Few will argue that reviews are important to a company. Many consumers base their decision on what others say. With so much competition in self-storage, it is important to minimize the negative mindset people will have about your company.
Before I show up to talk to any self-storage owner or manager, the first thing I do is read their reviews to see what people are saying about them and how the company responded. This immediately tells me if they are being proactive and see reviews for their importance. All too often, they don't. Some places do not even fill out the basic information! I know for a fact that the facility is not that busy!
Most places will have an average appearance on review sites such as Yelp or Google. It will appear that they updated their page to cover the basic information and images at one point or another. The problem is that it is not updated regularly.
If the facility has undergone any type of renovation, added features, or has undergone a change in management, why not update that on those pages as well? Add pictures! There are so many free things that storage facilities are not capitalizing on. If you have an auction coming up, why not post it on the review page? While it may not draw a bunch of views, it is free marketing!
Another thing that bothers me is the interaction once a review is made. Sometimes no one responds at all. Whether it is good or bad, respond! It literally will take three minutes to leave a personal response. How many times have you looked at a company's reviews only to see the same response left for everyone. Our customers are worth more than a copy and paste.
Reviews should also be checked by all managers and owners. Everyone should know what the majority of people are saying about your company. Everyone needs to be in the mindset that they own the position.
One example that comes to mind is when I spoke to owners at a location in Fresno, CA about their reviews. The first red flag is that the owners had no idea what people were saying. A two minute check would of made it clear that customer service was poor. There were so many one and two star reviews saying the same thing. With those negative reviews, came no response. The only positive review was actually from their current manager using his real name talking about how those complaining just were negative people (pretending to be a tenant). That is great community relations, right?
If you are an owner of a storage facility, it would only be wise to see how managers are representing your name. Managers, be wise and know how people see your facility and how you are handling situations. Use it as a way to improve as a manager. See what you can do to make it better.
One good thing to do on a negative review is to leave a response with an alternate email address that is separate from the one that they know. Think about it. If you were upset, attempted to resolve an issue, felt ignored would you e-mail the same manager? No. Instead, you would want to talk to someone different. Make an email address with the word feedback in it. Make sure that someone else, like an owner, has access so you are not tricking the tenant. The point of any review is to improve your service and let others know that you care about them.
Do not limit your review page to just Google and Yelp. Conduct a search on social media sites to see what people are saying about your company. People will share their experience on public posts all the time. While it is not encouraged to respond to them if it is on a personal profile, it is a good learning experience to grow from.
One last thing that is extremely important when responding to reviews is educating the tenant on the reason why a certain decision was made. If it is a legal issue, tell them why you couldn't help them as much as they wish. If it is about rental increases, tell then about inflation and how it is a normal practice in storage. Be careful not to come off forceful but rather as you are being transparent about the industry.