This can become an open can of worms for other unhappy residents to chime in on, and it can create a negative impression for future prospects. React quickly, address the criticism, and always be polite.
- Be Open Minded. Take a moment to understand unhappy customers. This is the ultimate way to learn more about your audience and craft a better message and customer experience in the future. Learn from each review and customer feedback.
- Be Ready. Have a communication plan ready to implement in case a crisis situation arises (ex: community fire). A communication plan includes pre-written messages for each possible crisis, a specific channel to utilize during the crisis, and an employee available and trained to deliver the message and consult with press and unhappy residents.
We’ve all heard the saying “there is no such thing as bad press.” This may be true for politicians and celebrities, but that isn’t true for multifamily or customer service related businesses. Fortunately, you can easily overcome and manage negative comments and reviews as long as you address it correctly, consistently, and in a timely manner with your 90-Day Reputation Management Plan.
Misty Sanford, Founder
North of Creative