Research shows that 91 percent of people regularly read online reviews and 84 percent of them trust online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations. For those companies in the service industry – including property managers – online reviews can make or break the chance for success. A few unhappy clients can drive away new business before you’ve even had a chance to prove your worth. That’s why managing your online reputation is so important. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Stay in the know.
You can’t manage something that you’re not aware of, so make sure you stay on top of what’s being said about you online. Set up a Google alert for your company or personal name and keep an eye on social media for any mentions. You should also monitor what other property managers in your area are up to so you can know where you stand in the market.
When people search for property managers in your area, what do they see first? If the only thing they can find about you is a poor review, don’t expect your business to grow. While you can’t control what people write about you, you can be proactive about making sure there’s lots of positive buzz about your business as well. Being active on social media and producing quality blog posts are two ways you can help balance out negative comments.
There are dozens of review sites out there. Make sure you’ve claimed your business on each of the major ones, including Yelp, Yahoo! Local, Bing and Google My Business. Update all relevant information, including contact details and a description of your company and services. By managing these accounts, you not only make sure the info out there is accurate, but it’ll also be easier for you to stay on top of reviews as they are published.
Enlist your happy clients.
Your long-term clients know you are one of the most trusted property managers in your area. Why not enlist their help by asking them to share their positive experiences online? The more thumbs-up comments you receive, the less of an impact the few negative ones will have. To get more reviews, just ask. 70 percent of people say they’ll leave a review when asked, so what do you have to lose?
When a negative review pops up – which they inevitably will – don’t panic. Take action by responding in a positive, professional manner. Apologize for the situation and offer a solution, if possible. If things get out of hand, suggest taking the conversation offline. Whatever you do, don’t lash out or get defensive. Remember – your response will be seen by many prospective new clients, so keep things civil.
Designate a reputation manager.
Whether it’s yourself, someone on your staff or a whole team (for larger organizations), having someone in charge of managing your online reputation will ensure that nothing slips through the cracks. Create a plan to follow that includes regular monitoring of review sites and the web in general, auditing of social media accounts, achieving specified goals and a strategy for responding to all online reviews.
Anyone in the service industry is subject to the power of online reviews, and property managers are no exception. By putting the tips above into action, you can stay a step ahead of negative comments and keep your online reputation stellar.