A good review on an apartment hunting site can feel like an inspiring Oscar speech: it’s heartfelt, it’s genuine, and it inspires people to move (quite literally in this case!). When your residents sit in front of a keyboard to review you, imagine each of them carrying around a gold statue and preparing to take that mic in front of thousands of people. What would you like them to say? What do you want to avoid?
Here’s what we know: ratings and reviews are key to finding great residents. A new study shows that 84% of residents hold online ratings just as important as references from family and friends. Analyzing tenants’ feedback is highly valuable for improving services. Tenants also frequently evaluate and contact several landlords before selecting a rental home to ensure that it satisfies their own particular, individual needs. One approach for a landlord to automatically stand out from the competition and achieve a significant competitive edge is to provide excellent customer service and prompt communication.
Customer feedback and reviews have become one of the primary growth factors in the multi-housing industry. Apartment management companies jump at every opportunity to talk to the tenants and learn about living conditions. Not to mention, good reviews are some of the best multi-family marketing you can find: they’re free, they’re genuine, and it’s impartial (and thereby do not come off as self-promoting). So, how do you find the good ones?
1. Collect your own feedback first
How do you know if what you are doing for your community as a property owner or property manager is right or wrong?
You presumably have a notion of the expectations of the tenants when you first launch a new amenity or service. Prior to release, market research can help you determine whether tenants would be willing to purchase it and offer suggestions for how to make it better.
It’s important for you to know what your residents have to say before it gets online. Directly asking for reviews or posts on social media platforms proves to be impactful, but residents don’t always tell you the entire truth. Think about implementing resident satisfaction surveys, or download our survey template for free!
As you gather data, be sure to update the resident personas for your multifamily property, so that you can keep track of the different needs and wants of resident groups as you discover them. You’ll want to remember the preferences of your ideal residents going forward as you make any changes in your processes or property.
Once you’ve determined the strengths and weaknesses of your rental property, you can begin to either make changes or strengthen your existing programs. If residents see changes take place, they’ll be excited about staying there.
2. Incentivize reviews
When you collect resident information, sort out the positive from the constructive criticisms. You’ll use the constructive feedback in the upcoming future, to make your property even more inviting. With the positive feedback, be sure to contact those residents and let them know of opportunities they have to review your site online.
Provide them with incentives for giving you reviews like gift cards or a credit towards next month’s rent. This is important, though–don’t let them feel like you’re bribing them for good reviews. Emphasize what a good relationship you have with them, how good a resident they are, and that you’d be excited for them to review your property.
There are many sites you can encourage residents to post reviews to, or you can post their testimonials to your own website! Using a website builder is an option if you want to build a website for the community, but lack the time or the necessary expertise to do it.
3. Manage negative reviews
If you happen to have reviews on your property that are anything less than stellar (because your property deserves out-of-the-park reviews, not just ‘good’ ones), be sure to respond with immediacy, i.e. less than 24 hours. Write back publicly to the reviewer, being kind and gracious. Clear up any miscommunications.
Offer them any actions you feel are appropriate. Remember, this feedback is public, so other residents (or future residents) can see how you handle conflict. Explaining the situation will let online users know what happened, or what you as a company are doing to redress the situation.
Negative reviews are not the end of the world. Every property is going to have some bad reviews, and online consumers understand this. What they’re looking for is a pattern of continued and sustained behavior. Negative reviews become a problem when they’re not the exception; they’re the rule.
Take time to consider the negative feedback. Is it valid? How can you change things, going forward? If you do decide to implement changes, make sure to tell residents through your social media. Letting them know you’re listening goes a long way.
4. Thank your residents
A surefire way to show appreciation towards someone is with a well-placed “thank you”. By thanking your residents for their reviews and ratings (even if they’re not five stars), you show them that you’re listening.
A key element that impacts an apartment’s lease rate is customer satisfaction and loyalty. The tight relationship between customer satisfaction and business performance has been supported by numerous studies.
Still, feeling wary about the review process? You can always hire a professional to manage your account for you! At marketapts.com, we have years of experience helping apartment communities with resident satisfaction and retention. Let us help you connect to your residents, present and future.
This post was written by Market Apartments