Responding to online reviews requires tact, diplomacy, and professionalism. In light of reviews becoming increasingly aggressive, Susan Goff, Director of Marketing for CREA, shares practical tips and advice on responding to negative feedback, taking on relentless trolls, tackling reviews that belittle your staff, and replying to reviews by “unauthorized” residents. She shares her experience regarding outsourcing your community’s review responses to a third party as essential in many circumstances. Listen to this podcast to learn how you can support your associates and demonstrate exceptional service to residents and prospects through your review responses.
"An online review is essentially a renter’s response to your actions in a community. Addressing the meat of that review is going to be a chief factor in being successful. Not continuing the negativity with the reviewer about a situation, but then also truly addressing their concerns offline and making the appearance that we have been in touch and [are] going to give you a call back are key.”
Mindy Price and Susan Goff begin this episode by discussing how to handle constant negative reviews belittling the staff. Goff stresses the importance of supporting your number one customer—internal customers, your associates—at all times, but also notes defending them does not mean skirting responsibility. She advises caution while apologizing in such situations. Trolls are not easy to appease, but Goff shares tactful recommendations on how to tire them out online. She also shares anecdotes of how difficult trolling situations can be opportunities to demonstrate your community’s care and response, and how readers can typically see a troll for who they are.
Goff discusses her opinion on outsourcing reviews to a third party as an opportunity to allow you to focus on the “meat” of the review and her thoughts on a response’s timeliness. She notes that some reviews take more time to reply to because they may require investigation, and she offers examples for how to respond transparently, including when you need to say you will get back to the reviewer once you’ve gathered more information.
Finally, Goff shares her insights on what reviewers are hoping to gain from their review and when reviews should be removed. She stresses the importance of getting to the meat of the review—discovering what the reviewer is most trying to communicate—and responding to that diplomatically. While she doesn’t always agree with removing reviews, she explains the need to do so when it is a breach of an associate’s privacy. Throughout the episode, Goff provides several examples of professional, diplomatic responses to a variety of challenging review scenarios.
Priyanka Agarwal is a public relations expert with over two decades of experience in the field. In her current role, Priyanka serves as the public relations consultant for J Turner Research. She specializes in online reputation management, corporate content creation, and strategic PR planning. She is a contributory author for NAA, Multifamily Insider, and PR Daily. Priyanka holds a master’s degree in public relations from the Jack J. Valenti School of Communications, University of Houston.