How To Overcome Fake Reviews

How To Overcome Fake Reviews

Online reviews are a powerful tool that helps people make decisions ranging from which hairbrush to purchase to which apartment to rent. Consumers trust others whom they see as similar to themselves to point out relevant pros and cons and to make useful recommendations. Thus, a negative review can have a serious impact on a business.

However, company owners and managers should know that not all negative reviews are legitimate. Competitors may hire people to submit fake negative reviews (often along with fake positive reviews for their own company). Part of successful reputation management is knowing how to combat these tactics effectively.

Identifying and Reporting

An important first step is to report the review in question to the platform it appears on to get it removed. However, a negative review is not necessarily a fake one; a real negative review needs a very different method of handling. The following red flags can indicate a review is likely to be false:

  • General language: A fake reviewer is more likely to write something like, “This is a terrible building.” A genuine negative review is more likely to contain specific criticism, such as “I noticed garbage in the lobby.”
  • Extreme, dramatic tone: False reviews tend to use exaggerated rhetoric and vicious language.
  • Suspicious review history: A large number of extremely positive reviews for competing businesses can be a red flag. Alternatively, you may see a large number of bad reviews (likely similar to the one you received) for many similar companies. Chances are high these reviews will be dated on the same day or close to one another.
  • Your records do not support the review: If the review alleges its author viewed an apartment or rented one, your records can show whether this actually happened during the relevant time period.

Sites such as Google typically let you flag a review if it is false or otherwise violates site guidelines. For instance, Google disallows hate speech in its reviews. If you want the process to go faster, you may also want to dispute a review. This process usually involves several additional steps but lets you specify exactly why you believe the review to be false or otherwise inappropriate. Doing this can also get your report reviewed faster.

Responding

It can take time for a website to investigate your report and remove the objectionable reviews. In the meantime, you need to make a response. Leaving the review to just sit there allows others to continue viewing it and potentially taking it seriously.

No matter how ridiculously false and vicious the review, it is important never to descend to that level in your own response. Avoid the temptation to fire back with personal remarks or mockery. Keeping your own tone professional and reasonable is a good way to show readers the review is likely baseless.

Getting more positive real reviews is another way to minimize the impact of the fake. Make it easy for your real customers to leave a quick review. Some companies have increased their review rates by offering a small promotion for leaving feedback (of course, this promotion should be content-neutral).

Managing

It is also helpful to keep an eye out for any patterns of false reviews that may continue to come up. Some sites make monitoring easier by providing alerts or reports you can analyze to identify problems.

Getting Help From Experts

Reviews are essential for supporting your company. Opiniion can help you maximize the benefits of online reviewing and counteract its negative sides such as fake reviews. Not only can you make it easy for real customers to submit feedback, but you can also monitor and analyze review activity, obtaining substantial, actionable data. Learn more about how the professionals at Opiniion can help you manage your online reputation by filling out our online contact form or calling us at 855-330-9980.

Phrases to Avoid When Responding to Reviews

You should have someone working for your multifamily management business who is in charge of overseeing the company’s online reputation. It should be this individual’s job to respond to any reviews as they come in.

It is common for businesses to leave automatic responses such as “Thank you for leaving feedback. We strive to provide a one-of-a-kind living experience for all of our tenants.” The problem is that this quickly becomes repetitive, and someone browsing the site can see how unoriginal your team is. You want to make it clear to prospective tenants that they will not just be treated as another income source if they decide to rent through you. That means avoiding some common cringe-worthy phrases whenever you leave responses to reviews.

“Thank You for Your Feedback.”

Managers say this phrase for both positive and negative reviews. It is the definition of the word “fluff.” You want to do more than simply thank someone for leaving feedback; you want to make it clear you will incorporate that feedback into your future processes. It helps the reviewer believe his or her review will lead to some useful end purpose.

For a positive review, you are better off saying something along the lines of, “We are tremendously grateful you took the time to leave such kind words about your resident experience.” For a negative review, consider saying, “We appreciate your candor, and we promise to do better going forward.”

“We Are Happy To Hear…”

You are most likely to say this following a positive review, but it fails to capitalize on the opportunity you were just presented. Responding to reviews is your company’s way of coming across as human. It makes it clear there are real people behind the computers, with genuine emotions. There are various ways to get creative, such as by saying, “Wow! You just made this office’s day.”

