Q: “Denise, help! It has been brought to my attention that I have a negative review online. It is on Yelp and since I only have one other review on Yelp, it stands out when someone searches for me. What is worse is this review isn’t even from someone I wound up working with. This was a buyer couple, I met with them, they had major credit issues so I referred them to a lender to help them clean up their credit. I have a rule in my business that I will show buyers neighborhoods before they are preapproved but I don’t show them houses, especially in this market. Apparently they were upset by my rule. What do I do?”
A: You aren’t the first agent to get a negative review and you definitely won’t be the last. People leave negative reviews for all sorts of valid reasons and sometimes for not-so-valid reasons.
What you need is a rule that you apply to all reviews you get online and that rule is to respond to each and every review. Why? First, when you respond to the positive reviews, it lets future readers know that you care. Think about how you respond when you see that a manager of a restaurant has responded to a review – a positive one or a negative one. Don’t you feel that the business must care a little more than everyone else when you see they have taken the time to respond? When you respond to the positive reviews it also sets the stage for a response to the negative reviews. And your response to the negative reviews should be a short, factual response that allows you to share your side of the story. Now, I wouldn’t air this buyers’ dirty laundry regarding their credit online but you can say something like, “Doug and Cathy, I am sorry that my process for homebuying didn’t match your expectations, but I definitely want the best for you and to have this process be as smooth as possible. I look forward to working with you when you are prepared to buy.” That way you are indicating that your process isn’t just for you, it is because you care about their outcome and you are leaving the door open for them to come back.
But I also encourage you to take this opportunity to get a few more positive reviews on Yelp so that negative one is squelched a bit. Send out some emails to your clients who have sold in the last year and see if you can’t get a few more online reviews.
Finally, you should have a rule as part of your process that you ask each of your clients to review your services.