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    How to Deal with Bad Reviews

    When the bad reviews start pouring in, you might think there’s no coming back. Rest easy with these expert tips to bounce back and push forward.

    When a bad review of your vacation rental property pops up online, it may feel like death just knocked on your door. Reviews, whether online or word-of-mouth, are the lifeline that keeps your business up and running. So what do you do when a not-so-glowing review circulates? Don’t call it a comeback, but do make sure to get customers to come back.

    More often than not, bad reviews are spread through social media and Yelp, or other common review sites, according to Victoria Jackson of Paveya. “Monitor review sites or use Google Alerts so you can respond quickly,” Jackson advises. “Be proactive with customers when you know there is an issue. For example, if the home will be ready [later than expected], provide guests with a complimentary dinner coupon before they ask or complain.”

    Next time a Google Alert sounds an alarm, check off these five tips before going to town on an email response.

    Respond to all issues in a timely manner. “If you know the cable repairman will not arrive for three days, don’t promise that it will be fixed today,” Jackson says. “Offer what you can in the meantime. If the cable isn’t working, loan some DVDs for entertainment.”

    Set reasonable expectations. Never assume every guest that stays at your property will leave happier than they arrived. In fact, some bad reviews are actually good for business. “[Bad reviews] can show how the company is proactive in solving problems and satisfying customers,” Jackson says.

    Always listen with an understanding ear to hear what the customer really wants. To solve problems and satisfy customers, it is key to know what they’re looking for in order to do this. Jackson recommends to always put yourself in the customers’ shoes and respond like you would want someone to respond to you. Never respond in a defensive way or make excuses.

    Follow up with the guest. Once a problem has arisen, keep the guest informed with status updates on how you’re resolving it and circle back after it has been dealt with to ensure the customer is satisfied with the outcome. By following-up, you’ll have an easier time bouncing back from a bad review as the customer will feel ensured that they won’t run into the same dilemma again.

    Apologize. Agree with them. Act on it. Not responding to a customer complaint is one thing that will always warrant a bad review, according to Jackson. Customer service 101 says the customer is always right; it is no different in vacation rental management.

    Bad reviews are inevitable. You simply cannot please everyone. But with understanding, quick action and satisfactory communication with your customers, you will not only be able to trim away the bad reviews, but begin to prevent any more to come.

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