Online reviews are essential for today’s real estate professionals. Whether you are a lone agent or you run an entire brokerage, your reputation and those of your agents are imperative to your day-to-day business. In fact, these reviews can affect not just gaining new leads and clients, but the relationships with your existing clients.
But just like any business that offers services and works with customers, reviews are inevitable, both positive and negative. No matter how hard you work, everyone has different experiences. It may stem from the lack of personal connection they felt with you as their agent, or they may be upset with something completely out of your control, such as a bad inspection or not receiving a loan—either way, it is important for real estate professionals at any level to know how to manage any negative reviews to maintain success in today’s market.
While you may consider removing these reviews at first sight…don’t. Instead, follow these following tips to manage negative reviews, keep you top of mind (in the best way) and prove yourself as a devoted, consumer-focused real estate professional.
Respond Publicly and Privately
No matter where this review livevs, whether it’s on Google, Facebook, your blog or website, it is important to respond publicly to any negative review as your first step. This will not only show that you care enough to respond to the reviewer, but also to any existing and potential leads and clients. Acknowledge the problem, give feedback and let them know that you will be reaching out to them privately. If the review is anonymous, ask the reviewer to reach out to you privately to discuss further and remedy the issue. Just be sure to keep your response positive, even on the most negative comments.
Next, reach out to them privately, whether through email or private messaging. This will showcase your commitment to them as a client and that you are willing to take criticism, accept feedback and make any necessary changes to avoid the same issues in the future. Be transparent, admit any faults you may have made and keep the conversation light and positive. If, however, they do not respond, consider sending a friendly follow up that highlights your continued commitment.
Leave Them With a Positive Experience
In real estate, a positive reference can go a long way. Sometimes, a conversation with an unhappy client just isn’t enough. Instead, consider offering a small gesture or gift tol showcase how much you truly care about their experience with you. A gift card to a local restaurant, a hookup for local services, an item for their new home or even movie tickets can help change their view on you as an agent and maintain your good reputation.
Remember, you are trying to connect with an unhappy client and change their mind about you, so don’t ask them to remove or change their review. This gesture or gift should come with no strings attached.
No Response? Let It Go
If you have reached out to the client who gave you a negative review, including a follow up, and have still not received any response, don’t worry. One negative review will not destroy your entire business. A public response handling the comment calmly and respectfully will show future clients that no matter what happens, you are dedicated to improving customer experience. A single negative review will not hurt your brand, so don’t dwell on it. Move forward and continue to serve your clients with the best possible service.
Good Response? Ask for an Update
On the other hand, when you follow these steps to reach out and make improvements and amends, and the client leaves a happy customer, ask them for an update on their initial review. Guide them to respond to the original review with an update explaining how you handled their concerns to display your improvements and strive to offer the best services, communication and experience, even to previously unhappy clients. If they choose not to, however, don’t hound them. Simply move forward and continue improving the experience and service for your future customers.
Cultivate More Positive Reviews
Though you can’t eliminate negative reviews completely, and often can’t delete them from the public eye, you can flush it out with an influx of positive reviews. Reach out to past clients and ask for feedback on a regular basis. Direct them to your Google Business page, Facebook and website through email, text or a phone or Zoom conversation. The more reviews you get, the better you can understand where you can improve and identify problems or concerns before they hit in the form of a negative review.
Be Proactive for Future Feedback
In addition to asking past and current clients for reviews and testimonials, implement a strategy to gauge customer satisfaction. This can include submitting testimonials for a contest or giveaway, a monthly video testimonial to display on your social media or a quarterly survey. The more information and feedback that you can gather from both satisfied and unsatisfied customers can help not only build up your brand, but give you and your team a better understanding of what you can do better, how you can improve your reputation and promote the success of your agents, business and services.
It is important to actively monitor all incoming reviews, both positive and negative. Be sure you know where they live and how to respond. Always say ‘thank you’ to clients who leave reviews and make sure that they know you are aware, listening and will do what is needed to improve experience and satisfaction. Your reputation on and offline is vital for your business, so to lead your business to success, remember these steps for managing negative online reviews.
Paige Brown is RISMedia’s content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.