It’s never easy to hear the complaints of a resident, especially when they choose to share their dissatisfaction on a public platform. Though we all strive for perfection, the occasional unhappy resident is inevitable. As our society continues to depend on a public forum to publish their thoughts and emotions; negative reviews will continue to be a reality to the best service teams. This reality requires quick thinking and a concise, effective response.
Choose the best person to respond:
It is a general rule that unhappy residents will post purely on emotion. That’s why it is so important to post an immediate response that is sympathetic, professional and in no way misconstrued as a rebuttal. Responding with carefully chosen words, and doing it quickly requires a finesse not everyone on your team may possess. Practice mock responses to determine which of your staff members should take point on this important responsibility.
You may have a knee-jerk reaction to negative posts, but despite a complaint’s legitimacy or illegitimacy, you should always find the nugget of truth that can help you improve your customer service. If the problem is truly something your team made a mistake on, own it. But in owning, make sure to sound sincere, modest and always follow up with a plan to prevent the problem from happening in the future.
What’s your plan?
People want options. More than that, they want to feel in control. Most of the time the reason that prompted the resident to take their complaint public, is because they felt out of control. If you put the control back in their hands, with options all sanctioned by your resources, you can diffuse a situation very quickly and show anyone reading the review a competent team that makes customer service their first priority. For instance, if the negative review involves a maintenance issue, remind your residents of how they can most easily place a service request; of your policy of 45 minute response time to emergencies; and help your resident understand what constitutes an emergency and what does not.
Your word will only be as good as your actions. Back up what you say with action. Trust that the word will spread. You can write the most eloquent of responses, but if you fail to perform, your words will be empty, and that kind of reputation spreads quickly. It’s also a very good idea to thank the person posting for sharing and invite the person posting to reach out personally to a staff member to find ways to resolve their issue(s) and mend the broken relationship.
Always remember, your words will be read by everyone who visits your Social Media site. You never want to offer excuses or platitudes. Keep it simple and honest. Your resident may not have painted you in the best light, but here’s your chance to change the colors.Paint the colors with diligent and sincere brushstrokes. And may we never see another negative review again! Good luck.
By: Holly Jordan, Property Manager