Reputation Management
minute read

Multifamily Reputation Management: A Definitive Guide for 2021

Eden Chai

Did you know that 87% of potential consumers won’t consider a business that has below 3-stars? (Search Engine Land, 2015)

The following is our go-to list of actionable multifamily reputation management tips.

We’ve used these same strategies to take review profiles from 1 to 5 stars.

Properties with a rock-solid multifamily reputation management strategy tend to have the best conversion rates, and that’s no coincidence.

Low ratings hurt your leasing agents’ chances at success, make it harder to retain tenants, and can even make it difficult to improve your SEO.

On the flip side, 91% of 18 to 34-year-olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations (Bright Local, 2019).

Imagine the effect it can have on your property if you have amazing customer reviews. Your leasing agents’ close ratio will improve, you’ll have higher staff and resident retention, and your business will improve overall.

So, how can you achieve that highly sought-after 5-star rating? Read on to find out…

1) Why your ratings are low
2) How to prevent negative reviews
3) A proven process for getting better
4) Surveys
5) Analyzing results
6) How to respond to reviews
7) How to use automation to your advantage
8) Incentivizing your leasing staff
9) The best strategy

Why does my property have a 1-star rating, are we really that bad?

Before we get to the HOW, let’s understand the WHY.

Why do you have more negative reviews than positive ones? In most cases, this is simply because poor experiences motivate residents to leave bad reviews more than positive ones.

Here are a few more reasons this can happen:

– The previous management company was inadequate
– Your property truly has more unhappy residents than happy ones
– You are completely clueless about how to manage your reputation (don’t worry, by the end of this article you won’t be!)

Another big reason you could have low ratings is if you’ve failed to create an environment that fosters open communication. When residents encounter a problem, they have a desire to vent about it. It’s human nature.

When they don’t feel as though you are willing to help them, they’ll stop coming to you with their issues and go straight to review sites to tear you down. Here are some tips on how you can create an environment that fosters open communication:

1) Create an online community on your website
2) Personalize emails with residents’ first names
3) Ask for feedback consistently [more on this in the next section]

Gratitude goes a long way in building relationships, so it’s important to show your residents exactly how much you value their decision to live (and continue living) in your community. Say thanks, write them a letter, or even feature residents on your website. If you do this effectively, residents will come to you with their problems. Then, after you’ve helped them out, you’ll strengthen the relationship and improve resident retention.

So, how do I get better?

We never thought you’d ask! It definitely isn’t easy, but with consistent effort over time, you’ll get there.

See our step-by-step process below to get on the right track.

1) Send a private survey to each resident.

The goal of this survey is to get an idea of where you’re at in terms of resident satisfaction and understand why your ratings are the way they are.

This will help you determine your NPS (Net Promoter Score) and quantify exactly what your residents think about your property. Ask questions like, “On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with *Property Name*?”

Many popular property management softwares such as Yardi and RealPage have a built-in survey option, making it super easy to connect with your resident and see exactly how they’re feeling. See an example of a RentCafe survey below:

2) Dissect the responses

What are people saying about your property? What do they like (good) and what do they wish would change (bad)?

This is an excellent way to get feedback from your residents at scale. Try to identify recurring themes — good and bad. For example, you might notice that residents are upset that they’re only notified 1 day in advance of community maintenance projects. Your survey should provide you with a net promoter score (NPS) to give you an overall idea of your resident satisfaction.

Take this as an opportunity to fix any of the problems your residents are experiencing and thus  prevent future bad reviews.

When scrolling through your reviews, consider posting them as “featured” reviews on your property website, or simply try using the things your residents love about your community as copy on your website. For example, if someone says they love that the pool is open late, make sure you emphasize that in your amenities page.

Pro-tip: Try and rank your websites review page for the keyword “Your Community Name + Reviews.” This way, the first thing people will see when they search for your community on Google is the review page you created.

Pro-tip #2: Take this as an opportunity to follow up with specific residents and request that they share a review via email.  

3) Respond to each and every review within 24 hours.

To do this, you will need to sign up for a review aggregator which sends you notifications each time you get a review.

This step is key. A prompt response shows that you care about your residents and you’re on top of your game when it comes to resident feedback. See our best tips for responding to positive reviews below:

a) Mention the customer’s first name
b) Address each point they brought up in their review
c) Thank them

Here it is in action:

Resident: “I love living at Anita Apartment Homes. The maintenance staff always responds in a timely manner and goes above and beyond. I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.”

Your response: “Hi Resident, we’re so happy to hear that you’re pleased with our maintenance staff! Thank you for the 5-stars and for being a resident of Anita Apartment Homes. If you need anything at all, you know how to reach us!”

This works for responding to negative reviews too. See an example below:

Resident: “My wife and I chose Anita Apartment homes because of the close proximity to the nearby city center. The amenities such as the pool & fitness center were a big plus, and ultimately motivated us to move-in. We were very disappointed when we learned that the fitness center only opens at 7:30 am (much too late for either of us to get a workout in before going to work) and the pool closes at 6:00 pm. This is quite disappointing, but other than that we have enjoyed the staff’s service oriented attitude.”

Your response: “Hi There, thank you so much for choosing Anita Apartment Homes. We are so glad that you’re enjoying the service provided to you by our staff. We’re sorry to hear that you’re unhappy with the hours that our amenities are available. We work hard to make Anita Apartment Homes our residents are proud to live in. We have sent you a direct message so that we can resolve this issue.

Thank you for taking the time to leave us a review.”

4) Automate wherever you can

You can rely on residents to leave you a review when they’re unhappy, but without making an effort to capture them when they’re happy, you’ll find yourself in a bad spot.

Take a look inside your business, are there any areas where you can place a review link that will increase the likelihood of getting that 5-star review?

A good place to add it is at the bottom of relevant autoresponder emails. This way, you capture the resident right after you’ve helped them out, and they’re more likely to leave you a review out of gratitude. Here’s an example:

5) Incentivize your leasing staff

Sure, your leasing staff gets a commission for every lease they bring in, but are they incentivized to boost your ratings?

Hold a competition each month across your properties and reward the property with the highest monthly review rating. This also helps your leasing agents close more leases, it’s a win-win.

If you only have one property, or are only focused on raising the reputation of one, consider having individual leasing agents at the same property compete to secure testimonials from tenants.

6) Our final tip

The best reputation management strategy is to CARE. If you truly care about your residents, your actions will reflect it and your residents will be happy.

What do you think?

Now it’s your turn to share. Which of these tips are new to you? Are there any tips that we didn’t cover?

Drop a comment below to let us know.

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