#308 Mail-Right Show: How Do You Deal With Bad Social Media Reviews?

How Do You Deal With Bad Social Media Reviews?

This is a difficult question for a lot of real estate agents and a lot of them handle bad online reviews really badly! I know most agents who are taking their career seriously try and please their clients and when they get bad online reviews it is really like an arrow to the heart. It’s so easy just to reply to this unfair online review quickly and semi emotionally we all been there?

However, “STOP” and think the whole world is going to be able to see how you handle a complaint, also the idea that you don’t have to respond to a bad review is a terrible idea and really show possible new clients that you really don’t care about your online reputation.

In this show, both Robert and I discuss what are the best strategies to handle bad online reviews, and hopefully, you will find this discussion helpful and insightful?

Robert Newman: Welcome back to the Mail-Right Show ladies and gentlemen, we’re on episode number 308. John and I have both had really hard weeks when it goes comes to, customers and some things going on. So, you know what we decided to talk about this show. We also had a guest, an amazing guest lined up and we had the saddest news ever in the sense that this guest, is dealing with some, health-related, elements with his family. And I don’t wanna mention the name of the guest or what his personal situation is, out of respect, but I will simply say that, we here at the Mail-Right Show. Our heart goes out to you. We’re, wishing the best for you, and we’re hoping that you recover quickly. 

So then the thing that, John and I started to lament about is when things go horribly wrong inside your business. And we both kind of had a few of those situations come up for ourselves. Well, guess what? That gives us a great opportunity to talk about reputation management. This is something that every single professional, whether you’re real estate or your digital entrepreneurs, like John and I, is something that we all have to talk about these days because what goes online, stays online. It stays online forever. It’s hard to get it removed. It’s hard to do all these different things. So, I suggested to John that we talk about reputation management. He said, okay, so he’s so beat up today. I don’t think he cares.

Jonathan Denwood: I’ve got so much abuse over the last four days, Robert, I don’t care anymore.

Robert Newman: Right? So, what I’m gonna do is talk a little bit to John and everybody else about the things that you can do to help preserve your reputation. The things that you can do long before something goes wrong. And the things that you can do after something goes wrong.

Jonathan Denwood: I think the first thing we’ve gotta point out. It doesn’t matter how expert you are, how customer-focused you are, how committed you are. Things still will go wrong. Won’t they, Robert?

Robert Newman: They absolutely will. They absolutely will. And oftentimes, and for those of you in real estate, you’ll understand this. Oftentimes it’s something that doesn’t necessarily have to do with you. You send a home inspector out, he arrives with mud on his boots and tracks it into your client’s home. And the list goes on, John and I have similar experiences, just the things we talk about our project managers and developers, but it doesn’t make a difference. The moment that you’re a service provider that relies upon other service providers, and I’m using that umbrella term very broadly, to service your clients is the second that each one of these people brings an element to the relationship of something that can go wrong. And you know, the funny thing is about reputation management, John and everybody that’s listening. And thank you for listening is that when everything’s going, right, you never hear about it. You don’t really hear about it. Okay. There’s just, silence. How was your project? Great How was the home inspection? It was fine.

 The only time you hear about it is when something goes wrong, your, your inspector was an hour late, Bob. Okay. Everybody loves to call me Bob when they’re angry at me. All right So, Bob, your inspector was an hour late. So we get thrown under the bus because of things that are quite literally outside of our control. But since we are claiming to be experts in our field the expectation is, is that we’ve vetted the people that we provide service with. Here’s the problem everybody is human and balls can get dropped, right John? Like everybody’s human balls can get dropped. Things, go to s**t. And when they do, if it’s your name on the door, you have to take responsibility for that.

It doesn’t really matter whether or not you dropped the ball or somebody else, because your client doesn’t care. They don’t give a s**t. Sorry. And for you in real estate, it’s the same thing. If your real estate assistant goes to an appointment, smelling of weed and unable to focus, guess what you, who is the employer of that person gets held responsible for the condition that that person showed up in to show a property. Even though you didn’t know you weren’t there, you probably, you, certainly don’t condone the behavior, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t personally get thrown under the bus because you’re expected to know. So what I’m gonna talk about today with a little help from John is what we can do for the inevitable derailing of some of our relationships. What can we do?

