If you’re not yet familiar with Yelp, it’s a website that is dedicated exclusively to online reviews of local businesses. And it’s pretty popular. In the first quarter of 2015 alone, the website averaged 142 million unique monthly visitors. Because property management is, in essence, a “local” service, chances are your customers have already visited the site and left behind some comments about their experience with your brand. Let’s take a look at how you can leverage this to your benefit.
Create an account
Ever hear the term, “the best defense is a good offense”? The best way to deal with online reviews is to be proactive. Start by setting up your free business account on Yelp. Fill in as much info about your property management business as possible and optimize your listing with photos and other graphics. This shows visitors you’re active and care about their opinions.
The Property Manager′s Guide to Extraordinary Marketing has all the inspiration and resources you need to make the right message heard by the right people.
Connect with your reviewers
It’s always good practice to respond to your online reviews, whether they’re positive or negative (but especially if they’re in the latter category). While it’s a good idea to respond in as timely a manner as possible, it’s also important to give yourself enough time to think through your response. The 24 hour rule is a good one to employ.
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Have the right perspective
Nobody ever wants to read a bad review about their brand, but the fact is you’re not going to please all of your customers all of the time. Every business will occasionally receive a review that doesn’t necessarily paint them in the best light – your property management organization is no exception. Try to look at this type of feedback as an opportunity to improve your service.
Respect the power of public comments
Remember that once you put something on the internet, it’s essentially out there for eternity. Responding to reviews in a way that is positive, professional and proactive is not only important for keeping the reviewer happy, but could also help you for years to come. When a prospective customer goes to Yelp to see how your property management services are rated and they see that any negative reviews were responded to promptly with the goal of correcting the problem, it will instill a sense of trust and improve the chances of converting them.
Acknowledge and apologize
Regardless of whether you feel a negative Yelp review is accurate or not, the key to managing your online reputation is always acknowledging the way your customers feel. Let them know you’re listening to their concerns and apologize for their bad experience. Often times this simple validation can be enough to put out a fire and win back a client.
Keep things real
Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to have friends and family members post fake reviews on your behalf. Yelp has a really advanced algorithm that can identify these types of fraudulent comments. If you get caught, there may be negative consequences for your Yelp account.
Finally, and of course, most importantly, if you want to leverage Yelp to benefit your property management business, make it your focus to deliver exceptional customer service with each and every interaction. When you go above and beyond, your positive reviews will well outweigh those that aren’t as good. And don’t be afraid to let your satisfied customers know you’re on Yelp. The more great reviews you get, the better your business will rank and the more potential clientele you’ll attract.
Get your free copy of The Property Manager′s Guide to Extraordinary Marketing. It has all the inspiration and resources you need to make the right message heard by the right people.