Going by past discussions we’ve held on tenant screening, it’s evident that the process is very critical in acquiring information and subsequently qualifying prospects. Unless you’d be okay with the risk of spending sleepless nights dealing with troublesome tenants, you cannot afford to commit yourself into a contract without a comprehensive screening process.

And this also applies to the other side of the spectrum- tenants too, conduct their separate screening, by analyzing past reviews to learn more about a property management firm. As a matter of fact, close to 90% of consumers now rely on online reviews to review various local businesses, including property management firms. And since 88% of them trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, it would be detrimental to ignore the bad ones, especially considering that it would take about 12 pleased tenants to make up for one unpleased one.

If you thought your property management business has the capability of pleasing everyone, you might be disappointed to learn that personal opinions will vary regardless of how hard you try to exceed client expectations. A bad review may come up along the way…and unfortunately, dealing with one is not that simple because poor reviews make significantly bigger impressions than good ones. According to White House Office of Consumer Affairs, reviews on poor customer service reach twice as many people as praise for commendable services. To make matters worse, 54% of consumers, according to a study conducted by Dimensional Research and sponsored by ZenDesk, share bad customer reviews more than 5 times across different platforms.

Sadly, it takes just 1 to 3 bad reviews to deter 67% of would-be customers from dealing with you. And since 85% of consumers read up to 10 reviews of a business, you could be losing a ton of would-be tenants if poor reviews recurred within every 10 reviews posted.

Fortunately, there are ways of turning tables on this:

Analyze the Damage

Don’t rush to respond to a bad review. Before you think about defending your business, go through the review and analyze it critically to comprehend everything comprehensively. Remember, for every single complaint made by a customer, there are 26 others who choose to remain silent. So, you might need to approach it positively with finesse, using it as a chance of not only improving your rating, but also boosting your customer service and overall property management business.

Start by assessing if the review is actually factual. For example, was the tenant a resident of yours at any one point in time? A simple search through your property management software will reveal this. Secondly, what is the actual complaint? Rent increase and property maintenance are usually the two most common complaints tenants make about property management firms.

If the review turns out not to be factual, be civil and draft a proper, polite response. This will not only demonstrate that you’re responsive, but also convert a dissatisfied tenant into a happy, satisfied one.

Respond Proactively

A significant number of reviews, unfortunately, are not based on facts, but rather personal opinions about your business. The best way to approach such a situation would be proactively intervening by responding quickly and following up on the matter offline.

As soon as you note a negative review and analyze it subjectively, respond with an apology and request the reviewer to contact you directly to resolve the problem. Your prospective tenants will take note of the quick response, which will reflect positively on your business image. As a matter of fact, since 70% of customer-seller experiences are founded on how individuals value your customer service, you might be able to win over a couple of prospects from your polite response alone.

Taking matters offline and getting in touch with the reviewer on the other hand, will help you resolve matters amicably and swiftly, consequently avoiding a trail of angry messages, which would of course reflect badly on your business.

If, for any reason, the reviewer fails to contact you, avoid getting into back-and-forth online exchanges. Although you could be trying to clarify the issue, such an exchange would only harm your reputation because most prospective renters would be inclined to side with the reviewer.

Don’t Leave it Hanging

Unless a reviewer deletes it, a negative review, unfortunately, does not just fade away because you’ve resolved the issue. While some reviewers may go out of their way to post follow ups on the resolution processes, many usually fail to do so. Since you cannot coerce them into revisiting their former posts and clearing up the issues, the best way to turn tables is responding with comments that demonstrate that issues raised have been mitigated. Something like “Thanks for raising your concerns. Our team has been in touch and resolved the issue. Feel free to share your experience with us again…” would be enough to show that you’ve fully mitigated the matter, and you’re confident about your company’s ability to prevent a recurrence.

Coordinate With the Property Owner

Although you’d prefer making an impression to the property owner that everything is always proceeding smoothly, it’s advisable to report all reviews made by your tenants- and that includes negative reviews. Failure to do so would only make it look like you’re intentionally keeping the property owner out of the loop.  A reasonable property owner, in fact, would be very pleased to learn that you tactfully handled the whole matter and restored tenant confidence.

After mitigating and reporting the issue to the owner, consider leveraging online alert tools like Google Alert, which would notify you whenever your property management business is mentioned in any of the online platforms. That grants you the upper hand in tracking all the reviews and responding quickly before they start going viral among prospective renters. Then sooner you’re able to resolve a negative review, the less the impact on your business reputation. Finally, as you respond to negative reviews, take the time to also draft messages of gratitude to tenants who go out of their way to leave positive reviews.