Tips for Real Estate Agents to Handle Bad Online Reviews

Online reviews for Arizona real estate agents are a vital aspect of home sales. Your online reputation affects both the amount of referrals and conversion on potential clients. Phoenix home buyers turn to Google +, Yelp and Facebook to gauge the satisfaction of previous clients or learn more about agent qualifications.

Aside from ‘likes’ or ‘thumbs ups’, business online reviews with specifics about your professionalism and added value are particularly powerful.

However, the convenience and exposure of social media reviews also carry risks. AZ real estate brokerages should have a strategy in place to manage their online reputation against negative reviews.

Here are 3 tips to handle negative online reviews and enhance your business reputation:

  1. Use Technology to Get Alerts and Respond Quickly
  2. Answer Negative Reviews with Prospects in Mind
  3. Focus Online Reviews to a Few Platforms (Do not emphasize Facebook reviews)

1. Use Google Alerts and Smartphone Apps to Manage Your Online Reputation

Response time is crucial to managing reviews, whether good or bad.  Realtors that do not respond Facebook comments or Google + reviews seem disengaged and negative reviews are assumed to be wholly true by default.

You can manage online reviews with various apps that alert business owners to comments made on their profiles or across the web. Google Alerts is a popular and free service that notifies when a brand or phrase is mentioned across the web.

For instance, Arizona Realtors can track brokerage names (RE/MAX, HomeSmart, etc) to track what people are saying about their brand in local markets. This helps agents capitalize on or mitigate news from a company level. In terms of managing your reputation, an agent’s name can be a search term as well. Business owners can be notified when their names are used across the web, such as review sites or forums, and promptly respond.

Most sites also have settings or apps that notify you of online activity. The Google My Business app is free and offers an entire suite of tools, which range from review notification to trends in your business ratings. Users can respond to review and manage their Google+ profile from their smartphones.

Facebook also has settings that send you notification for comments or ratings activity on Business Fan Pages. Since guests can leave star ratings without leaving a comment, agents will be more aware of actions that affect their reputation.

Do you use apps and set notifications to stay on top of online reviews? Please call our AZ online real estate marketing team at 602-571-2999 for tips to increase response time.

2. Answer Negative Reviews with Prospects in Mind

Once an unhappy client’s review goes viral, there is little potential or value to ‘win back’ the client. However, agents should focus on the broader audience rather for online reviews that are less than positive. Most prospects understand that reviews can be fickle and appreciate an empathetic response. You should acknowledge rational concerns in a personal way and offer to further the discussion offline.

As an example, a buyer may claim he/she was not showed homes in their price range so the agent could earn more commission. This is likely an issue of perception, as the agent may reconcile the client’s wish list for location or features with their budget. You should note the likely explanation to ease concerns for future clients who may read this review, then ask for the unhappy client to call you for assistance.

Leverage negative comments as a way to show how you add value! A comment that you did not keep clients informed is a chance talk about real-time technology that keeps clients informed at all stages. You could also note the support team in place that assists clients when agents are occupied, etc.

Do you use responses to bad online reviews as a chance to impress prospects? The digital marketing team at Driggs Title Agency in Phoenix has strategies to manage business reviews for Arizona Realtors that grow your home sales.

3. Focus Online Reviews to a Few Platforms (Do not emphasize Facebook reviews)

There are instances of malicious feedback, whether from employees, competitors or other sources. AZ real estate agents should identify false business reviews and promptly delete these posts or comments. Most platforms have ‘filters’ that are supposed to prevent online reviews from being manipulated, whether positive or negative.

Different platforms flag suspicious posts with varying amounts of success. Google + may remove multiple reviews from the same IP address. Meanwhile, Yelp review filters deem certain reviews to have more value to readers than others.

Business owners in all industries should consider what platforms most match their product or service and the ease with which reviews can be managed. Facebook perhaps offers the least protection against reviews and arguably has minimal effect on choosing an agent. Would you let Facebook comments affect your decision on choosing a professional to make a large purchase? Unfortunately, you cannot remove false Facebook business review without reporting them to user support and the success rate varies.

Tip: Arizona real estate agents can manage their FB settings to have start ratings removed altogether, which requires visitors to leave comments. This extra step often thwarts malicious but lazy attacks.

To remove star ratings from Facebook:  Settings: Page info>Remove Address>Uncheck box of ‘Show this map on your Page and enable check-ins.’

Of course, a Facebook Business Page does have value in terms of branding and staying in contact with clients. Consider sending review links to other widely-used sites with more protection, such as Google+ or register for industry sites, such as Zillow or Trulia.

Summary:

Reputation management is key aspect of Phoenix real estate sales. Driggs  Title Agency works with Arizona Realtors to build their online reputation with social media strategies for real estate agents that increase branding and Phoenix homes sales. Please contact us at 480-237-4527 for tips on getting started.

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