Your apartment community’s online reviews are sometimes more influential to prospective residents than your marketing messaging because they provide a more authentic, personal portrayal of the resident experience in your community.
Everyone in multifamily understands that what others say or believe about your apartment community directly impacts your performance and revenue. Owning and maintaining a positive online reputation is a pillar of any apartment marketing strategy.
In this blog, we’ll offer tips to help you earn more positive reviews online to take advantage of your apartment community’s glowing reputation and resident service.
Get back to the basics of resident service.
Of course, the best way to earn more positive online reviews is to provide exceptional service to your residents.
Considering the residents’ experiences and treating them as more important than yourself can have many long-term benefits beyond just more positive reviews.
Bowen writes: “We need to convert the ‘Leasing Office’ into the ‘Resident Service Center.’ Our on-site staff should not be concerned with filling the building but rather keeping the resident base serviced. If we are able to automate and centralize the majority of the customer acquisition process, the entry of a work order, the monthly rent payment and other mundane interactions, our on-site teams are freed up to focus on servicing the needs/desires of the guests we currently have. Improving reputation, retention and ultimately, profitability.”
Considering the residents’ experiences and treating
them as more important than yourself can have many
long-term benefits beyond
just more positive reviews.
Considering the residents’ experience and treating them as more important than yourself can have many long-term benefits beyond just more positive reviews.
By getting back to the basics of service—addressing maintenance issues properly and quickly, keeping your property clean, actively engaging with residents through events and more—you can also increase your ability to earn more lease renewals and create positive perceptions of your apartment community that make it stand apart from the competition (both address tremendous obstacles facing apartments in 2024 and beyond).
As Bowen alluded to, investing in apartment marketing or revenue management software solutions like RentVision's that automate leasing and pricing can free up a considerable amount of time for your on-site teams to do what’s most important: Enriching the lives of residents.
Check in frequently with your residents.
The next step toward earning more positive reviews is to check in frequently with your residents, building a rapport that helps you stay on the pulse of their experiences.
Avery Lewis, a Marketing Manager at Buzzoto, shared in Entrata’s Digital Marketing Webinar Series "Managing Your Property's Online Reputation" how she and her team maintain communication with residents: “Anytime they’re in the office or anytime we make contact with them over the phone, like doing a renewal call, we ask them what are their favorite parts about the community, what things they would like to see changed, or what they would like to see in the upcoming year. It gets us a better pulse on the exact reasons why people renew or not. Then, hopefully, we get that internal feedback and relay it into a positive five-star review on our different platforms.”
Why is it critical to maintain constant communication with your residents?
- It helps you better understand how you’re doing with customer service. Establishing routine communication with residents will help you better assess which areas of your service are excellent and which need improvement—the more feedback, positive or negative, the better. You’ll be able to relay that information into your property management workflow and become known as a resident-centric apartment community.
- You can become aware of a resident’s negative experience and address their problem well before it escalates to the point of that resident leaving a negative review online. Showing that you care to learn more about any of their issues and address them immediately could turn a potentially negative situation into a positive online review.
- You can then capture a resident’s positive experience. In the next section, we'll dive more into how you can turn a positive experience into a 5-star review. Still, the point is that once you can frequently solicit positive feedback from residents, you can develop an action plan for ensuring those tales are shared with prospects online.
But, as Lewis also mentioned in the webinar, "You can do digital campaigns like send texts or emails. But, truly, the best impact and return we get is when we ask for that positive review in person." This leads to the last point…
Be bold and ask for a 5-star review.
Lewis continued, "After any positive experience—whether that’s working with a team member, signing your renewal lease, going on a tour at our community, coming to a resident event and having a great time with your roommates—we have team members that are all trained to be bold enough and confidently ask for those five-star reviews in-person."
When you establish a high level of service to a resident and genuinely go out of your way to make their living experience in one of your apartment homes comfortable and satisfying, they develop a deep appreciation for your community and they want to tell others about it.
One method for capturing positivity and asking for a review is having a printed card ready to hand out to a resident after an in-person interaction with instructions, helping them access various online review platforms to share their positive experience.
Some may think, 'Well, isn't soliciting reviews in this manner an inauthentic way to boost your online reviews?' No! Remember, when you establish a high level of service to a resident and genuinely go out of your way to make their living experience in one of your apartment homes comfortable and satisfying, they develop a deep appreciation for your community and they want to tell others about it.
Actively capturing their positivity and asking for their review, especially after a good experience, affords them that opportunity.
Prioritize exceptional resident service: This is the foundation for earning positive reviews. Focus on prompt issue resolution, property cleanliness, resident engagement, and building a resident-first service mentality.
Maintain constant communication: Regularly check in with residents to understand their experience, identify areas for improvement, and address potential issues before they turn into online complaints. Leverage reputation management software or ask directly during phone calls, renewals, or in-person interactions.
Boldly ask for positive reviews: After positive experiences, like successful maintenance requests, lease renewals, or enjoyable events, confidently ask residents to share their satisfaction online. Provide them with easy access to review platforms to give them the opportunity to showcase their appreciation for your community.