“We Are Sorry To Hear…”

Similarly, you need something different to say when you receive a negative review. The word “sorry” can come across as hollow to some. Prospective tenants may think you are being insincere and assuming saying “Sorry” will fix everything. You need to do more to acknowledge your mistakes as a multifamily management company. A better response would be, “My sincerest apologies we didn’t fix the refrigerator in a more timely fashion.” By directly addressing the issue, you take responsibility for the failure rather than just deliver an empty platitude.

“We Strive To Provide…”

This sentence should never come up after a review. To say you “strive” to do something means you try to do it. When you rent out a property, you either rent or you do not. There is no try. Prospective renters want to see that you actually deliver results because you are supposed to be experts in your field.

As an alternative statement for a positive review, you can say, “We are delighted to hear you have never had any major problems while renting through us.” For a negative review, try saying, “These reviews are always tough to read. For years, our team has remained dutiful in helping all our tenants, and we will do everything in our power to correct the problem.”

“Please Contact Us.”

This seems like a good go-to phrase to end a response with. The problem with it is that it is a vague blanket statement. It gives the appearance that management wants to do something. However, most of the time, it said with the expectation that the tenant is never going to attempt contact.

You need to give tenants a clear way to reach out to you. After a negative review, you can say, “I have a few ideas on how to resolve the issue you are having. If you are open to a meeting, please reach out to us at XXX-XXX-XXXX.” With this response, you give tenants a reason to initiate contact, so they are more likely to reach out and hopefully be satisfied with the resolution.

It takes more time to craft individual responses than giving out empty platitudes. However, it results in happier tenants and a more fruitful business in the long run. For management teams that need more guidance managing their online reputations, reach out to Opiniion. We can help you receive instant customer feedback through easy-to-understand analytics. We know how to help your business, so sign up today.

How Properties Can Embrace Technology

How Properties Can Embrace Technology

Managing multifamily apartments can be a complex business model. Just a decade ago, the apartment industry hadn’t really embraced technology, but that is changing. In the past few years, the industry has seen several helpful advances that improve efficiency to let your staff focus on new opportunities.

Paperless Records Offer Multiple Benefits

Reducing your reliance on paper is good for the environment. That benefit alone should convince you to use modern property management software. However, the real advantages of such software go much deeper. Digital records are much easier to find and access. Using digital contracts reduces the risk of human error. You won’t need dozens of file cabinets to store paperwork. Your files will be safe and secure when you have the right applications. Plus, there’s no worry about documents fading or getting lost.

Technology Makes for Increased Sales Opportunities

Digital technology improves your sales operations. Lead management software makes it easier to track potential customers and follow up with them in your sales funnel. Prospects want and demand quick responses, whether your office is open or not. You can utilize call centers, auto-responses and chatbots to provide information outside of business hours. Embrace technology to offer fast responses to your prospects focusing on service.

Going Digital Improves Communication With Current Residents

Instead of relying on paper media, such as flyers, to pass information to your current tenants, digital communication lets you reach people quickly and easily. Some properties have apps that connect the office to the residents, while others use email or text. The important thing is to meet your tenants where they live, on their smartphone. You can strengthen your community by providing ways for residents to connect with others and your office. Plus, you’ll save time not having to go door to door distributing flyers and announcements.

Online Portals Simplify Management

Allowing residents to pay rent online or to request maintenance through an online app improve your staff’s efficiency. Residents can pay their rent easily whenever they have the chance. Maintenance requests can be made after hours. Maintenance personnel can be immediately notified of emergencies and specific requests that come through. Automating these requests saves your staff time and effort. Maintenance technicians can easily track what has been done and what hasn’t. Reducing paperwork lets you provide better service.

Your Portfolio Can Be Increased

Property management software can boost your ability to increase your real estate portfolio. Automating tasks that take up a lot of administrative time frees you to be a better manager and focus on long-term goals instead of dealing with daily crises and fires. Everyone on your team can stay connected no matter how far away they are from your main office. It makes sense to invest in technology that lets you be proactive to manage your properties.

