Online agent reviews are a hot topic right now.
For years people asked their friends and family for recommendations when they were searching for an agent to help buy or sell a house. Consumers still ask their friends for recommendations, but now they are increasingly likely to look agents up on the Internet, too.
Popular consumer portals like Zillow and Trulia host agent reviews, but they aren’t the only ones. In fact, Inman News just ran a fascinating article about the explosion of online agent ratings sites.
If you come across a negative review about your services, don’t panic. The occasional bad review can happen to even the best agents. Whether it stems from a disgruntled client, genuine misunderstanding or total stranger (and liar), here are 4 steps that will stop you from making a mountain out of a molehill.
Take a deep breath.
So you found a bad review online. Someone said you were too something or not enough something and maybe they have a valid point and maybe they don’t. Whatever the case, if you are upset by the review, don’t immediately engage. Even if you know it’s 100% false and can prove it. Take a deep breath and walk away from the Internet.
An angry or frustrated response won’t do anything to indicate what a kind, reasonable and responsible agent you actually are. If you feel like you absolutely need to write something down to get it out of your head, draft it on a separate word doc or sheet of paper. Or tell a loved one. Just don’t let your first reaction leave the room.
Plan your strategy.
Now that you’ve taken a few moments to collect your thoughts, it’s time to figure out the best strategy for moving forward. You can opt to ignore or respond to the review or, depending on the scenario, ask to have it deleted.
If you think that the author is a reasonably normal human and won’t react with a crazy tirade of falsehoods, a professional response is a good way to show that you care – about the writer and your reputation. Cue up your reviewer and skip to the next step.
If you suspect that the person is a little unbalanced, the best course of action may be to avoid further online conflict by ignoring the review. Will this be easy? No. Will you keep thinking about and rereading the review? Probably. Is there anything else you can do? Yes, skip to the last step.
Finally, if you think that the reviewer is not actually a dissatisfied client but instead a nefarious competitor or even a troll (someone who tries to stir up trouble on the Internet for sport), contact the site where it appears to see if the review can be hidden or deleted.
Take the conversation offline.
If you have decided to respond to the reviewer, extend an apology for any hardships or confusion and then offer to take the conversation offline. This shows anyone who reads the review that you are a responsive, sympathetic and professional agent. And it keeps your further conversation surrounding the review out of the public eye – which could be a good thing if your relationship with the reviewer does not improve.
If an offline chat resolves the issue, you might feel comfortable asking the author to remove or update their original review or write a new one.
Collect positive reviews.
Sometimes the best offense is a good defense. Some negative agent reviews just can’t be swept under the rug, even if they’re completely inaccurate. You can diminish their power over your online reputation by drowning them out with positive testimonials and reviews from happy clients.
Reach out to existing and previous clients to ask for feedback. We have previously written about how to get client reviews to post on your agent website. Another good place to post written testimonials is on your LinkedIn page. If you have videos of happy clients, share them on YouTube and your social channels.
Remember, negative agent reviews aren’t the end of the world. They give you the opportunity to mend relationships, demonstrate your customer service skills and take a closer look at your online strategy.
When you’re searching online, are you more likely to trust the business with 5 glowing reviews? Or the business with 29 really good reviews and one not-so-good one?
Have you had positive or negative experiences with online reviews?