The customer is always right.
This is a slogan that is basically taught from the beginning to all employees in every business. After all it is the customers that determine the success or demise of a company, because without customers purchasing/using product then there is no revenue stream for a business to prosper. The apartment industry is no different. In fact the apartment industry may be an example of a business venue where word of mouth can literally be the downfall of a property’s life span.
With avenues like Apartment Ratings that potential naysayers can take to spread their sour opinion about a community, checking the online conversation about an apartment community is an everyday habit that employees of every single apartment community nationwide should be implementing. I always tell our leasing specialists that if you are not making the effort to establish your online reputation by monitoring and responding to both positive and negative comments about the community, then you are leaving it in the hands of others to establish your online reputation for you. I cannot even begin to count the properties that we have worked with that going into the assignment we have researched their online presence only to discover that the community is being completely destroyed by former residents. Upon being brought to the attention to the manager, 99% of the time, the manager has simply blown off our recommendation to respond to these negative postings with “we know that most of the postings are made up,” or “that resident just didn’t get along with us here in the office.” Regardless of the background behind these postings, they are still present for any single person that searches the property online to see and if I’m a prospect looking to move into a new apartment, guess what? I don’t know that the postings berating the property are false and I’m going to assume that they are true. As a prospect I’m not even going to think about visiting a property that has nothing but negative listings over and over.
With this being said take the time to respond to both positive and negative reviews to show that you care about what others are saying. If it is a negative review, thank the person for their post and offer to rectify the situation anyway possible. Respond to the individual and tell them that they are more than welcome to come speak to you directly. This at least shows that you are attempting to mend a bridge and are in tune with your residents/prospects needs. Getting into a war of words with these individuals will only further serve as a death sentence to your community’s name, so do the professional thing for the sake of your community and take the high road!