The (Not-So) Ugly Truth about Negative Online Reviews

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It doesn’t matter how friendly and professional you are, or that you’ve closed more deals this year than anyone else in your area, from time-to-time you’re going to run into a client who – whether for legitimate reasons or not – isn’t completely satisfied with the service you’ve provided for them. Most of the time, however, they’re not going to express their disappointment directly to you; in the modern tech world, dissatisfaction usually rears its head in the form of a negative online review.

But what if you could take that negative feedback and turn it around into a results-generating positive message that will help reaffirm your expertise and commitment to future clients?

In this article, I’m going to discuss a little bit about negative reviews and why they probably aren’t as much of a threat to your business as you think. I will also go over an example of a negative review a real estate professional could receive and show an example of the proper way in which to respond to it.

The Truth

While nobody likes to see a bad review written about themselves or their team, it’s important to understand that in today’s review-driven marketplace, the majority of consumers realize that lone negative review isn’t always the fault of the person or business being reviewed. Sure, a distinct trend of negative experiences may be indicative of a serious issue that needs addressing, but most readers understand that one-off comments and feedback are often just an upset and emotional response to a situation which didn’t end in the manner which the reviewer was hoping for. 

That being said, the way in which you respond to the feedback can have a big impact on how readers perceive it. If you reply by attacking or attempting to discredit the reviewer, you’re going to help affirm their accusations in the minds of prospective future clients. But by sitting back, taking a deep breath, and making sure that you’re calm and collected before penning your response, you can effectively turn a negative complaint into a positive testimonial of your commitment to quality service.  Always keep this mind when responding to reviews.  Always think of the readers that will be doing their research online and reading your responses. 

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Example of a Negative Review

We recently worked with Mr. X to sell our home, and despite knowing how urgently we needed to move, he was never able to actually close a deal. We’re still stuck in our old home wishing we’d chosen an agent with more knowledge and experience than Mr. X.

Even though Mr. X said that homes were flying off the market in our neighbourhood, it took nearly two months for him to find a buyer interested in our property. And once we finally signed a contract and waited weeks for the buyer to complete their surveys and inspections, they pulled out of the deal just days before we were supposed to close! Even though we had a legally-binding agreement, Mr. X told us there was nothing we could do, that we’d have to wait to find another buyer.

As lifelong residents of the area, we have many friends and family members who are looking to buy and sell real estate within the next few years, and we’re going to make sure that we tell every single one of them about our bad experience with Mr. X.

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Example of a Response

I’m sad to hear that you weren’t happy with my efforts in trying to help you sell your home. I’ve helped close more than 200 deals over the past 8 years that I’ve been working with buyers and sellers in the local community, and I’m truly sorry that I wasn’t able provide you with the same high level of satisfaction.

While the local real estate market is experiencing very strong growth right now, it’s important to understand the average time on market isn’t an exact prediction for every home, and regrettably it did take longer than the average to find a buyer interested in purchasing your property.

And even though everything was done to streamline the transaction and ensure the deal closed, in the end the pre-approved buyer simply wasn’t able to obtain funding from their lender – a contingency found in nearly every residential contract that involves financing.

Again, I’m sorry that your experience with my team and I didn’t meet your expectations, but I’d like to reiterate our commitment to doing everything within our ability to ensure that all of our clients are happy with the level of service that we provide. 

Keeping Things Positive

Even though proper communication and early-on problem solving can help avoid most serious issues with clients, you’re not always going to be able to keep everyone happy. So when a buyer or seller that you’ve previously worked with does leave a negative review about you or your team, it’s important to stay calm and collected, and draft a response which helps to reaffirm your commitment to the prospective clients who will be reading the feedback down the road.

By addressing the reviewer’s concerns promptly, with the facts, and by responding to their complaints in a way which makes your knowledge and experience really shine, you can take a negative review and turn it into a positive marketing opportunity with just a few short, well thought-out paragraphs.

RankMyAgent is an online real estate platform that connects Real Estate Professionals and brokers to consumers by using the power of reviews to get them recognized, generate leads, and build their online reputation.