Reviews play a vital role in your self storage digital marketing strategy – from positive, user-generated content that can be shared on your social feeds and website to showing potential customers how you handle criticism and what you do to resolve issues at your facility. Actively managing relationships with your customers allows you to understand the buyer’s journey and further improve your online presence and search ranking.

The Importance of Reputation Management

Your reputation is your brand. This critical piece of your business needs to have a strong focus with an active strategy in place for responding to positive and negative reviews alike. Research shows that 83 percent of buyers no longer trust traditional advertising, while 78 percent trust recommendations from their online peers. Online reviews strongly influence a prospect’s decision to rent a storage unit and play an important role in their buyer’s journey.

Personalizing Your Response

The first guideline in managing your online reputation – respond to every review, both positive and negative. By responding to negative reviews, it shows to the wider digital audience that you pay attention to criticism, own up to your mistakes, and take the time to engage with your customers. Your response also influences what the reviewer does next. Negative reviews that have been responded to often result in the reviewer following up with a positive review about the resolution – 34 percent of those reviewers will delete their negative review altogether.

When responding to reviews, be sure to personalize your response and avoid using boilerplate text. The key to responding to reviews is to keep it personal and show users that you’re human. Own up to your mistakes, but don’t go overboard. Learning how to respond to reviews, without getting too transparent or apologetic, will make the process more efficient and increase your brand strength. Work with your team to create a tone and style that fits your overall brand, image, and location.

Best Practices for Responding to Negative Reviews

According to the Local Consumer Review Survey from Bright Local, 89 percent of consumers read businesses’ responses to online reviews. It’s essential to have a strategy in place for responding to negative reviews as it directly influences whether or not a prospect chooses to rent a self storage unit from your facility.

Acknowledge and Apologize – Each reviewer has their own personal experience and you may or may not agree with the facts of the situation. Most often, an apology and acknowledgment of their experience, even if you don’t think you did anything wrong, is appropriate. You can’t argue about how they feel, but a little sympathy can go a long way when it comes to defusing the situation. It’s possible to apologize without supporting their criticism of your facility.

Be Specific – Speak briefly to the reviewer’s primary concern. By paying attention to the details of their review, you show them, as well as prospects, that you hear them and care about the outcome of their unique situation. It’s possible to contrast the reviewer’s bad experience with what customers usually experience when they rent storage units from your facility. Reviewers and prospects expect you to take the time to read their concerns and don’t appreciate generic, copy-pasted responses.

Take the Conversation Offline – Arguing back and forth with an unhappy customer draws negative attention and is distasteful. Instead, invite the reviewer to engage with you offline and provide them with contact information if it starts to get out of hand. Be sure to say only what is necessary, making it short and sweet. Being quick and polite shows your customers your willingness to take responsibility and work towards a better experience for all.

Be Authentic – Your customers and prospects don’t want to read a canned response that simply encourages them to contact the leasing office. Today’s buyer’s seek authenticity and truth at each touchpoint throughout the buyer’s journey – including how you respond to reviews. Show prospects what you do to rectify issues that arise at your facility. This tells the public how you value and respect your customers, which can go a long way in managing and maintaining your reputation. Consumers know what’s real and what’s not. Your authenticity speaks volumes about your brand.

Develop a Reputation Management Strategy

Managing your online reputation and responding to reviews for all of your facilities can feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. G5 offers scalable solutions so you can actively manage your reputation and know what’s being said about your brand online. Take charge of your brand’s reputation by closely monitoring reviews and showing your willingness to take responsibility for your facilities through proactive engagement and follow-through.

Request a demo of G5 Reputation and Social Management and learn how you can stay informed about conversations that happen about your brand across social and review channels.