Responding to a Yelp Review
Responding to reviews is a great way to learn from and build favor with vocal customers. Yelp does allow apartment communities to respond publicly and privately to user reviews. However this should be done very carefully, when you reach out to reviewers you must always remember what you say may be misinterpreted your good intentions may come off as mean or inconsiderate, internet messaging is a blunt tool and sometimes good intentions will come across badly.
Keep these three things in mind as you’re crafting a message to your customer:
1. Your reviewers are your current or previous residents
2. Your reviewers are people with (sometimes unpredictable) feelings and sensitivities
3. Your reviewers are vocal and opinionated (otherwise they would not be writing reviews!)
Yes, you should respond to positive reviews. It shows both the reviewer and potential residents you care about what is being said. It also shows your communities responsiveness. Unfortunately, it is surprisingly easy to do this wrong!
When contacting a positive reviewer, your purpose should be simply to deliver a human thank you and let them know you care. That’s it nothing else, no solicitations, no gift certificates. Do not even ask them to join your Facebook page. Do not react to the minor complaint in their review. No requests for them to tell more friends about your community. You get the picture… “Thank you for your kind review we take pride in keeping our residents happy.”
You may think here is a great opportunity to for us to promote our community, think again and put yourself in the shoes of your resident, and ask yourself if you would really want anything other than a simple thank you. While a gift or invitation sounds like a nice idea, it can also be considered as a bribe or payment for the review. Remember, your resident already likes what you are doing — just use this opportunity to thank them and introduce yourself.
This may be very difficult for many of you. Before responding to a negative review, take a deep breath and think very carefully about what you are going to write. Or even better, don’t think too much: just keep it simple by thanking your resident for the patronage and feedback.
Negative reviews can feel like a slap in the face. You invest a considerable amount of time working on keeping your residents happy, and it hurts when someone says bad things about our community. For you owners and property managers out there, a negative review can even feel like a personal attack.
There is good news, by reaching out to your resident or previous resident and establishing a honest human relationship, you have a chance to help improve the situation and maybe even change your residents perspective for the better. We’ve heard lots of success stories from business owners who were polite to their reviewers and were given a second chance.
Please be very careful here, if your resident perceives you are being rude, patronizing or insincere in any way, there’s a chance he or she could get angry and make the situation even worse. Keep in mind that this is a vocal resident who could copy and paste your message all over the Web or reach out to other review websites and paste their complaints to a broader audience.
So just keep your message simple: thank you for the business and the feedback. If you can be specific about the customer’s experience and any changes you may have made as a result, this could go very far in earning trust.
Posting a Public Comment
Public comments are a way for communities to add a helpful comment to a user’s review. Responding to a resident’s concerns shows you value their feedback and you’re always striving to improve.
Go to the “Reviews” tab after logging into your business account. From there you’ll be able to add a public comment to any review of your business. (If you do not have this information send Resident Capture a support ticket, tell us what you would like to say and we will post this for you)
Where your Public Comment will appear
Your comment will appear directly following the review that you’ve commented on.
What should I say in a public comment?
Be simple and polite. People on Yelp appreciate honesty and like to know when communities are making changes based on their feedback.
Are there times when it’s better not to comment?
Yes, sometimes it’s to your advantage not to comment at all. In most cases apartment shoppers will see right through the reviewer for example, if they complain about move out fees. We have all seen someone trash an apartment and we would reasonably expect them to pay for it. Also, if you’re upset, you might write something that will reflect poorly on your community or you personally. Wait until you’ve had some time to think about a review; there may be legitimate concerns brought up in the review that you can address in a constructive way.
If you want to thank someone for a positive review, send a private message instead. Comments that simply thank users without providing new information can be perceived as overbearing. So if you want to thank someone you can reply with a thank you and write something else they pointed out and tell them you appreciate their feed back and will correct or look into the the issue.
What if a review is completely false? Can I say so?
Sure, though we always recommend trying to resolve issues through private messaging first. If you feel a public comment is necessary, present your case as simply and politely as possible, and do not attack the reviewer under any circumstances. Remember that potential customers will be reading your comment and you want to leave them with a positive impression of your business.
Public Comment Reminders
As with private messaging, we ask that business owners upload a clear photo of themselves to help personalize their message. You can use Public Comments to tell the community what you’ve done to address a specific concern raised by a reviewer, provide correct information when a review contains inaccurate or outdated information, or provide your version of a difficult situation when you’re unable to resolve a dispute through private messaging. Remember to be polite and stick to facts since your comments are public and can be seen by potential customers.
Please don’t use public comments to launch personal attacks, advertise, or offer an incentive to change a review.