Updating Technology Offers a High ROI

Simplifying processes across multiple offices keep your team on the same page. It’s easier to onboard employees or shifts someone around when people go on vacation. Using digital records saves your staff time. Technology that lets you track maintenance on each property to ensure that monthly and yearly activities are completed keeps your property looking great, which attracts more prospects. The return on investment for technology is probably more than you can imagine. Tech can be your partner in your apartment complex and free up your time to really manage your property.

Technology Is Integrating Better Than Ever

Today’s vendors are building platforms that work together instead of making property managers cobble together a system from scratch. Imagine your bookkeeping software interacting with the software that lets tenants pay rent online. Instead of spending time doing data entry, your staff can use that time to provide service to current tenants and deal with more serious issues.

Modern technology focuses on analytics to help you improve your systems. Data analysis drives today’s businesses. Technology that gives you insights into providing services more effectively and efficiently is another ROI. Use the software and applications that are available to improve business and increase your profit margin. It’s time to automate systems that boost your efficiency.

Online Reviews Entice New Customers

Potential apartment dwellers are checking out your business through your online reviews. Get more positive reviews with the help of Opiniion. Contact us today for more information on how this can benefit your business.

The Key Role to Online Reputation Management

The Key Role to Online Reputation Management

With the birth of review sites such as Yelp, a company’s reputation has never been more easily influenced. It only takes a few bad reviews for prospective tenants to steer clear of your apartment building or multi-family complex. You cannot afford to ignore bad reviews. Although every business will end up with a couple of negative reviews at some point, the most important part of this is getting ahead of the feedback and developing a comprehensive reputation management plan.

Reputation management is the process of influencing the public’s opinion of your business. Although it originated as a public relations term, it has grown to overtake numerous aspects of every company due to the advancement of social media and the internet. Every company needs to take an active role in this endeavor, and here are the steps to accomplish it.

Create Guidelines for Responding to Issues

From the manager to the groundskeeper, everyone should be aware of how to treat tenants. Most importantly, this involves teaching good interpersonal skills. Everyone who works for you should know what tone and composure to maintain when around tenants. From the moment tenants sign the lease to when they decide not to renew, their experience should be first class all the way.

Use Metric Tools

After ensuring all your tenants have a good experience, you then need to monitor your building’s online presence. You can look up the total number of reviews your apartment complex has and how well you engage with people on social media. If you only have a couple of reviews from several years ago, then you should aim to get your current tenants to leave some reviews. You can send everyone a friendly email or text and ask each household to leave a review on Yelp or Facebook.

Additionally, you should receive alerts for anytime someone leaves a comment or post on your Facebook page. You should respond to this post within a reasonable amount of time. This is particularly important if someone asks a question. The first impression of your residential property will be molded by how you interact with potential tenants online.

Work To Correct Problems

When you find a negative review, you should first reach out to the person privately to see what the underlying issue is. From there, you can take steps to correct the problem. Once the tenant is satisfied with the changes, you can then ask if he or she would be willing to update the review. People may be able to see the first negative review, but they will also see that you were responsive and helped the person who complained. Far too many landlords lash out in anger when they find a negative review, and you do not want to fall into that category.

Offer a Resident Referral Program

There are many ways you can fill a vacancy when one opens up. One of the best ways is to start a resident referral program where a tenant receives an incentive for referring a person to your apartment complex. People will only refer others if they have been happy with their stay. Getting those referrals is absolutely worth the few hundred dollars you will give the current tenant. The program ends up paying for itself quickly.

Make Reputation Management Part of the Work Culture

Reputation management is more than just increasing the number of stars you have on Yelp. It is about altering people’s perception of your business. People looking for apartments have a lot of options to choose from, and you need to make it clear you offer something no one else can provide. Other apartment buildings may offer certain amenities you do not have. However, if you can make it clear you provide a customer service experience like no other, then it could be enough to tip the scales in your favor.

Reach Out for Help

Reputation management may seem daunting, but fortunately, Opiniion simplifies the process. Our software makes it easy to collect feedback from your tenants. You receive a comprehensive data set that lets you know where you need to improve. The software is simple and makes your job tremendously less difficult. You can get started with us today, and before you know it, your online reputation will gradually improve.