It is often said that he who shouts the loudest gets heard. When you receive a negative review on social media, it can have a profound effect on your audience and your business. After all, 85% of consumers trust an online review as much as they do a personal reference.
However, if you respond correctly, a negative review doesn’t have to taint your brand. It is important to realize that your response is not just for the customer who reacted negatively; it can influence all the other prospects who are considering doing business with you.
A proper response can cement your reputation as an agent that is genuinely committed to customer service. Here is the best way to turn a negative real estate review into an opportunity to prove you are a caring, customer-focused agent.
1. Listen, listen, listen!
A rogue social media review is usually a customer’s last-ditch effort to be heard. If this customer feels that you ignored or did not understand them, they will often resort to a social media outburst that can reach a wider audience.
The most important thing you can do when you come across a bad review is to respond quickly and politely. Let your client know they were heard and offer them a way to resolve the problem offline. Prepare a simple apology that includes a private email or phone number that you have specifically designated for customer complaints.
2. Address the issue with them privately.
Business Facebook pages can now send private messages to individuals, so you can resolve the problem without taking it to the public. If they do not reach out within 24 hours of your response, consider sending them a kind follow up message or email to show you are committed to helping them and hearing them out.
Buying or selling a house can be an emotional process, and as the agent, it is your responsibility to manage those challenges so that your client is satisfied. Be transparent; your client is much more likely to trust you if you admit to your mistakes than if you try to cover them up.
3. Go above and beyond to leave them with a positive experience.
As a real estate agent, you probably know that a positive reference can go a long way. Even if you can’t resolve their problem after a conversation, try to offer them a small gesture that shows them that your customers matter to you. A small gift, like a set of movie tickets or a trinket for their new home, can sweeten the experience, even if you couldn’t directly solve their concerns.
Just make sure your gift comes with no strings attached. Definitely don’t ask them to change their review as a result; you could be breaking the law. As long as you give your gift out to kindness - to thank them for their time, for example - you won’t be bending any rules.
4. If they are still upset after you’ve addressed the problem, let it go.
You can’t always please everybody, and it is inevitable that you will eventually cross paths with a curmudgeon who refuses to accept an apology. If you have already responded to them publicly and through a private channel, relax. You may have lost a single customer, but your friendly and prompt public response will show future clients that you are focused on improving their experience.
A single bad review, responded to correctly, shouldn’t hurt your brand. Take the comment in stride and move forward to provide the best possible service to your future customers.
5. If you have solved the problem, ask them to update the review.
Many clients will be happy to offer a better review if you can improve your service. A brief update that explains how you addressed their concern will show that you value all of your customers. If they refuse, just move on and put measures in place to help future customers feel heard before they resort to social media bashing.
6. Create a system to control reviews in the future.
If your customers have a way to express their feelings to you quickly, they may not resort to making a public fuss. Always ask for feedback within seven to 10 days of making a transaction, when your clients have your service fresh in their minds. This strategy allows you to respond to any negative feelings in a timely fashion.
Make sure to provide several methods of communication throughout the sale process, so they can express their concerns as soon as they arise. A designated phone number or email address will make it easy for you to sort out comments and address them quickly.
7. Try to bury the bad review in good ones.
You should always respond to reviews, positive and negative. It’s the polite thing to do, and it shows your customer you’re listening. On a good review, respond kindly and make sure to mention your business name and a couple of keywords to help the review rank higher in search results. On bad reviews, always respond with a brief apology, but do not include the name of your business. Over time, the four- and five-star reviews will dominate search results, and your negative reviews will be forgotten.
You might receive a negative review when you least expect it, but that doesn’t mean no one will ever buy or sell a house with you again. Respond promptly and politely to your client’s concerns to show future customers that you care about providing the highest quality service. Remember: a negative comment with no response becomes real in the minds of your audience. The old business adage, “the customer is always right,” still applies in the digital age, so use these tips to show your audience that customer satisfaction is your priority.
Adrian Fisher is the Founder and CEO of PropertySimple a real estate technology company that allows agents to take control of their personal brand by automating social media posting.