This strategy is part of a series of automation projects we’ve completed recently in our buy-and-hold real estate business. I’m going to walk you through how we’ve automated the process of asking for testimonials from current tenants.
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Reviews and testimonials are key to any business with an online presence. When buying a widget from a site like Amazon, I’m sure that you feel more confident buying from a seller with a large number of high reviews compared to a seller with a low (or no) rating. You’re probably willing to pay a little more to the established seller.
Nothing groundbreaking, right?
We need positive reviews and testimonials on various sites to convince strangers that they’re in good hands if they do business with us.
What if We Get Negative Reviews?
These can get under my skin. Not so much because of the content, but because they’re typically left by ex-tenants we’ve recently evicted, almost exclusively due to non-payment of rent. You’re not able to change or delete the review, but in most cases you can leave a comment.
The most effective strategy we’ve seen is just drowning out the negative reviews with tons of positive ones.
In order to achieve this, we’ve relied on them coming organically or by manually asking for positive reviews from current tenants a couple times of year. It’s one of those important but rarely urgent tasks that seems to get pushed aside or forgotten. It’s ripe for automation.
How to Get Reviews Automatically
We’ve recently implemented a script that emails current tenants at the six-month mark of their residency. It asks how they would describe their experience with us. There are two links in the email: one positive and one negative.
If they click the positive link, they’re directed to our website where they can leave a review on our BBB, Google, or Facebook pages.
If they click the negative link, they’re taken to a private survey, hosted as a Google form, where they can leave some feedback as to why they’re having a poor experience with us.
(A quick aside: we also automatically email new tenants a survey on the third day of their residency asking about our leasing process and how we can improve.)
To encourage more tenants to leave reviews, you may want to consider giving some kind of incentive. Maybe this is a rent credit of $5 to $10, waiving or discounting late fees for a given month, or entering all entries into a contest for an iPad or an upgrade for their home. Even a well-written email without incentives describing the importance of reviews for your business can be enough. Some sites will discourage the use of monetary incentives in exchange for reviews, so just keep that in mind.
How do you plan to improve your testimonial-gathering process?
Share your thoughts below!