Tips on How To Respond To Negative Reviews That Escalate

Tips on How To Respond To Negative Reviews That Escalate


As we mentioned in a previous article, it’s important to respond to all online reviews about apartments. These reviews are often the deciding factor for potential audiences who are looking for new apartments in your area.


While positive reviews are terrific and also welcome, it’s the negative reviews that draw the most attention. Audiences looking to rent a new apartment want to know if a property on their list has a poor reputation among previous residents. If so, they’ll save time and money by eliminating that apartment from consideration. 


Although negative reviews often have the most impact on a potential tenant’s decision, it’s the negative reviews that escalate that are the most damaging to your apartment community’s reputation. These are the negative reviews that can draw additional negative comments from others and/or lead to conversations that paint a less favorable image of an apartment community. 


In the following article, we’ll explain how to quickly and effectively respond to negative reviews that begin to intensify so you can minimize their impact on your property – and potentially turn that negative into a positive. 


Responding To Negative Reviews Step 1: Don’t Delay


The most important step for minimizing the impact of a negative review is to respond as soon as possible. The more timely your response, the less chance of escalation. 


Negative reviews that linger for 24 hours or more without a response are an open invitation for others to join in on the conversation. When that occurs, you not only have a negative review to address, you also have a slew of additional negative comments to contend with. 


In addition to encouraging additional comments, this lack of response also underscores the complaints detailed in the initial negative review. Worst of all, the extra attention generated from unaddressed negative online reviews can affect the reviews ranking on the respective platform. Instead of seeing a positive review at the top of your page, audiences will be greeted with an unanswered negative review (that is almost certain to include more negative comments). 


To avoid the risk of escalation, it’s important to respond to the negative online review as soon as you spot it. Instead of scanning the various review platforms multiple times each day, you can set up alerts and notifications on the respective review sites. That way you can address the negative review promptly and reduce the chances of escalation. 



Responding To Negative Reviews Step 2: Be Kind & Take It Offline 


Once you’re aware of the negative online review, your prompt response should:

  • Recognize the reviewer’s complaint with empathy 
  • Offer an apology, an explanation and (if possible) a solution 
  • Request to continue the discussion offline


If you follow the outline above, you should be able to effectively manage the negative feedback, correct the situation and prevent the review from turning into an ongoing issue. 


While all of the steps included in the above outline are essential, the most important key to de-escalating the situation is moving the discussion away from the review platform. 


By making the conversation private instead of public, you give the reviewer your full attention and demonstrate your commitment to thoroughly addressing their concerns. This allows the reviewer to go into greater detail about their feelings and provides you with more information to properly rectify the issue. 


Moving the discussion offline also discourages any further comments from additional audience members. After reading the review, their initial reaction of adding their two cents is stopped in its tracks once they see that you have responded and the matter at hand is being addressed. 


Responding To Negative Reviews Step 3: Employ a Virtual Assistant 


One of the biggest complaints listed in negative multifamily reviews is the lack of response to an email. This typically occurs when a tenant has an issue or a question so they send an email to the management office. Unfortunately, these accounts receive hundreds of emails a day that the most important ones get overlooked. When this happens, the tenant may use a negative review to demand attention. 


To avoid this scenario, you can use email virtual assistants (AKA email bot) to answer your tenant emails and provide solutions in real-time. If the solution is beyond the scope of the assistant’s capabilities, they’ll alert you to the issue ASAP. The assistant can then notify the tenant of status and provide an approximate time frame for a response from you. 


Implementing this simple technology into your operations is a proactive way to improve the tenant experience, limit your negative online reviews, and maybe even generate some new positive reviews for your apartments.  


Responding To Negative Reviews Step 4: Ask For An Update 


If you have successfully addressed and resolved the individuals’ initial complaint in their review, you’ll want other potential tenants to be aware of this news. While it would be poor form to ask the individual to remove or alter their review, you can politely ask them to add an update in the comments section. 


By asking them to update their review with an additional comment that details your prompt response, empathy and commitment to resolving the issue, you help diminish any trepidation that potential tenants may have initially felt when they first spotted the negative review. 


By following the steps outlined above, you’ll not only be better prepared to respond to negative online reviews, you’ll also be more adept at preventing them from escalating. 


Managing your online reputation can be a full-time job. It’s easy to fall behind on your online brand management when you’re busy with your daily responsibilities. 


The experts at Prelude can provide you with solutions to help you more efficiently and effectively manage your positive and negative apartment reviews! 

Contact us today to learn more about managing your online reviews!