Jonathan Denwood: I think the other thing we really gotta concentrate. It doesn’t apply to my circumstance at the present moment. But’s really very relevant to real estate agents is what, and I’ll be fascinated to hear your advice here Robert is how to respond to angry, fed-up pissed-off clients that post on social media on Zillow. What’s your advice to your clients about, because I know what I would say to people about, how they should respond to negativity on social media and other web portals I’m fascinated to get your insight in it as well Robert.

Robert Newman: Okay. First and foremost, you have to have somebody that has, a non-biased view respond to, or you have to achieve a non-biased view when you look at the client’s concerns and complaints. some clients get emotional and they come from an emotional place and it, if they come from an emotional place and they’re being negatively emotional, and they’re using triggering words, such as these guys were such bulls**t, things like that. If they’re basically not professional, I would call out first the unprofessional tone of their review as the person responding. If there’s a core element of factual relevant information where we really drop the ball, my, tendency online, offline, it doesn’t really matter. I just acknowledge completely in 100% the validity, not only of their feelings but of the complaint itself. If, for instance they said, you delivered this project eight weeks late, you told me it was gonna be here then. I say you’re absolutely right I did.

Because if I did, I did and so I acknowledge the mistake right upfront don’t try to immediately diffuse the mistake. It depends very greatly on what the remaining elements of the situation are. If part of that eight-week delay was the fact that they got sick or they stopped communicating. I will then say, you’re absolutely right. I said the project would be due on X date. It was not. We delivered it on X date. Part of the reasons for that. And then I’ll factually break down what I feel the reasons are. now That’s assuming that we just haven’t s**t the bed, but we do every now and again, we just s**t the bed. We don’t get results that we said we are gonna get or, or something goes, every element of a project goes wrong. And there is nothing that tracks back to the client that says that it should have gone wrong because they didn’t submit poor information. They weren’t untimely. They did everything right as a client, everything that we asked them to do.

Jonathan Denwood: My, only question about that Robert is how you said if there’s some element of responsibility for the client on the client-side, and this applies to our audience, real estate agents, and that just as well, do you find that you, even if you do it in a very calm, you’re pointing out, don’t you find that that can inflame the client even more, even though it’s truthful?

Robert Newman: It really just depends like yes, sometimes being straightforward is not the solution that they need. It’s never really slowed me down in terms of, but I mean the first thing, I think if you’re talking, because you’re talking about two different things, you’re talking about the written word. And you’re talking about talking to a client. The first thing that I’ve learned about talking to clients that are upset, which there is sometimes there is no solution. Some people get upset, they have anger problems and they’re not gonna calm down. When that’s the case I say let’s take space and reconvene in a week or two. Okay. If for some reason, no, I think that, there’s simply a lot of wind in their sails. I will listen. I, at this point, especially if I’ve given them reason, the way that I, my mind thinks about it is all right. I f***ed up, you’ve earned my ear for many hours as you need.

Jonathan Denwood: I’d like to add listeners and viewers. I’ve not earned the ear of Robert for a long time. 

Robert Newman: And I will you had to say that really upfront like I’m really close to the microphone. All right. I will say that. 

All right. So I will listen. I will listen until nothing is left to say. And then if it seems like there is no point continuing the conversation, I’ll simply say let’s take some space and have that conversation in a few days because here’s what never, ever, ever, ever does you or anybody else any good. If you feel yourself getting angry, stop talking, stop talking, arrange another call. If you feel yourself, getting defensive, stop calling and take another call. I think one of those things that entrepreneurs and business owners and sales managers and leaders of all stripes have the hardest time doing it when everybody, somebody messes up or somebody feels like you messed up and you get held accountable. Oftentimes everybody comes from a defensive place. And if you start to come from a defensive place, you need to stop the conversation and you need to have it at another time.

