We depend upon online reviews to make decisions on everything from what ice cream flavor to order to what hotel you should stay in when you go on vacation! With over 3 billion people using the Internet everyday, you are certainly not the only person relying on the input of others to make decision easier for yourself.
If people turn to the Internet to inquire about things as mundane as what brand of soap they should get, why wouldn’t they utilize the same strategy for insight on one of the biggest purchases they’ll ever make – their new home?
88% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Online reviews, and how your company manages them, can be the difference between a new or lost customer.
Think of online reviews as the welcome mat to your virtual model home. Similar to visiting a real model home, people are surveying the surroundings and making important judgments before they even really see the home in its entirety. What others say about your company online is the first thing people are going to see BEFORE they visit your website, let alone make a trip to visit your sales center.
One way to stay informed about what others are saying about your company is by turning on your Facebook and Yelp notifications whenever a review is posted. This will allow you and your team members to monitor and respond to these reviews – negative or positive – as soon as they are published.
Why is responding to reviews in a timely manner so vital to your online reputation? Just as you work hard to maintain the exterior of your model home, you need to manage the “mess” that may clutter your virtual welcome mat. Brush out those leaves and twigs. An immediate response to any review not only conveys that your company is conversational, but it also exhibits that you are hands-on and your customers are your top priority. Before potential homeowners even speak with you, the proactivity of your quick response will result in a great first impression!
Now, your first reaction to a bad review may be to delete it before too many people have the chance to see it, but pause for just a moment before doing so and think – how can I use this review in my favor? It is possible to turn a negative review into a positive outcome. Behind those unsatisfied complaints is usually just a homeowner or client that wants to be heard. You may hear them, but like our parents have always told us – you also need to listen.
Make them feel at H.O.M.E. by being:
Helpful Open Mature Empathetic
By being HELPFUL in your response, you will prove to the client/homeowner, as well as the potential customers reading your response, that you are OPEN to not only listening to their suggestions but also further assisting them with their needs. By responding to any negative reviews, your company proves that you can handle these complaints in a MATURE manner rather than looking at them as if they’re just random scratches on paper.
Last, but certainly not least, treat every response with EMPATHY. Take a moment to think about your own experiences. Have you ever felt slighted by a company? It’s not a great feeling. It’s an even worse feeling when no one takes the time to listen to the problem that you had. Treat every complaint as if that experience had happened to you. By addressing the issue at hand, you may not only alter the opinion of one customer, but also establish the good reputation of your company.
Reviews, both good and bad, can always work in your favor when managed and responded to in a positive manner. Your potential homeowners are about to step up to your virtual welcome mat… are you prepared to make them feel at H.O.M.E?
By Chelsey Keenan –
Group Two Account Manager