Online reputation management is a reality that Toronto landlords have to get used to in order to maintain a positive image. Fortunately, reputation management for landlords is much easier than it sounds. With the appropriate amount of attention, responsiveness, and tact, you can ensure that negative online reviews won’t affect your income or reputation as a landlord.
Resolve issues as soon as they arise
The first step to managing and responding to online reviews and maintaining your reputation online is to work to resolve issues with tenants as soon as they arise. Not only will this stop negative online reviews at the source, but it will ensure that tenants will see you as somebody who they can trust and rely on to assist them with any issues they might encounter, and be able to come to you with their future problems rather than turning to online reviews. Being a responsive landlord who works to resolve tenant issues is extremely important to reputation management, and will make many of the other steps in managing and responding to reviews much easier.
Stay on top of online reviews
All it takes is one well-timed negative review to ruin your reputation. Staying on top of your online reputation and new reviews is important when it comes to catching negative reviews in a timely manner, as it gives you a chance to immediately rectify the situation and minimize the chances that other users see the review. There are a variety of ways that you can do this, including setting up Google Alerts for your name or organization that will notify you when you’re mentioned, reviewing social media reviews on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other platforms, and visiting landlord review websites individually and searching manually.
For best results, it may be wise to do both so that you can catch anything that may be missed by your Alerts. Some of the most popular Canadian landlord reviewing websites include:
Always respond to negative reviews
Even when faced with the worst, most scathing review of your services as a landlord, the worst possible thing you can do is ignore it and leave it for hundreds or thousands of people to see. When you notice negative reviews online, the first thing you should do is respond to it in a polite and understanding manner, and ask them how you can correct the situation. Don’t mention asking them to erase the review in your online public response, as that may increase the negativity of the situation. You can certainly ask them privately once the issue is resolved.
Responding to negative reviews allows you to take the interaction to another avenue like email or telephone, letting you get a better understanding of why they left you a negative review, and how you might be able to come to an agreement. Even if the reviewer doesn’t budge on their stance, other users will notice that you’ve responded to the review and have offered to work with the reviewer to rectify the situation. Responding to positive reviews and expressing your appreciation for kind words can also go a long way in making you appear more personable and attractive to prospective applicants.
Dispute inappropriate reviews where you can
We ran across a situation where a prospective tenant had left a negative review because they were angry at being denied the opportunity to rent the unit. In this case, the prospective tenant was not a valid customer since money had never changed hands, so the online platform agreed with us and removed the review. If you are subject to this kind of review, use the online tools available to you on the various platforms to report the review and resolve the situation. Do not, however, report all negative reviews; just the ones that are clearly offside.
Maintain good relationships with your tenants
Maintaining strong tenant relationships is absolutely key to your business, and it’s not just being on top of tenant complaints that makes for a strong relationship. Check in with your tenant by phone, text or email once in a while to see how they are doing. This will allow you to deal with tenant issues before they become a major annoyance to your tenant, and will also help you to do proactive rather than reactive maintenance to the property. If, for example, they notice a dripping tap or a leak in a bathroom, this has the potential to lead to major water damage. They may not think to report it unless you check in with them.
Ask tenants for reviews
The best way to encourage tenants to leave positive reviews on your social media channels and landlord review aggregates is to simply ask them for one. It’s easy to request an online review at the end of any positive interaction you’ve had with a tenant, which can help build up the amount of positive reviews on your social media channels, giving you a better overall online reputation. It may also be worth your time to conduct reviews yourself, giving you access to valuable information that can help you better tailor your services to tenants, and can supply you with great testimonial material that can be used on your website, social media, and in future marketing materials.
For more information about the property management and realty services offered by the experienced team at Highgate Properties, contact us today.