The Multifamily Reputation Management Guide: 5 Steps to Building a 5-Star Online Rep

Fix Your Apartment's Reputation Management

90% of consumers read reviews before visiting a business. 88% trust reviews as much as personal recommendations. Translation? Your online reputation matters. A lot. 

Here are five actionable steps to help you build that five-star rep. 

Step 1: Proactively Generate Positive Google Reviews

Rather than waiting for reviews to slowly trickle in, take charge of the conversation. 

Harness the power of positive moments that drive your properties’ online reputation. Proactively asking for reviews during key lifecycle stages—like after a tour or at move-in—maximizes your chances of receiving favorable feedback. 

Automated systems make this process seamless, capturing every opportunity without adding additional work for your team.

Key Actions to Proactively Generate Reviews

  • Leverage Lifecycle Triggers: Implement review requests at critical moments. We’re talkin’ post-tour, move-in, maintenance completion, or renewal, for example. You know, those times when prospects and residents are feeling all warm and fuzzy and have only nice things to say. 
  • Automate Requests: One-off manual requests are like soooo 2023. Instead, use systems integrated with your property management software (like Entrata or AppFolio) to automatically send review invitations to prospects and residents alike. 
  • Focus on High-Impact Stages: Prioritize moments that naturally result in positive feedback. Post-tour, in particular, is a proven review booster. With an average rating of 4.18 stars, it’s the best of any stage. We recommend starting there when revamping your strategy.

Insights from the Digible Dudes Podcast

  • Reviews gathered after positive experiences (like a successful move-in) often yield higher ratings.
  • Automating the request process ensures consistency and minimizes the burden on the onsite team.

Step 2: Engage with Reviews—Respond Thoughtfully

Engaging with reviews isn’t just about damage control. No, siree. It’s an opportunity to showcase your commitment to resident satisfaction. 

Thoughtful, personalized responses to both positive and negative feedback build trust and demonstrate that you not only listen to, but value your residents’ experiences. Providing a clear next step for resolution can turn a negative review into a positive experience. And that’s what we in the industry call a win-win, folks. 

Key Actions When Responding to Online Reputation

  • Respond Promptly: Address both positive and negative reviews within 24-48 hours to show that you’re on top of your responsiveness game.
  • Personalize Responses: Use specific details about the reviewer’s experience and demonstrate genuine engagement. Avoid generic replies and responses that sound like they’re written by bots. 
  • Establish Next Steps: For negative reviews, offer a clear action plan and/or provide contact information to resolve the issue.
  • Resolve Offline: Avoid litigating any issues in public. We repeat: Do not argue with residents online. Your response should acknowledge and apologize for the resident’s frustration, but avoid outwardly admitting guilt, as the community may not be at fault. Reach out to the resident offline and attempt to find a solution there instead.

Insights from the Digible Dudes Podcast

  • Thoughtful, personalized responses can mitigate negative perceptions and enhance credibility.
  • Consistent response patterns will encourage more balanced feedback and help manage public perception.

Step 3: Empower Your Onsite Teams—Train and Support

Your onsite team is the frontline of your apartments’ reputation management. 

Equipping them with the right training and tools empowers them to create positive experiences that naturally lead to favorable reviews. A well-trained onsite team can turn everyday interactions into opportunities for exceptional service, significantly boosting resident satisfaction.

Key Actions to Empower Teams

  • Train Staff: Equip your team with customer service and communication skills to handle face-to-face interactions effectively. And don’t forget our number one tip: Difficult as it may be, arguing is never the answer. Even—and especially—when you’re right.
  • Provide Resources: Give your staff access to tools and guidelines for managing reviews and responding to feedback. The more detailed and specific, the better. 
  • Encourage Feedback: Create a culture where team members seek out and act upon resident feedback to improve service quality.

Insights from the Digible Dudes Podcast

  • Positive reviews often highlight excellent interactions with onsite teams. 
  • Industry-wide, onsite teams are mentioned in almost 65% of positive Google reviews, far ahead of the #2 topic, location, which is only mentioned in 14% of positive reviews. 
  • Maintenance staff, is mentioned in almost 14% of positive reviews, the #3 driver of positivity. Further proof that a well-trained staff translates to greater review quality and higher resident satisfaction.

Step 4: Optimize Operational Efficiency—Balance Tech and Human Touch

Finding the right balance between technology and humans is tricky…and crucial

While automation can streamline processes, only the personal element of human interaction can guarantee that responses are authentic and relatable. Combining these elements allows you to efficiently manage reviews without losing the nuance and empathy that only people can provide.

Key Actions to Optimize Efficiency in Reputation Management

  • Use Technology Wisely: Integrate tech solutions for efficient review management, but don’t rely solely on automation. AI can do a lot of things well. Empathizing with the human experience just isn’t one of ‘em. Yet. (Dun dun dun…)   
  • Maintain Human Involvement: Combine AI with human supervision to ensure responses are nuanced and personalized.
  • Streamline Processes: Simplify review collection and response workflows to reduce the administrative load on your team.

Insights from the Digible Dudes Podcast

  • A balance between technology and human input results in responses that are not only efficient but also empathetic and detailed. This approach helps maintain a personal touch while leveraging the enhanced productivity of tech.
  • Technology should eliminate extraneous tasks from onsite teams so they can focus on what technology cannot do: deliver exceptional face-to-face service. If this is working, the topic reporting from public reviews should highlight above-average positive mentions of onsite teams. At a minimum, it should showcase rising mentions. These data points are useful when tracking subtle changes in resident experience.

Step 5: Analyze and Act on Feedback—Continuous Improvement

Regularly analyzing review feedback provides valuable reputation insights into resident experiences and helps identify areas for improvement. 

By addressing common issues and communicating changes back to your residents, you demonstrate that you care about what they’re saying. This will lead to tangible improvements and foster a culture of continuous enhancement.

Key Actions to Analyze Resident Experiences

  • Regularly Review Data: Use sentiment analysis tools to understand trends in your reviews and identify areas for improvement.
  • Address Common Issues: Focus on frequently mentioned issues, like maintenance or staff interactions, to target improvements effectively.
  • Communicate Changes: Inform residents of actions taken based on their online reviews. Show them that their feedback is valued and leads to tangible results, that their concerns are not just being dissed and dismissed. Psssh…as if. 

Insights from the Digible Dudes Podcast

  • Continuous analysis of online review data can uncover patterns and insights that can inform operational improvements. 
  • Addressing recurring themes in feedback helps enhance resident satisfaction and overall reputation.
  • Use industry benchmarks to give your data additional meaning. For example, in the context of renewal reviews, the industry benchmark shows that 13% of negative reviews mention amenities. Is that good? Bad? Without context, nobody knows. When stacked up against industry-wide benchmarks, amenities are mentioned 80% more often in a negative context, a significant jump. But, in the context of negative renewal reviews, amenities is the 10th most frequent topic, far behind communication, maintenance, and parking.

Summary: Investing in Apartment Reputation Management is Worth It

Building a stellar online reputation in the multifamily industry is no easy feat. Not only do you need to proactively generate positive reviews and thoughtfully engage with resident feedback, you also need to empower your onsite team with tools and training, balance technology with human touch, and continuously analyze and act on all that feedback. 

But, if you invest in these apartment reputation management steps,  you will see a  massive difference in your online rep. Implementing these tactics will help you cultivate a positive public image, enhance resident satisfaction, and drive success in a competitive market.

Need help tackling these strategies? Check out Digible’s Online Reputation Management service.

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