March 2015 | By Erica Christoffer
Online reviews influence potential clients. Nineteen percent of buyers used online recommendations to choose an agent last year, according to the National Association of REALTORS® 2014 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, up from 12 percent in 2013.
So, what do you do when there’s a negative review about your brokerage online?
Don’t ignore it. Sure, poor recommendations can be unfair, exaggerated, or just untrue, says marketing expert Marc Gordon, but it’s important to keep your cool and address the claim. Handling the review head-on will help your brokerage look professional and strengthen your online reputation.
Here are six tips to mitigate negative statements about your company:
1. Offer acknowledgement. No matter how negative a review is, Gordon says, it’s important to thank the writer, acknowledge their feelings, and let them know that your company uses reviews to improve customer service. Tell the reviewer you want to rectify the situation and ask permission to contact them directly, Gordon suggests. Then, follow up promptly via e-mail or phone.
2. Do some research. Find out if the claims made in a negative review are true. If they’re not, respectfully correct any misinformation in the review. If you have proof that a negative review wasn’t written by a real client — or, if it’s an attempt at blackmail — Gordon suggests contacting the review site and asking them to take it down.
3. Consistently track reviews. Silence is often associated with guilt, Gordon says. There are many tools available to help track what people are saying about your brokerage online, which will help you to respond as quickly as possible.
4. Stay levelheaded. A negative recommendation can bring about an emotionally charged reaction, Gordon says. Instead of going into attack mode, consider asking someone else to write a professional response on your behalf, he suggests.
5. Admit wrongdoing. Don’t be afraid to admit when a mistake has been made. Apologize and ask for the opportunity to make things right. This puts you on the high ground. If the reviewer accepts your offer, it’s a chance for your brokerage to win them back as a client. If they refuse, others may perceive them as unreasonable, Gordon says.
6. Know when to let it go. Some reviewers will hide behind anonymity when writing an angry tirade. Gordon says it’s important to recognize when to let it go rather than contribute to a public battle of words online. Continue providing stellar service, and ask your loyal customers to write recommendations. A large collection of positive online reviews will outshine the negative ones.
Reprinted from realtor.org, March 2015, with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Copyright March 2015. All rights reserved. http://www.realtor.org/