How to handle negative online reviews and comments

This article, modified from a post originally written and published by RealSatisfied, takes a close look at online review management. REALTORS® can now display RealSatisfied testimonials and RankMyAgent testimonials on their REALTOR.ca profile page. Visit My Profile tool to update your profile.

Client satisfaction in any business is a highly nuanced achievement. Real estate transactions are no exception. From constant communication to balancing multiple clients and transactions, it requires a lot of coordination and sometimes, things don’t always go as planned. In this day and age, that may mean clients will turn to the Internet to voice their frustration.

What can you do? Here are six tips on handling negative comments online:

Don’t freak out. Stay calm. Show them you’re listening.

In most cases, negative comments or reviews are a last resort. Perhaps it’s a simple misunderstanding, a bad day or a text that was misread. If you stumble upon a bad review or comment, don’t pass it by without responding. An unanswered bad review becomes truth in the eyes of the consumer. Validate their emotion (even if you don’t agree with it), address the comment directly and pleasantly or offer to take the conversation offline. Most importantly, let them know you’re listening and value their feedback.

Respond quickly and with kindness

Be proactive with your responses online. Watch your industry review and social media channels regularly. Clients today expect customer service to be public and transparent. This kind of professionalism shows you’re aware, working in real-time, and care about their experience no matter what communication channel or device they use. And, of course, always think before you respond. While you want to be timely, you want to respond with patience and kindness and not in the heat of the moment.

Turn a negative into a positive

If it looks like their experience cannot be resolved, redouble your efforts to end on a high note. Consider a small gift card, tickets to a movie or a donation to a charity of their choice. This act simply keeps the level of customer satisfaction in focus over anything else. Let them know while you’re sorry their issue couldn’t be directly resolved, you do care about their experience.

Ask for a comment rewrite

If you have tried to address the client’s concern(s) and things look like they are on the mend, ask them to reconsider the comment or review. Don’t take it personally if they decline, but many times customers will be happy to remove the comment once they feel their opinions were heard and addressed.

Take steps to insure reviews are in your control

One of the best ways to proactively control your online reviews is to ask for feedback within 7-10 days from the transaction’s close. Give them a way to provide their feedback and remain open and available.

Make use of tools

Use social listening and analytic tools to stay on top of your brand reputation. Remember, not all bad reviews are negative – rather, they can be an opportunity to show you care about customer satisfaction and experience. Turn those negatives into positivesIt’s more authentic, more trustworthy and real!

Our thanks to Laura Monroe from RealSatisfied for the tips on handling negative comments online. Share your own experiences in the Comment section below.

Laura Monroe is the Vice President of Growth for Sequel, a new start-up that seeks to transform broker website solutions and brand storytelling. Laura has more than 15 years of experience in real estate and is a nationally recognized industry speaker, educator, and contributor. Formerly, Laura was the Vice President of Industry for RealSatisfied, providing customer satisfaction best practices for the industry.


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