When I was a student in college, the first thing I did when I looked for an apartment was to search for different property management businesses on review sites. I was afraid of landlords who weren’t going to return my security deposit. Reviews from renters like me helped relieve my fears. Studies show that my search was definitely not an outlier. It’s estimated that 92% of customers consult reviews before making a purchase decision.
Let’s talk about why reviews matter and how you can start collecting and leveraging them today.
Online Reviews & SEO
Of course, reviews don’t just show social proof to tenants—they also help your business rank higher in search results. No matter what it is you’re searching for, Google aims to deliver the best results. Google’s algorithm values reviews because they show how much your current tenants value you and your services.
According to Moz, reviews are the third-greatest factor when it comes to local search rankings. The bottom line is without reviews, it’s going to be tough for an interested prospect to find you via Google.
So, now that we know why online reviews are so important, let’s talk about how you can start collecting them.
How to Start Accumulating Reviews
While everyone knows reviews are important, there’s a big problem for property management businesses: tenants who feel they had a strongly negative experience are the ones most likely to leave reviews. So unless you take the right steps to foster reviews, there’s a risk that only your overall star rating will be determined by your angriest residents.
You can take action to prevent this from happening. Send review requests to your tenants via text and email. A simple message asking them to leave feedback can help drown out the angry minority. Here are three things to keep in mind so that your review requests get results…
Get the Timing Right
Your tenants are much more likely to leave a review when you ask at the right time. After all, if you send a review request six months after the tenant has moved out, chances are that they might not even remember enough to leave detailed feedback.
Be sure to send review requests to your tenants after a major event—something like a move-in, move-out, or a service request. Tenants are much more likely to leave a review when a positive interaction with your business is fresh in their mind.
Include Links to Review Sites
When you send review requests to your tenants, make sure you add links to the review sites you want them to post on. This includes big sites like Google and Facebook, and industry-specific sites like Zillow and Trulia. Remember, prospective tenants, are looking for your business across the internet. There’s one thing to keep in mind, though: don’t ask tenants to write reviews on Yelp. In 2018, Yelp banned review solicitation, a decision that attracted a great deal of controversy. Yelp’s stance to not ask for reviews is not shared by any of the other major review platforms. Luckily, Yelp isn’t still the giant in the review ecosystem that it once was. These days, more reviews are posted on Google and Facebook.
Don’t Gate your Reviews
Some property managers are tempted to only send review requests to their happiest tenants. Do not do this. This kind of “review gating” has been banned by Google. If you’re discovered gating your reviews, you can face a penalization in your search ranking.
Besides, a few negative reviews are nothing to be afraid of. Reasonable people understand that there are two sides to every story. Read our guide to responding to reviews for more information on dealing with bad reviews.
What Else can I do with my Reviews?
Of course, there’s more that you can do to leverage your reviews once you’ve collected them. Here’s how you can leverage your customer feedback to the fullest:
Share Reviews as Social Proof
Remember, your tenants value the social proof that reviews provide, so, don’t just leave them where they were first posted. Share glowing feedback on platforms like Facebook and Twitter to highlight the voices of your happiest tenants and build trust with prospects doing research. You can also use a review widget to share them on your business website. That way, prospective tenants can see real examples of the great service you provide.
Respond to Tenant Reviews
While it’s something that’s very easily neglected, responding to tenant reviews can have a big impact. A study by Harvard Business Review found that businesses that respond have a higher overall star rating. It’s not hard to figure out why. When you respond to your angry tenants quickly and effectively, you can often convince them to either delete or edit their original review.
When you do get a bad review, the trick is to take a deep breath and be polite. While it can feel disappointing to get negative feedback when you work so hard to provide good experiences, it’s important to remember that prospective tenants look at your review responses to see the kind of service you provide. If they see you making a sincere effort to keep all your tenants happy, it will make a positive impression.
Want to Automate Your Process?
It’s not easy to manually send review requests to your tenants after every move-in and move-out. It’s not easy to monitor and respond on the dozens of review sites across the Internet. Luckily, there is an easy way to manage your reviews.
With BirdEye, you can send review requests automatically based on certain triggers like move-in and move-out date. BirdEye also allows you to monitor and respond on more than 150 sites. BirdEye also integrates with Rent Manager, allowing you to send review requests to your tenants automatically.
Learn more about automation and learn more actionable steps for online reputation management in our free guide.
This article was contributed to the Rent Manager blog by the BirdEye team.