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Why Reputation Matters


“Customer Service is the new marketing.”
-Jay Baer, author, Hug your Haters

By Joe Greenblatt, President/CEO Sunrise Management
Aug. 28, 2017

SAN DIEGO—In this internet-driven era of rapid-fire reviews, what people say about you online matters. And for this reason it is vital to realize that reputation management -- the practice of attempting to shape public perception by participating in the review process and influencing online information -- is an essential practice in the multifamily industry and fundamental to the success of a community.

According to Chatmeter, an online platform Sunrise Management uses, over 90 percent of prospective residents search resident feedback and other available data online before deciding which communities to consider. Review sites popular with renters seeking a place to live include apartments.com, Yelp, Apartment Guide and ApartmentRatings.com. These sites provide reviews and information that are typically the first impression a prospective resident may have of a community. These sites can also have an enduring impact on resident retention

Unfortunately residents and former residents tend to share negative – and rarely their positive – experiences. In fact, Chatmeter data reveals that only 20 percent of consumers leave a review when they’ve had a positive experience. That’s why responding to online reviews is such a critical component of real estate management and the customer service process.

“Customer service has become a spectator sport.”
-Tom Webster, Edison Research

http://www.chatmeter.com/ It is essential for multifamily operators to carefully monitor social media platforms, listen to renters’ needs and wants, promptly respond to any online comments or reviews – positive and negative – and resolve issues in a timely fashion. Responding offers an opportunity to engage with future and current residents by conveying professionalism and tackling criticism constructively. It can also provide a chance to emphasize your property’s strengths, amenities, services, location, etc.

Which review sites are the most important? We think any and every site current residents and potential renters have access to are critical. Through our Chatmeter dashboard, Sunrise monitors and manages Apartment Guide, ApartmentRatings.com, Apartments.com, Bing, Caring.com, CitySearch, Facebook, FourSquare, Google, Insider Pages, Merchant Circle, Senior Advisor, Superpages, Yahoo, Yellow Pages and Yelp.

Online reputation management is an intensive, time-consuming process. It requires strong investigative and customer service capabilities along with objectivity. Equally important, it requires the ability to communicate in writing thoughtfully and articulately.

Rarely do otherwise capable on-site management team-members possess all of these additional qualities and talents and even if they do, they rarely have the time to take on this additional responsibility. This reality has spawned a new service industry with companies like SOCi, For Rent, RentPath and others stepping into the breach offering a variety of social medial management services. Several of our clients have opted to adopt these services at cost of between $89 and $199 per month. The challenges we’ve experienced with these third-party services revolve around their lack of a personal touch, absence of insight into a community and lack of context to understand and address issues presented by current and former residents. All reviews need to be thoughtfully addressed and issues promptly resolved, ideally by someone who truly knows and understands the property – a generic cookie cutter solution rarely works.

Other management companies are finding as we have, that burdening on-site staff with reputation management responsibilities is difficult at best and can lead to a decline in real service to residents in the face of another administrative responsibility. We’re seeing more and more companies within and without the Multifamily industry hiring reputation management specialists and we are exploring this alternative as well.

The bottom line is that online reputation management is critical to the bottom line – and should be a core part of any operator, owner or investor’s business strategy.

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