How to Overcome Bad Reviews as a Real Estate Agent
Bad reviews happen to everyone. No matter how much you try or how hard you work, sometimes, people just can’t be pleased — and they take to the internet to make it known.
Fortunately, a bad comment on social media, Yelp or in Google reviews isn’t the end of the world. In fact, there are actually some ways you can use it to improve your online reputation and build more trust as an agent.
Are you dealing with a bad review or two? Just take these steps.
Respond to the review publicly.
As much as you want to push those bad reviews to the wayside (after all, out of sight, out of mind, right?), negative feedback just can’t be ignored — especially if it’s publicly available. Just think of it from a potential customer’s point of view. If they see a bad review you haven’t responded to, it tells them
- You’re not monitoring your reviews and keeping tabs on customer feedback
- You just don’t care about the client experience. Either way, it’s not a way to win new business.
Your best bet is to respond to the review publicly. Acknowledge the problem that the customer cites, tell them you value their feedback, and let them know you’ll be reaching out privately to remedy the issue. You want to let future customers know you care about the service you deliver and that you’re willing to accept feedback, take criticism, and act on it in order to make your customers happy.
Reach out to the client privately and make it up to them.
Your next step is to actually reach out to that reviewer and try to remedy the issue. There’s a chance it’s too late to do that (maybe you’ve already sold their home and helped them move to a new property), but you can at least touch base and offer some sort of recompense for their troubles. This could be in the form of a gift card, some sort of discount or coupon, or reduced fees on a future transaction. Even just a handwritten apology note can help.
There are two reasons for this sort of reach-out. First, there’s the old “service recovery paradox.” According to studies, customers actually think more of a brand that fails and that fixes that problem than they do of brands that never fail in the first place. This increased confidence in your brand might even make them more likely to refer you to friends and family members or, better yet, amend their bad review or post a positive follow-up.
Cultivate good reviews to flush it out.
You can’t remove a bad review, but you can push it to the background with an influx of good reviews and high ratings. Experts generally recommend at least 10 good reviews for every bad one, so make sure you’re reaching out to past customers and asking for reviews on a regular basis. Once you close a deal or finalize a transaction, shoot them an email thanking them for their business and requesting their feedback. Be sure to include a direct link to the review page that you want them to use and make the process super easy. You might even consider incentivizing reviews with a contest or prize drawing of sorts.
Create a proactive feedback strategy to prevent bad reviews in the first place.
The best way to avoid bad reviews is to proactively seek feedback from your customers and identify problems before they get out of hand. Consider implementing some sort of monthly or quarterly survey program that lets you gauge how you’re doing. What are clients happy with? What could be done better? What problems are they encountering? Use this feedback to course-correct before a bad review can result.
More Pro Tips for Managing Your Online Reputation
If you really want to cultivate a strong, positive online reputation that brings in leads, then it’s important you’re on top of your game. That means claiming all your review pages (Yelp, Google, Bing, your local real estate agent association), setting up alerts for when new reviews are posted, and having a solid strategy for both encouraging reviews and responding to them.
You should also include your review links in your email signature, on your website, and in social media, so that providing feedback is simple and efficient for your clients.
Finally, be careful about the vendors you refer your clients to. They’re an extension of your services as well, and if they don’t deliver up to your standards, it could impact your reviews and ratings, too. Always do your due diligence, and only recommend lenders, home inspectors, and other professionals you’ve vetted and are confident can deliver.