Online reviews make or break your property’s online reputation in today’s rental market. 93% of U.S. apartment seekers use online reviews in their search for a rental and 74% read up to 10 reviews before converting. During their search, tenants are primarily looking for negative reviews as red flags, positive reviews for trust, and the recency of the last review for relevance.
If you’re ready to stand out from the competition and earn trust with tenants, you’ll need the help of reviews. Read on for some pro tips on generating Google reviews and winning more tenants.
01. Improve the tenant experience
A recent survey found that 64% of American renters are willing to pay more for a property with positive reviews and higher rankings. For this, and many other reasons, it’s worth the effort to provide the type of rental experience that tenants enjoy and will speak positively about.
You may already know what’s frustrating for your tenants; if you don’t, find out with a survey or implement a channel for feedback. Other suggestions you might consider to improve the tenant experience and increase positive reviews could include the following:
- A textline for maintenance requests (can be completed on your Google My Business listing through Apple Business Chat or Google Messages)
- Rent collection via text (mobile payment options for increased convenience and speed-to-payment)
- Virtual tour scheduling online or via text
- Detailed listings with prices, pictures, and videos of properties
- A completely digital application, leasing, and renewal process (no more waiting in the office)
- Clear contact info across every channel (social media, website, etc.)
- Web chat with automated bots to answer FAQs (improved responses times)
02. Claim your business on review sites
Tenants can (and do!) leave reviews of your brand whether you’re aware of it or not. But only after you claim your business on review sites can you respond to reviews, check in-platform messages, and verify your information.
There are several rental review sites to be familiar with including Zillow, Yelp, Apartments.com, Facebook Reviews, Angie’s List, and Google reviews. While each platform can help you improve your reputation, Google reviews tend to rank first in search results and are a good starting place to increase visibility.
To begin, search for your properties and property management company on Google. If you’re already listed, claim your account, and update any information (hours, website, phone number, etc.) necessary. If your location is not listed, create a listing through Google Maps or Google My Business. In this process, be sure to add high quality photos to your listings. The Wall Street Journal reports that properties with photos capture the attention of searchers for 10x longer than listings with no pictures.
03. Respond to reviews
The work isn’t over after you claim your properties and update your information. You should also be responding to the reviews you acquire. 97% of people reading reviews also take into account your responses to reviews. If a review is positive, you can thank the tenant and take note of what’s working. If a review is negative, acknowledge the complaint and do what you can to address it.
Reviews are the main factor in your search ranking, but not the only factor in overall trust with your tenants and prospects. The most important thing is to be attentive to your customers and proactive about improving the tenant experience.
-Renter: Jennifer Tensen: “I’ve loved living at Waterfront Apartments for the past year. They’re always quick to handle maintenance and are so friendly in the office.”
-Property Manager: We are so happy to hear this, Jennifer. Thanks for choosing Waterfront!
04. Ask for reviews
When it comes to online reviews, unsatisfied tenants, unfortunately, are more likely to complain than happy tenants are to write positive reviews. This can create an inaccurate reputation for your property management company online and dissuade renters in the market from using your services.
To portray an accurate picture of your brand, build trust, and win tenants, you need to be asking your tenants for reviews. Inform your tenants how positive reviews help you, and begin inviting them to write reviews on Google. 89% of renters report that they would post an online review of their community if asked, so don’t skip this important step.
05. Automate the ask
To optimize this process, automate review requests via text after important milestones like signing or renewing a lease. 9 out of 10 customers prefer to interact with businesses via text anyway. The invitation can be sent without hassle, reviews completed within seconds, and your ranking improved with each review.
The more authentic reviews you can generate, the more the Google algorithm and future tenants will trust and choose your business. Focus on improving the tenant experience, ask for reviews, and watch your ranking, reputation, and revenue improve.
For an even more in-depth guide, check out our free eBook, Google Reviews 101.