Have you ever asked yourself why people leave apartment reviews? I know this sounds strange, but the feedback is not necessarily for you. 73% of Millennials think other consumers care about their opinions more than companies do (BazaarVoice, January 2012). They leave an apartment review because they want to share tips and their thoughts with their peers – people they have never even met before, but people they think would really appreciate and listen to what they have to say.
Smart property managers perceive their apartment reviews as more than just feedback from upset (or happy) residents. Reviews are an opportunity to understand what residents and prospects want and expect. If you read your reviews carefully, you can get an understanding of what programs they like, what customer service techniques are valued, and even basic things like what they think of the events you host. These are just a few of the things you can learn from your apartment reviews.
Now if you really want to gain an advantage, you also read your competitor’s reviews. You have the same prospects and very similar residents, so understanding their strengths and weaknesses on the very personal level you get with reviews is one of the smartest things you can do. Savvy managers know more than just what a competitor survey tells them. They know what their competitor’s residents are saying about them.
Some of you might feel like you are spying if you read apartment reviews of other communities, but it is perfectly ethical. Finding your competitor’s areas of success and pain points can lead to some really good brainstorming about your own marketing, customer experience plan, and sales approach. By monitoring your competitors on an ongoing basis you get to know their behavior. And keeping tabs on your competition is a great strategy for growing your business.
When you read your apartment reviews and reviews for others, always be looking for ways to improve your own community. Find opportunities and identify your tactics to get you there. It seems like stating a strategy is pretty easy to do and we often get lost in the execution, so this is where the tactical plan gets really important. When you start making your tweaks, test your customer loyalty and always, always evaluate your sales pitch.
Don’t get stuck blindly reciting the same story 10 times a day. Watch and understand how the receiver processes your message. After all, 70% of Americans say they look at reviews before they take the next step to conversion (Zero Moment of Truth). They know more about you than you might think.
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Social Insight Thought Leader