1. Simple stuff first:
As we all know, prevention is better than cure. It sounds obvious but if you want to ensure your business ratings don’t vaporise in a plume of smoke, your entire attitude to doing business needs to be right from the start. Much of it is common sense; always get back to your tenants following an enquiry, however daft. If a tenant encounters financial hardship be accommodating, consider suggesting smaller more regular payments or direct debits to make rent easier to pay.
Always be compassionate and transparent, remembering not all tenants are trying to screw you over. When it comes to maintaining good relations with your tenants think outside the box. Consider throwing in a few good will gestures every now and again - a free snack hamper, a bottle of wine or just the occasional catch up to see how the property is doing. The more you let your tenants know you’re a genuine and honest landlord from start, the more respect and compliance you’ll get later down the road should the weather turn ugly.
This doesn’t mean being a push over, and it always helps in setting boundaries early on, but compassion and fair play will always serve your business well.
2. Getting rid of bad online reviews
OK, sadly there’s simply now way you can turn off the Google review function. Google Buisness is an open source platform, and possessing a gmail account is now the only prerequisite for someone to leave a review in the first place. However the good news is you can flag reviews you want to get shot of by classifying them as ‘inappropriate’. Google defines this as the following:
- Reviews composed by a business rival to divert web traffic
- Reviews considered to be irrelevant and off topic, e.g. reviews based on another persons experience - Reviews that contain bad language or use ad hominem attacks
- Reviews that clearly communicate a conflict of interest.
Remember when flagging any comment that Google has no way of mitigating or passing judgement on reviews made by disgruntled tenants, however if you’re unsure on what reviews are classed as inappropriate in the first place, consider raising the flag anyway and wait for Google’s response, normally within a working week, most of the time a few days.
To find out how to flag comments, click here.
3. Genuine or no?
One way to deal with bad reviews is to filter the real from the fake. One telltale sign of a fake review is the level of detail. You can make these kinds of reviews work in your favour by simply comparing your records with that of the review. Is someone by that name registered to the property in the first place?
Has the reviewer been too clever and included details of the property that don’t exist? Is there a tonne of spelling and grammatical errors? Have they suspiciously withheld personal details so as not to be rumbled? For every bad review, search with a fine tooth comb for anything that gives the game away.
Be careful however not to cry ‘fake’ with each review you deem twaddle. For maximum potency use this approach sparingly and always back up your reasoning. Report fake reviews via Google’s Business Support portal here.
4. Do the right thing:
If large corporations attract their fair share of grief you can too. Sometimes the flack is just a coward behind a keyboard, but sometimes they may just be right and that’s when it really stings! Got a complaint about shoddy white goods throwing up sparks in to the night sky? Maybe next time opt for Argos or Currys over the local flea market when choosing your kitchen inventory.
Received yet another review over a cracked water pipe? Consider choosing a certified handyman for your properties as opposed to Dave with the lazy eye from down the local! The point is every business either cuts corners, takes their eye of the ball, or just flat out screws up. If Apple can go on to dominate the world after inventing AirPower (no we’ve never heard of it either) so can you! Just be honest, admit any mistakes made on your part and make it right.
Consider offering some form of compensation or a no-excuse apology on your public reply. The public don’t expect to be hoodwinked but they don’t expect perfection either, so if you’ve messed just be honest and move on.
5. Creating more great reviews:
It may surprise you but most people will leave you a good review if you ask them to. All that’s needed is a prompt. For a direct, personal and easy way of doing this we’d always recommend mobile first, or better yet face to face the next time you’re at the property. Consider timing it early on in the tenancy and do your best not to come over demanding.
If your tenants are happy with what you’ve given them the chance is they’ll leave a review, even if it’s a short one it still boosts your overall rating. Remember the more positive reviews you get, the more the negative ones get consigned to the later pages, where people will be less likely to look.
If you’ve got some bad reviews at the hands of disgruntled tenants and would appreciate further advice and guidance why not give us a call today on 0116 270 6699. Better yet, sign up with Arch Living and we can give you one to one help on managing your property, effective vetting to get the right tenants and creating a warm and inviting home to attract nothing but the best reviews.