 In terms of written the written word because we’re talking about reputation management, that’s customer service, two different things. The written word reputation management is all about acknowledging that you have a problem. So somebody takes your argument, their dissatisfaction with your public, okay? They say you messed up. And these are all the reasons why you violated your contract, your salesperson, just literally sold me a bill of goods, whatever it is, right? You acknowledge the problem. You say you’re absolutely right, this, this, and this happened. And I’m terribly sorry. I always come out for that first. Then you go, I understand that you’re upset beyond recovery. These are the things that I’m doing to make sure this doesn’t happen again. All right. You must respond no matter how angry, how upset, how unprofessional somebody may post, you must respond in writing. 

If there’s one key element that I see people really miss in terms of online reputation management is they let bad reviews pile up unresponded to, by any agent of their company, which blatantly tells your customers who are researching you, that you are out to lunch, that you don’t care that the complaint is valid, or you have no idea what’s going on with your reputation. And none of those things is very good. If you are a person that, understands where your reviews are being left and you chase them down and say, you’re absolutely right. And these are the things I’m doing that tell a savvy consumer that you care about your reputation. And that very element refutes what somebody might be saying to you like, oh, these guys didn’t care. They treated me like s**t. And yet here you are online taking the heat, responding to their review. There is enough there that people are gonna be like, yeah, I don’t know if that’s true because here this company is actually responding. So if you said, like, for instance, these guys don’t care, they don’t care. Give as**t about their customers.

Jonathan Denwood: Wait, also, I totally agree with you, but before we go for our breaks and that it also, you’ve also got a listen to what robs just said about the way you reply, because I’ve seen people reply and they’ve done it in such a horrible way, Robert, that they would be best not to reply if you know what I mean.

Robert Newman: Correct. I do know what you mean. And I definitely, agree with that. You probably don’t necessarily want to, reply to each and every single well, never mind.  I lost my train of thought. What’d you say?

Jonathan Denwood: Well, it’s the way they’ve replied in a very like, like they’ve kind of, well, you were you like, well you said we could sell just example. You said we could sell the house for this price and we’ve had two reductions and you’re not being, I can never get hold of you. And they’ve just replied. Well, you are also a useless client, you know, you never gave it. And it’s a kind of back and forth. And I don’t think then, you are the one that’s gonna suffer as supposedly the professional. If you get into that kind of social media back and forth,

Robert Newman: I agree. You should never get into, a debate with your client that says that they were bad clients. It doesn’t really, really matter what they’re saying about you. The way that I would say that somebody is a bad client, like the way that I would illustrate that is I would go, these are the deliverables that you said that you would deliver. Here’s a message on such and such date. The only way to manage your reputation is to take the time and energy to show that that you care. And one of those ways that, so let’s just say that you have a client that did s**t the bed, that they weren’t a good client. They really didn’t. And then they decide to hold you accountable anyway, and they take your dispute online because maybe they’re trying to blackmail you. Let’s, turn this conversation, not neutral, but ugly. Now you’ve got a client that you knew was jerking you around on offers that never seemed to be serious about buying the home that you drove to 16, different houses kept calling you at all hours of the night, then left you a bad review online. Right? Let’s just say that. That is the circumstance. How to do-

Jonathan Denwood: A lot of agents face that don’t they?

Robert Newman:  Yeah. So how do you deal with that? So there’s a few different things that you should do. 

Jonathan Denwood: Well, I think we need, oh, you to answer that. And then- Yeah. After the break, Robert.

Robert Newman: All right, so we’re gonna be right back. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, real estate agents of all, ages and experience levels. We really appreciate you tuning in to the Mail-Right Digital marketing podcast. I’ve added that last bit. That’s not what John decided to call it, but I’m gonna say it’s a digital marketing podcast. We’re really looking forward to sharing the rest of the information with you. We’ll see you right after the break or you’ll hear us right after the break.

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Robert Newman: Welcome back. It’s episode number 308. John and I are talking about reputation management. Before we went to the break we were talking about, I was about ready to give some solutions about protecting your reputation. I was also giving an example of a really, really bad. 

