Reputation Management has been a priority focus for many companies this year. And while it’s refreshing to see people finally “getting it”, the inevitable eye-rolling, boredom inducing, “enough already” side effect has started to set in. You know, the one which makes every instructor speaking on the subject sound like Miss Swanson of the Peanuts cartoon (wah, waa-waa, wah-waa-waa, wah)?
As someone who is in the Miss Swanson role, I’ve seen it all. Attendees range from those taking it all in, feverishly scribbling notes and hanging onto my every word, to those who are so over it they will lose it if the phrase “reputation management” is uttered one more time. I get it; we all have our limits and we can only take so much before we completely tune out altogether.
The difficulty with “reputation management” training is that it is traditionally communicated from a reactionary point of reference. What to do “when” a review has been posted. How to respond “after” a complaint has been made. As I’ve said to all of my classes, people go online for 2 reasons: to sing your praises, or to rake you over the coals. And to that, I suggest that we start using these new words to replace reputation management…prevention and recovery.
Prevention: Not too long ago I wrote an article where I described a conversation I had with my father as a teen where I complained to him that my mother seemed to always be on my case about the same thing - cleaning my room. After listening to me whine and moan about her, his simple response was this: “If you don’t want her to complain, stop giving her anything to complain about”. Boom! Just like that. And so now, I pass along his words of wisdom to you. If you want to avoid the onslaught of complaints, stop giving your residents (past and present) reasons to go online and post negative reviews. Or at the very least, mitigate the damages and give them fewer things to find fault with.
Try this exercise. Draw a line down the middle of a sheet of paper and mark the left side “Column A” and the left “Column B”. Next, go to your most-visited review site. Read through the reviews that have been posted over the past 12 months. Write down all of the negative things residents have to say about your community in Column A. Now make a list of all of the positives in Column B. Do you see any common topics in Column A? Are residents criticizing your maintenance efforts? Is the office perceived as less than helpful? The items in Column A give you a clue as to preventative measures that need to take place within the team. Anticipate these issues, streamline their related processes and smooth the way for easy living.
Recovery: I’ve said this time and time again; residents don’t expect perfection, just a resolution. hen issues are brought to your attention, residents are giving you an opportunity to make a remarkable recovery. How refreshing would it be for your resident to alert you once, and never have to worry about the same issue again? Residents like for their management teams to have a “one and done” attitude. Whether it be a simple service request or something more involved like a noise complaint, they want and need to know the management team has it all under control. Remember, they are paying for us to make their lives less stressful. Is living at your community worry-free or worrisome?
Prevention and recovery is all about the basics. As teams switch gears to focus on managing their online reputations, let’s not forget about the resident’s onsite experience.