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Friday, April 12, 2024

How to Respond to Negative Tenant Feedback Online

As a rental business owner, you will inevitably receive negative feedback from your tenants.

Constructive criticism is good for your business. It helps you identify problems you might not have noticed and pinpoint where you should focus your resources in the future.

However, managing rental properties in a digitized world means that negative reviews tend to travel faster and are seen by many more people. For this reason, it’s crucial to address negative feedback promptly and professionally.

Additionally, prospective renters will browse rental review sites specifically to find out how you’ve responded to negative feedback. Don’t ignore bad reviews or use them to channel unwarranted frustration.

Here are a few tips and tricks for responding to negative tenant feedback online.

Read the Review Carefully

Before you write any response, read and carefully evaluate the nature of the negative feedback.

Try to develop a picture of the problem and the reviewer’s particular grievances. What is the main complaint? What is the overall tone of the review? Does the reviewer give any recommendations to other renters? Did you know about this problem, or is it surprising to you?

These questions will help you determine whether the problem was purely situational or more large-scale/structural. Some reviewers issue complaints while maintaining a positive tone. These reviewers are less likely to warn off renters from choosing your properties than someone with a prolonged or severe poor experience.

Craft Your Response

After you’ve analyzed the negative review, crafting a response can be largely formulaic. Your reply should be brief but sincere.

First, thank the tenant for their feedback. Show the tenant (and future viewers) that you value their input and are grateful for their honesty. For example, say: “Thank you for sharing your honest feedback with us.” Or “We are grateful for your input about our community.”

Next, apologize for the tenants’ poor experience, no matter if you believe you or your business were at fault. Some examples include: “We sincerely regret that you experienced this situation” or “We apologize for this inconvenience as customer satisfaction is very important to us.” 

After your apologies, acknowledge the specific problem and the tenant’s experience or feelings about it. Avoid being defensive, combative, or dismissive about the feedback, and don’t deny or otherwise argue with the review. Instead, recognize that a problem or miscommunication occurred.

End by briefly offering a solution. Indicate any changes or plans, even if they aren’t fully formed. However, vague promises aren’t likely to convince the renter that the problem won’t happen again. The more specific your solution, the better.

Post Promptly

Once you’ve written your response, post it as soon as possible. Don’t wait any longer than a day or two to address the reviewer’s concerns. Otherwise, prospective renters browsing the properties will only see the negative review. Waiting might also alienate the original reviewer and exasperate the situation even more.

Contact the Reviewer Privately

Viewers on the review site should only see the initial complaint and your response. Any further discussion should be private. 

One way to stay honest and upfront with your tenants is to send the reviewer a private message addressing all their points and discussing the next steps in more depth. This will demonstrate to your tenant that you take criticism seriously and plan to follow up with their concern.

Continue Monitoring Popular Review Sites

After you’ve addressed the negative review, keep visiting popular review sites where your tenants are likely to post feedback. For example, listing sites like Zillow and Apartments.com allow users to post feedback and assign ratings.

You can also use these sites to highlight your positive reviews. In a sea of four or five-star reviews, one bad review is not likely to deter prospective renters. 

One way to promote your positive reviews is to link your social media accounts to your property management software and your website. Some software platforms offer direct integration with sites like Facebook. Encourage satisfied tenants to post about their positive experiences on social media and then feature the most glowing ones on your website.

Have False Statements Removed

If the negative review in question includes false statements about your rental business, you may be able to remove the review. You can usually do this by contacting the site. If the site is particularly stubborn, you can also enlist the help of an attorney.

Responding to Negative Feedback with Grace

Responding to a negative review about the business you’ve built and care about is never a fun task. However, it’s always necessary. By posting brief, well-crafted responses, reaching out to the reviewer individually, and keeping tabs on review sites throughout the year, you can ensure that negative feedback never hinders your rental business’s success. 

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