Negative Review? No Problem!
It’s a moment every VR manager dreads. You open up your Facebook page, or other social media page, and there it is. A 1-star negative review from a very disgruntled guest.
So now what do you do?
First, I’m going to suggest how to address a negative after it’s posted.
More importantly, then we’ll discuss how to stop it from happening to begin with.
How to Respond to a Negative Review
● Please Don’t ignore it! The worst thing you can do is pretend it’s not there. Why? Because it is. Sounds silly, right? But you know what’s sillier? Thinking that that one bad review doesn’t matter. It does.
● Offer a Personalized Apologize and Reparation. Whatever you do, don’t offer a tired cookie-cutter apology. “We’re sorry you didn’t find the cleanliness of the unit acceptable. We’ve reported this to the housekeeping department. We hope to see you again in the future.” No, no, no. While this is not quite as bad as no response at all, it’s close.
Next, why don’t we make sure you don’t get negative reviews to begin with. Because, really, I know you don’t want to be eating any cleaning fees. Ask us at Reservation Specialists about the many creative ways to deflate disgruntled guests and heated situations… we are here to help.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Yeah, we get it. During the in-season, your rental office is a controlled free-for-all every day. But that’s all the more reason to have a GREAT communication system in place.
We’ve all seen it happen. You jot down a guest’s request on a sticky note and then, in the midst of all the chaos, forget all about it.
Implement some sort of communication software that is shared across all departments, with built-in checklists and accountability. Then make its use non-negotiable. Reservation Specialists have super ideas on how to implement this!
If you really want no more negative reviews, throw out all your sticky pads.
Listen With the Intent to Understand
We get that it’s hard to listen to someone complaining, especially if they’re yelling at you.
Typically, guests complain because they haven’t gotten something they deserve or are entitled to. So, don’t try to defend that. You’re just making matters worse.
So, instead maybe try this: Just listen. Not to minimize. Not to make excuses. To hear them. To understand why they’re calling or standing in front of you with their finger-wagging in your face.
Then paraphrase what they just said to you. “Okay. so I hear that the floors are dirty. Is that right?”
Next, offer a solution. Make sure you allow them some control over the situation. “I’ll send housekeeping to make that right for you. When is the best time for them to come?” Not “I’ll get housekeeping right over.” It is always difficult to keep promises like that because “the clean-up” usually involves your cleaning crew who may or may not be available within the half-hour.
Also, this may sound weird, but when you allow them a choice, you’re giving them back some measure of control of the situation. Yeah, it’s a bit of psychobabble, but it may save you from a few negative reviews.
Don’t Deflect Responsibility
Seriously, what could be more frustrating than calling any company and being told, “Sorry, not my problem.”?
Don’t do this to your guests! Even if you can’t solve their problem, you owe them the courtesy of your time and patience.
Some things are out of our control. Construction starting at 7am is out of your control. Bad weather is out of your control.
But even if their complaint is something out of your control, please don’t tell them that it is. Tell them you’ll look into it and get back to them.
Which brings me to the last point:
Do What You Say You Will
This is probably the biggest reason of all that guests leave bad reviews.
When staff members don’t do what they say they’re going to do. They don’t return a phone call. Or they don’t send out the housekeeper or maintenance person.
Seriously, people! Follow up! Return your phone calls. It’s not that hard.
Now, nobody wants to make a phone call to deliver bad news to a guest. We get that. But it’s far worse to leave them in the dark. If they know it’s not the answer they wanted, they can move forward, whatever that might look like. By not returning a call, you’re leaving them in limbo.
So call back. Even if it’s bad news. Even if you can’t help them.
This goes even if you’re still waiting for a phone call from someone else to resolve the issue. Think how far it would go if you let them just let them know that you haven’t forgotten about them and you’re still working on their issue?
Reservation Specialists are happy to make those difficult calls, also, if you are really busy! That is how we can fill in those crazy gaps of a PM’s extremely busy day.
Follow the above tips and see your negative reviews dwindle away to nothing!
Do ask Reservation Specialists about our robust reviews program that will increase reviews on an average of 30%. Always here to help!