As a property manager, nothing knocks you down a peg and puts some sweat on your brow more than a supremely negative review left by a guest. How do you tell your owner? What if they see the review before you have a chance to tell them? What if, at worst, you lose their business? Here are a few ways to avoid a major issue and stop any dissatisfaction from the property owner before it begins:
Hiding a bad review is the worst thing you can do. Avoiding the subject, or worse, deleting the evidence (if you have that capability) only makes you seem immature, scared, and incompetent. This bad review can be viewed as a blessing, to showcase your worth to the property owner and let him or her know you have everything handled, not just in the good times. Be sure to show your owner the review before he or she finds out about it, otherwise you may be seen as avoiding the problem. Also, be proactive in handling the problem with the renter. Work out a solution together that leaves everyone smiling and feeling a lot better.
Honesty does have a limit, but don't lie to your owner about what happened. If it wasn't really your fault, say so, but don't make excuses. Prepare a candid explanation about the incident and what your next course of action will be to resolve the issue with the renter, and then discuss your plan to make sure this will never happen again. The owner will appreciate your candor and (referring back to our first tip) your proactive nature. A negative review also gives your property and listing credibility, EVERY brand in the world has someone who dislikes it, and if your listing has 100 positive reviews and 0 negative reviews, it looks fishy. The important part is having the vast majority be positive.
As mentioned briefly above, you need to follow up with the customer to show you care. Post a response to the negative review publicly, and privately email call to handle the situation person-to-person. You may turn an unsatisfied customer into a strong advocate just by your adept handling of the situation. Your single brush with a negative review should not stop you from learning more about them or honing your skills at deflecting them. Read the negative reviews of your competitor's properties and use that feedback for ways to improve your own service.
Follow these tips and you will be just fine. The issue hopefully should be handled and you will know better in the future to avoid any similar mistakes. In a later post, we will give practical tips on how to respond online to an overly negative review left on a property. Stay tuned!