In today’s world of advancing technology, online reviews have become increasingly important. When tenants are looking for a specific product, they will research brands to compare. They compare price points, specifications and reviews, and ask friends for opinions. This is also true for rental units. Whether apartments, townhomes, single-family homes or any other form of rental property, tenants want to know that the company they will be paying is going to treat them right and take care of any issue that pops up. Online ratings are vital to the success of your rental business.
Understanding your ratings and reviews is crucial. If you’re unfamiliar with how it all works, educate yourself. According to RentPath, “A recent study from Brightlocal found that 84% of today’s consumers trust online ratings and reviews as much as they trust the recommendation of a friend or family member. Additionally, in a 2015 NMHC study, slightly more than half of renters said that negative online reviews kept them from visiting a community, while 87% of consumers said that they would only consider a business with a rating of three stars or better.”
Now, that’s not to say that all of your reviews have to be perfectly amazing in order to attract tenants. In fact, if all of your reviews are super positive, it may look suspicious. What really matters is how you handle the negative reviews. Respond to negative reviews quickly, within 48 hours if possible. Be polite and professional in those responses. People will take notice of that, they will see that you have a negative review, but you handled it with professionalism and did what you could to mitigate the situation.
If you want to limit your negative reviews and increase your positive ones, send surveys to your residents. Find out what you’re doing well and what needs improved. Use any negative reviews or feedback as training tools to improve your staff and property. You may think that everything is running smoothly and going well, when the reality is your tenants see things very differently.
Make sure you are in control of your online presence. Claim your business listings on all applicable websites. Create a social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and any site specific to rentals. Ensure proper information is shown on websites like Apartments.com, Zillow and other online listing pages. Ensure alerts are turned on for each website and social media account so you know when a review is posted. When an email comes through, visit that site as soon as you can to read the review. Respond to every review, whether positive or negative, in a polite and professional manner.
The vast majority of people today, especially those who are renting, will use some form of online searching to locate their next home. You want to ensure that your business has a solid online presence, that reviews are handled professionally and in a timely fashion. Most of all, don’t be afraid of or respond defensively to negative reviews. Use every review that comes through as a training tool to let your staff know what is working and what needs changed. You not only want to attract new tenants when people move out, but you want to keep the tenants you have as long as possible, which means keeping them happy.
The bottom line is that your online ratings and reviews matter. Your online presence matters. Make sure you are in control of it.