Jonathan Denwood: I think your, what we were talking about not entirely was how you deal with that semi-crazy client that is out to get you?

Robert Newman: The one Well, I’m gonna back it up three steps, because the way that you deal with them is to be prepared for the fact that you’re gonna come across somebody like that eventually, no matter what. You and me, everybody doesn’t matter. You will get somebody that is outrageously egregiously horrible. Okay? That’s it. Everybody who’s listening to the show understands that most of you are sitting here nodding in your cars and on your, you know, on your little headsets and everything. I know you are. I can see you. Okay. Right, John nearly puked his water up right now. For those of you who can’t see it, you will on YouTube. There’s your special bonus content right now. Watch John puke up his water. All right. 

So what do you do? So, first and foremost, when you’re on your reputation management platforms, you need to make sure that you plan for this in advance. So that’s the first step collect reviews from everybody, your aunt, your uncle, your brother, your mother, your sister, and put them in the places that people are looking for real estate. That is Yelp. That is Google my business. And that is Zillow. Those are the places that people. Check your reputation as a real estate agent. My favorite of those is Google my business. You need to have 30 to 100, five-star reviews. Does everybody hear me? But you can get them from anybody that can attest to your character. You can get them from the people that paint your house. You can get them from your, your Gardner. You can get them, from me and John. You can get them, anybody, that knows you. Okay, knows you a little bit. I would be willing to have a conversation with you for an hour. And if I think you’re a stellar human, I will leave you a review that says, Hey, I talked to you for an hour. You seem like a stellar human.

Jonathan Denwood: Would you give me five stars, Robert? 

Robert Newman: I dunno about that. No, I’m just kidding. Yeah, I think I have reviewed you somewhere and I gave-

Jonathan Denwood: You got 5 stars on my website I never, asked you.

Robert Newman:  There you go. There you go.

Jonathan Denwood: I would’ve, I would’ve taken it down if you hadn’t been happy with it.

Robert Newman: so here’s the thing we’ve so, so that’s number one because when somebody does go out to lunch and leaves you this horrible review, you don’t end up. If those of you listening, don’t have a lot of reviews anywhere. And this egregious, really sad person decides to leave you one of these horrible reviews. Guess what? All of a sudden, you’ve got three stars on every review platform, because here’s the other thing about egregious people who are really angry humans, they’ll search out every single review platform. They’ll go to Yelp, Zillow, and Google and leave bad reviews in every single one. Some of you have already experienced this. 

So the way that you get out in front of this is making sure that you have 3 to 100 reviews on each one of those platforms. And guess what? One bad review or even two or even three does not move the needle. Now, the rest of what you do is, is as follows. You highlight point by point. When you get these really angry, sad people that, these are the things that you have done to address the problem. And if it’s them, if you drove around six, 10 times in your car, if you woke up in the middle of the night to take their calls, if you got up early and worked late and, and never made a, a commission, and yet they still reviewed you poorly, you say all that.

 I took 32 calls from you from such and such a date to such and such a date. I drove you around 15 times in my car. We spent 20 hours together. I’ve made no money off this relationship. I understand that you’re not happy with our interactions, or if I started to check out a little bit at the end of the business relationship, because of all the things I just mentioned, you’re right. Maybe I should have acted with a higher degree of professionalism, but to be honest, I lost patience. All right if you feel like you have really been abused by a customer, and most of us have been at some point. You need to take the time to spell out to anybody reading anything online, what that looked like and let them make their own evaluation of what a good or bad business relationship looks like. 

