Negative reviews on ApartmentRatings.Com, Yelp and Google Reviews can ruin more than just your ego. The last thing you want a prospective resident to see is the first line of a negative Google review when they click on your location on a Google Map. Especially when it’s something really awesome like: “DoN’t ReNt hErE!!!! It sUX.”
Although you can’t do much about former residents who think they should receive their entire deposit back, even though their cat peed on every available surface in the apartment, you can make a difference for reasonable residents by simply giving them more information so they have healthy expectations about the resident experience and the move-out experience.
I have found that the most common complaints on apartment ratings sites are issues that really boil down to a resident’s expectations. If you (or your leasing agents) take the time to train and educate your residents about how things work at your property when they sign the lease, it can change everything.
Some key topics that need to be discussed during the move-in lease signing include:
- How your after-hours emergency maintenance reporting system works.
- How you will communicate with a resident in case of a building-wide (or unit-specific emergency.)
- How and where to submit maintenance requests and what kind of response to expect (phone call, maintenance man just shows up, etc.)
- How to submit a 30 day notice when they are ready to move out and what kind of confirmation they can expect in order to be certain their notice was processed.
Another important time to manage expectations (and therefore reduce ex-resident disappointment) is when they put in a 30-day Move-Out notice. It is crucial that they understand how your move-out process works, when they can expect their refund, and what types of things they can expect to be charged for.
The place where your efforts are most meaningful is face to face with the resident. If you want to boost your ApartmentRatings.Com reviews, offer amazing customer service so that residents receive clear communication and never even bother to go vent their frustration on-line. Although there are of course many unreasonable people in the world, most residents only end up being frustrated when their expectations were not met. And of course communicating clearly so that the resident understands your systems and processes not only protects your property from negative Google or ApartmentRatings.Com reviews, it also boost the positive word of mouth comments from previous residents.
Help your staff create a culture of clear communication with residents so that there is less confusion during the term of the lease and after move-out. This will help you easily reduce the kind of frustration and anger that leads someone to post a negative review full of complaints on ApartmentRatings.Com. Customer service and clear communication go a long way towards resident retention and resident referrals.