We get it.

Asking renters to leave you a review may seem a little needy, especially if you’re new to the online endorsement game. But consider these reported stats about consumer behavior:

  • 92 percent of consumers read online reviews .
  • 40 percent formed an opinion after reading between one and three reviews.
  • 68 percent trust local businesses more when they have positive reviews. 

The numbers speak for themselves. These days, increasing your community’s reviews is critical to connecting with would-be renters. If another tenant vouches for an apartment company (even if it’s a stranger), her peers are more likely to sign a lease.

Now comes the trickier part: the ask. While there are certain tactics you should avoid when soliciting a review, a successful request requires being proactive and identifying the right time. Check it out:

 

DO’S

Ask in person

The online review actually begins in person. Think about it. Tenants are more likely to write something about your community if they have a relationship with it. That’s why it’s important for your on-site team to maintain face-to-face interaction. Simply saying ‘hello’ or checking in occasionally can go a long way to leaving a positive impression.

Once you’ve established a reputation for being personable and providing excellent service, you’ll likely get a compliment, or at least a sincere “thanks.” This is your moment; you’ve officially “earned” the ask. Explain that you value feedback, and ask if the renter would mind posting hers online.

Automate your request

If remembering to ask for reviews proves to be a struggle, you can always automate the process. Just add a short request in your email signature (with a link to your preferred review site). It’s a less personable method and may not yield as big of a return as an in-person request, but it can work as a great reminder for, say, a renter who meant to do it but forgot.

There’s just one important caveat. With an automated request, you risk sounding tone deaf. For example, if you’re emailing a renter about a dispute or grievance, asking for a review may come off as insensitive—or worse, it could backfire and motivate an already-irritated tenant to rant about you online.

Respond to as many reviews as possible

Responding to reviews is great PR, even if it’s just to say thank you. Here’s why: 1) You acknowledge the time and effort the renter spent on writing about you. 2) It shows leads and people browsing your review page that you care about your tenants.

And if you want to make sure you always keep up with your online reviews, we can help with that. Reputation Scout monitors the web for mentions of your communities. From reviews to social media chatter, you’ll always know what renters are saying about you, and have the tools to strategically respond.

DON’TS

Harass renters

This hopefully goes without saying, but don’t pester your renters for a review. As a general rule, the power of your request diminishes with every subsequent ask. After a while, you will probably start to come off as desperate, which can actually hurt your reputation.

However, if your requests went unanswered, you can “renew” your credibility. If a renter who previously ignored you or forgot about the request compliments your team or community later, this may be an opportunity to ask again without seeming needy.

Be tactless

As we mentioned above, timing is key to asking for a review. Making a request out of the blue may not only come off as awkward, but it also decreases your chance of success. More importantly, always read the situation. If a renter seems upset or angry (even if it’s not related to your community), it’s probably not the best time.

Demand that a renter change a bad review

Bad reviews are tough. They not only personally sting, but they can potentially harm your reputation. However, it’s generally a good idea to respond to them on the review site. Using empathy and non-confrontational language, express your desire to resolve the problem in public so that all visitors to the site can see your excellent customer-service skills in action. (Of course, if a reviewer seems particularly hostile, you may want to message her directly.)

Once the situation has been rectified to the renter’s satisfaction, it’s not inappropriate to ask her to update the original review… but don’t push it. You don’t want your efforts to solve the problem to seem insincere. You can make one request directly, or post a follow-up comment on the review thread.