Your Online Reputation: How Self-Storage Operators Can Manage Negative Reviews and Garner Positive Ones

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Encourage Tenants to Write Positive Reviews

There are two keys to getting positive online reviews: deliver outstanding customer service, and train your employees to recognize positive-review opportunities. While an in-depth discussion of customer service is beyond the scope of this article, it’s relatively easy to train staff to recognize opportunities for positive reviews.

First, create a tenant-satisfaction form that includes a line for the customer’s e-mail address, a Facebook-account checkbox, and a place for customers to sign the form, allowing you to use their comments publically. Next, be on the alert for customers who make unsolicited positive comments about your facility or thank employees for something. When that happens, the employee should seize the moment and ask the customer to complete the form on the spot. When a customer is in a positive frame of mind, it’s likely he’ll comply.

If the customer has a Gmail account, it’s a golden opportunity because he can easily post a Google+ Local review. People with a Facebook account can use it to log in to Yahoo Local, Insider Pages, Merchant Circle and possibly other places to write reviews.

The employee simply needs to say something like, “I see you have a Gmail address. Would you mind leaving a review for us at Google Plus? It’s easy. Just use your Gmail account login.” Then—and this is critical—he needs to give the customer written instructions on how to post the review. This varies from site to site and can’t be detailed here, but it’s not too hard to figure out, and you only have to do it once for each review site you want to use.

Although not everyone will write an online review, all you need are three to five positive reviews a month to create a stellar online reputation over time. Once you have at least 10 detailed review forms, you can create your own review website. Set up the right way, that site is likely to show up at the top of the search results when people search for reviews on your facility. When this happens, they may not need to look further and will be ready to rent from you!

The Secret Is in the System

Since the importance of having positive online reviews will only increase over time, it’s critical that you implement a customer-review system immediately. I use the word "system" because most businesses have a hit-and-miss or non-existent review-encouragement program. Those that have a defined system in place will be miles ahead of businesses that don't.

A system that encourages your existing tenants to write positive online reviews will help you attract more people who’ll be inclined to rent from you on their first visit at the prices you want to charge.

Nick Nichols helps self-storage operators attract more long-term tenants, boost tenant satisfaction and increase tenant retention. He’s the author of Protect and Enhance Your Online Reputation: How to Suppress and Replace Negative Items with Positive References to Establish Expertise and Build Your Brand. He’s an expert in helping local businesses develop and deploy a customer-review system and branded review website. Get his free report, “How to Generate Endless Online Referrals,” at SelfStorageAdvantage.com.

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