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How Reputation Management Can Save Your Company

August 29, 2016Like us on Facebook

Don Boyden had a big problem.

His company, Boyden Property Holdings, was under attack, and it seemed to be getting worse every day.

The attack seemed relatively tame at first. A few negative reviews for some of his company’s apartment buildings. Boyden didn’t think much of it when it was first brought to his attention, because he had thousands of tenants living in his many properties.

“I thought it was such a small percentage, almost ignorable, so why even worry about it? Most people never complained,” he said.

“I mean, we have so many long-term tenants who have been with us for years…if the problems were so bad our buildings would be empty.”

The Negative Review Spiral of Doom

But soon, Boyden Property Holdings did have a big problem on its hands. Despite addressing some of the concerns voiced by the angry commenters on review sites like Yelp and ApartmentRatings, the company noticed that it was getting to be harder to fill the vacancies that did arise.

Meanwhile, Boyden noticed a decrease in complaints directly from his tenants.

“We have been renovating many of our buildings and improving things like appliances and amenities, so many of the things some of the early reviews had issue with were no longer even remotely accurate,” Boyden said.

But a quick Google search for the company’s buildings pulled up a long list of complaints, with overall ratings weighed down heavily by those early, negative reviews.

“It was astonishing. One person said the building they lived in had a rampant mold problem. But that simply wasn’t true,” Boyden said.

He had no idea that one off-base comment on Yelp could spiral into a situation where would-be residents’ first impression was harshly negative – without even walking into the building.

Boyden decided to employ a reputation management firm to rehabilitate his company’s online presence.

“They couldn’t believe how little of an online presence we had!”

While Boyden was aware of the negative reviews, he didn’t keep up with them on a day-to-day basis and had no idea of just how critical online reputations were in the modern real estate business.

“They were shocked. We had very basic websites. We didn’t respond to complaints online, and generally ignored it all,” he said.

As the Internet has become an increasingly important tool for businesses in recent years, online reputation management companies, like Reputation Management Consultants, have become vital services. That’s because, in many cases, a company’s reputation becomes defined by a relative minority of opinions amplified by the Internet.

Or, in other cases, an individual or business can be tarnished by similarly named people with worse reputations. You’ve probably heard stories of people who lost job opportunities because employers searched for them only to find results for criminals with the same name.

These kinds of concerns increase when companies like Boyden’s don’t manage their online presence well and leave a void for others to fill. It didn’t matter that Boyden had thousands of happy residents living in almost fifty buildings. Just a few dozen negative reviews painted a broadly negative picture for potential tenants, warding them off before the properties even made it to their “to-visit” lists.

The Digital Brand Firewall

Boyden’s online reputation was being defined by fewer than 1% of his tenants, badly skewing the company’s image. The consultants he hired quickly got to work turning that around, using a variety of methods to redefine how online consumers saw Boyden’s many properties.

First, they targeted the hardest-hit apartment buildings and encouraged residents with positive experiences to share and review the properties. They actively monitored the review pages for each of the company’s properties and also provided full customer service support for handling negative reviews, which included direct responses.

 

But it didn’t just stop at the review sites. Reputation management also often extends to social media and other online content, ensuring that clients can be in control of how potential customers perceive their business. This, of course, requires engaging with the range of Internet tools and social outlets now available.

Boyden had better ratings for his apartment buildings on sites like Google Reviews, Yelp, and ApartmentRatings, but he also had more listings on general rental sites as well as regular social media postings for many of his properties. This meant that the first things a potential resident saw when searching for “Boyden Property Holdings” or any of its individual buildings were not negative reviews but informative and positive results.

This was particularly important because it meant Boyden now had a sturdy “digital firewall” that kept it in control of its own brand.

Now, Boyden is seeing increased interest in his properties.

“It’s very hard to get people to actually come and check out the buildings and units if they only see bad stuff online,” he said.

But thanks to help managing his company’s online reputation, many more of those potential residents are intrigued and stopping in for tours. And they, along with a great many existing tenants, are engaging in positive ways with Boyden’s brand all over the Internet.

“It’s like night and day. For a while, I thought we were in big trouble but this changed everything. Definitely one of the best moves I’ve made.”

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Eric Schiffer is the CEO of DigitalMarketing.com, providing his insights to Fortune 500 CEOs, foreign leaders, Forbes 400 billionaires and celebrities. He is the chairman of Reputation Management Consultants.

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In 2015 Reputation Management Consultants was ranked the top online reputation management firm.

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