Don't let negative real estate reviews make your business look bad. Learn how to handle negative testimonials with professionalism and bounce back quickly with these tips.
Every real estate agent understands the benefits and power of positive online reviews. Reviews are an integral part of our lives online and our decision-making offline. Yet no matter how many positive reviews you’ve received, a negative real estate review can stick out like a sore thumb. It’s fair to say that some clients have unreasonably high expectations and can never be satisfied by even the best service, but that won’t stop them from writing an impassioned, scathing review when given the chance. After all, purchasing real estate is one of the biggest, most emotional investments someone will make in their lifetime.
Fortunately, a negative review isn’t always horrible – it can show viewers that the realtor is genuine and that no one can be perfect no matter how much you want to make your client’s dreams come true. Unfortunately, a negative review can also significantly bring your ranking down on some review sites, and websites are not always willing to take them down, nor are clients always willing to be agreeable.
First, let’s take a look at the most popular review platforms and their guidelines, then we’ll move on to exactly how to tackle your negative reviews in every case.
Common Real Estate Review Sites and Review Removal Policies
Your Real Estate Website
Needless to say, your website gives you more control over your reviews than any other platform. However, it’s not advised to go through your reviews and delete all the negative ones. Customers will find other, more public ways to give you a review (on Google My Business for example) and they’ll be even more frustrated than before. Take the time to answer each negative review with care and the reviewer may agree to remove their review from your website (more details on that later).
Your AgentFire website easily integrates with every review platform so that you can have them all in the same place. Learn more about our testimonial integration.
Google My Business
Google often permits businesses to remove reviews only if they violate the site’s policies. Prohibited behavior includes harassment, fake reviews, personal information, and more. However, removing a review simply because you don’t agree with it is not permitted. It is extremely challenging for Google to verify the validity of your client’s experience and they won’t go above and beyond to find out.
At the moment, there is no immediate way to delete negative testimonials on Facebook. However, owners of business pages have the option of reporting the review if it is spam or goes against the Facebook community guidelines.
Looking for more interesting ways to use Facebook for your business? Check out this list of ways America’s top real estate agents are taking advantage of everything facebook has to offer.
While Zillow does not allow agents to delete reviews, they do provide advice on how to handle negative reviews through their platform. Additionally, Zillow suggests reaching out to their mortgage support team if all else fails.
Realtor.com goes the extra mile by reviewing each review before it is posted to your profile. This way spammy, or harassing comments can be intercepted before they are posted. However, simply negative testimonials will likely make it through to your profile and can’t be removed. In this case, a calculated and intentional reply is your best bet to save face. If the review seriously affects your overall rating, realtor.com gives you the option to remove your overall rating from your profile.
If your real estate business has been hit with a less-than-ideal review, there are a ton of great ways to rectify the issue. The following tips will show you how to handle negative real estate reviews like a pro and come out gaining, instead of losing potential clients.
How to Manage Negative Real Estate Reviews
1. Verify the Review
Some people just enjoy leaving negative reviews to cause a stir for business owners. If the review isn’t from a client, it may violate community guidelines – in which case, there are steps you can take to get it removed. In case you must respond, gently indicate in your comment that they’re not yet a client so that other viewers don’t get the wrong impression.
2. Acknowledge the Issue
The first step in replying to a negative review is to acknowledge the client’s issue and frustration. Before trying to repair the issue, clients want to know that you fully understand what the problem is so that they can be sure you will take the appropriate actions to solve it.
3. Don’t Respond While Upset
You work hard to give your clients the experience they’re looking for, so a public testimonial of your failures can feel personally offensive. Never respond to a negative review while in a frustrated and emotional place. Take the time to get in a professional state and try to see if from the client’s perspective before you draft your response.
4. Respond Quickly
Bad news travels fast, so it’s best to respond quickly before other potential clients get wind of the negative testimonial. Responding quickly shows all of your clients that quality service is your top priority. After all, if someone is angry enough to take the time to write a verified negative review, they deserve your attention quickly.
An exception to this rule is if the negative review accuses you or your brokerage of something serious. In that case, you may want to seek legal advice before jumping online to respond.
5. Don’t Get Defensive
If the situation was a total miscommunication, it may be difficult to come off as apologetic and empathetic in your response. Stay focused on the overall goal: to resume peace and leave all parties satisfied and happy. Again, stepping in your clients’ shoes can pay dividends.
6. Establish a Process for Regularly Checking your Review Pages
You can’t respond to negative feedback if you don’t know where to find it. Create a process for yourself or your team to regularly check and respond to reviews on all of your review platforms. Occasionally, you may want to Google search your name to see if there are reviews about you on forums you weren’t aware of.
7. Take Serious Discussions Off-line
If a bad review needs to be addressed by further discussion or other actions, address it politely on the review platform and then try to contact the reviewer directly. If you are not able to find the reviewer’s contact information, leave your contact info at the bottom of your response and suggest they reach out to you for details on how the issue can be resolved.
8. Get Ahead of Negative Reviews
Real estate clients often leave negative reviews as a last resort if they haven’t been able to get through to you in any other way. Make sure your contact info is up to date on all of your platforms and address direct complaints from home buyers and sellers quickly, so you can avoid seeing them pop up online later.
9. Emphasize Positive Testimonials
As part of your real estate marketing strategy, you should get in the habit of regularly sharing your positive real estate reviews. When your viewers are accustomed to seeing positive testimonials on your website, social media platforms, and other forums, they won’t have as much of a detrimental impact.
If you don’t have enough reviews at the moment, remember to ask clients to leave a review after you’ve worked with them. A great idea is to include a review prompt or CTA in your thank you letters and email signatures. If you haven’t sold many homes yet, ask people you know to write you positive character reviews to build up your reputation.
For more ideas on how to get killer testimonials, check out this article: Need More Real Estate Testimonials? Here’s How You Get Them
10. Always Be Thankful and Appreciative
Be thankful that someone took the time to give you criticism. If it’s constructive criticism, take it into consideration and think about how you can improve on that imperfection. Make sure to express your thankfulness in your response and mention that steps are being taken to address that specific concern.
11. Add Some SEO benefits
Did you know that even testimonials and replies can have SEO benefits? Mentioning your business name and services offered can help improve your overall ranking in search engines. Work relevant keywords into your positive and negative review responses if you can do so naturally and logically.
If you know how to appropriately respond to bad reviews, there’s no reason that they have to seriously affect your business. The correct way to respond to a negative real estate review varies depending on the specifics of the situation, however professionalism and taking action are almost always beneficial.
Remember to always ask clients for a review after working with them and take note of your passwords for each review site!
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