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Handling negative social media reviews

It's not the bad review that harms you, it's how you react to it, says media coach Imogen Callister.

A bad review is not necessarily a bad thing, according to media coach Imogen Callister.

In fact, as she explains in the upcoming episode of the Elevate podcast (due on Saturday, November 28), many people will actually seek out negative reviews when looking at products and services – because we are socially conditioned to seek out extremes.

“Don’t be scared of a bad review,” Imogen tells Elite Agent.

“In fact, some reports are coming out now in the media industry that 4.5 is more believable than five stars,” she says.

Although it may be tempting to immediately fire off a pithy rejoinder, it’s not actually the bad review itself that will cause you damage, but the way in which you respond to it.

But this doesn’t mean you should simply ignore any online hate.

“Any agent out there right now, if you’ve got reviews, good and bad, the first thing that you need to do is respond to them,” Imogen explains.

She advises that if that review happens to be negative, it is critical agents drop their ego. Sometimes you are just hit with a troll or someone having a bad day.

So, take a deep breath. Then take it offline, but don’t be demanding.

“This is where agents go wrong,” Imogen notes. “As soon as you ask them to remove the review, you’re actually empowering that person.”

She suggests a script along the following lines when directly dealing with a disgruntled client: “This is really important for me. I do understand that you’re upset and I want to do all that I can to solve the issue. I can see that you’re let down, what is it that I can do to help you get from point A to point B?”

Often, if agents help the client resolve the issue, the unhappy client will remove the negative review without being asked.

If not, then you can take your response online – in fact, agents should be seen to be dealing with criticism in a professional and helpful way.

Imogen suggests online wording like:

“This is really important to us. When we initially brought the property to the market, we were expecting prices between X and Y. No stone was left un-turned during the auction process to achieve that result. And we did provide comprehensive updates throughout this process. If there’s absolutely anything we can do, we’re available anytime. Please contact us on the following numbers…”

Imogen explains this is also an opportunity to call out any fake reviews.

“We’ve searched our entire database. This is so important to us. We cannot find your name associated anywhere in our data. Please, could you contact us immediately on this number as we cannot find you. We really want to make sure that this problem is solved”.

Finally, agents should also assess the issue, because we’re all human and mistakes may have been made. Then, they need to act to ensure the same errors don’t occur in the future.

“Everyone makes mistakes,” Imogen explains. “I’ve never met one person that doesn’t, but the way in which we respond to it and the way in which we implement systems and operations to ensure that customer never gets let down again – well that makes a world-class agent and a great operator.”

Plus, if an agent goes the extra mile to resolve the issue, they can be turned from disgruntled hater into lead generating fan.

“I have had a bad review turned into a good review, and turned into two or three leads.”

Listen to the full episode of Elevate from Saturday November 28, wherever you listen to podcasts.

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