November 24, 2016
New Year’s Resolution 2017: Revving Up Your Online Reviews
When it comes to choosing a place to rent, potential residents are increasingly relying on online reviews.
According to Kingsley Associates’ first-ever multifamily study on the power of online ratings and reviews, almost 70% of prospects researched community ratings and reviews before choosing their current rental home. Even more remarkable, the nearly 30,000 apartment seekers polled ranked online ratings and reviews (11%) as more important than referrals from family or friends (9%).
With the growing trend (among renters and others) to do all things Internet, there is every reason to believe that prospective residents will continue to seek out online reviews when researching potential apartments. After all, the web offers easy access to a wide range of information – anywhere, anytime.
For property managers looking to beef up business in 2017, it’s a good idea to harness the power of online ratings and reviews. Here are five tips to help start the New Year off right by increasing customer satisfaction, resident recruitment and retention, and your bottom line, all in one go:
Enable customer reviews on your site. Prospects want to read them, so why not make them available? Not only will you have better odds of converting potential renters to applicants, but you’ll also help boost your SEO rankings by increasing the amount of unique content on your site. Go a step further by featuring new technology and mediums, like the option to create video or audio reviews. Having a variety of formats makes the process more fun for current and prospective residents alike.
Invite existing residents to submit reviews. With an internal online review platform in place, you need to drive existing tenants to your site and motivate them to submit ratings and reviews. Spread the word via email, ebulletin or text message, and consider offering incentives to respondents, like being entered in a draw for a local gift certificate or a free month of parking.
Establish a presence on external review sites. It also helps to maintain a presence on the many external review sites that are available. Being listed on popular review websites increases your odds of attracting reviews – not to mention your online visibility.
Embrace positive reviews – and respond to the negative ones, too. Of course you hope that the good reviews will far outweigh any bad feedback. But it’s almost inevitable that you’ll get a few complaints. Make the effort to respond to both types of ratings. Thank the happy customers and let the disgruntled residents know that you’re sorry for any inconvenience and you will address their concerns promptly. Then be sure to resolve any issues – and comment again on the review to confirm that things have been taken care of.
Treat existing residents well. This should go without saying. But with prospective tenants putting more stock in reviews from strangers who have lived on the property they’re considering, than in word-of-mouth referrals from people they know and trust, you can’t afford to overlook the importance of customer satisfaction. Don’t focus only on satisfying your new residents; remember the people who have been paying rent month after month, and take care to ensure that they feel respected and appreciated.
The simple fact is this: Online reviews are here to stay, and they carry a lot of weight with potential residents. If you don’t capitalize on user ratings, you risk alienating prospects, who expect instant access to information, from whichever platform or device they prefer.
Don’t take that chance. Make 2017 the year you put renter reviews to work for your property.
To learn more about how you can encourage and increase resident reviews, sign up for your free account today or give us a call.