In my case, John’s case, most of the cases of the people I spend time with, we’re making legitimate efforts to try to make somebody happy. We’re making legitimate offers to try to satisfy dissatisfied clients. We may have missed the mark with this client or clients. It happens. You say what you did so that everybody can see it. If the client wants to like, really be crazy and say that like a factual thing is not factual. You can always, create a video with all the documentation on it and create a link to it. I personally would. There is nothing, in my opinion, that is going too far to try to preserve your reputation. You only have one online, especially as a real estate agent, you’re not gonna get another one it’s probably connected to your name. There is no bridge too far, in my opinion, for a real estate agent to go to protect their, their reputation that I include. Like, this is all the documentation. These are all the emails. These are screenshots of the text. And just put ’em into a video without like blur out the names, go through all that effort, create the edited video. Especially if you think you’re being wronged by the like client, the court of public opinion is the only one that you need to care about. Because if somebody does leave you something is written or something on YouTube or something that is terrible you’re boned, and you must come back at them hard. You must. 

Jonathan Denwood: Now,  I’ve noticed also and I want your advice before we wrap up the show. Because I think what you’ve just given is fantastic advice, Robert. Is that I’ve noticed with a lot of agents that I’ve interacted with, but they haven’t adopted your advice about getting that volume and reviews, which always helps. I’m talking about the average agent that I’ve been involved with. They’ve got about between 5and 10. And when we look at their Zillow, we look at the Google business, you know, whatever the platform is, they always zero in on that one really negative. And you can see that their body language change as they reread that bad comment.  It’s not that I don’t care. Robert. I just have learned that if you are online and or your business can be, you’ve gotta treat it a little bit like water on a that, that back, you’ve gotta respond in the ways that you have so well explained, but on the. You idiot, you, you have to watch why I’m laughing listeners and viewers he’s a bit of a comedian Robert right.

But on the other hand, you’ve gotta learn. I dunno, what it is about bad reviews. I, these are, I’ve noticed these are not new agents. These are agents with 10, 15, 20 years of experience. And they still, when they see that bad review and in my opinion that they seem to know what they’re on about, and they seem to be effective real estate agents, and they have the right professional attitude, but they only have to read that one bad. They zero in on it as well. And there’s all this emotional reaction to it. Does this make any sense, Robert? 

Robert Newman: Well, I think what you’re saying is that you’ve noticed that real estate agents seem to get very personally connected. And despite what I’m saying about you having to address some, I would say a certain amount of professional detachment is required when dealing with your reputation. I guess what I’m trying to say, and John are trying to say is both are on two sides of the same coin, a client, a customer can be illogical and deceptive to you as an agent. The way that I perceive John’s comments. It’s not that you could be deceptive because all of our, our listeners of course are not deceptive. We’re gonna say though that you can be illogical, emotional, and irrational because everybody can including John and I, maybe John and I at the top of the list, I won’t talk about you. I’ll just say that John and I, can be irrational and emotional about something.

And that’s not really when you wanna deal with this stuff, but you do, you need to have a certain amount of detachment. Now, all these conversations about digital reputation, I don’t like to me, insurance is one of those products that is so useful to have because I don’t worry about things when I have insurance. Doesn’t matter if people leave me bad reviews, I’ve got so many, five-star reviews in so many places I legitimately don’t care anymore. It’s somebody can say pretty much whatever they want. I would respond in the same kind of detailed method that I just outlined to all of you here on the show. For real, should I ever get a bad review, but understanding what the depths of the problems are with bad reviews, I go, I move heaven and earth to avoid them as should you as a real estate agent.

But we are talking about the inevitable circumstance where you’ve already moved heaven and earth to avoid the bad review and yet you still get it. So what do you do then? That’s what we’re talking about. And if you happen to get irrational, it’s understandable, but don’t respond in that tone and keep coming back into it until you realize that just like sales, it’s a numbers game. If all of us do a thousand transactions throughout the course of our career, we’re gonna have, you know, 30 of them be atrocious and we’re also gonna have 30 of them be some of the best experiences of our life and people that go from customers to friends and we see them and have dinner and coffee and all those things. It goes both ways. It cuts both ways. And then the other 940 are gonna fall right in the middle. They’re gonna be average. And that’s the nature of being in business. You have good, bad, and the extreme on both those sides is very rare. And then you have what’s in the middle. And so

Jonathan Denwood:
I think just to wrap it up, I think the main thing that I’m sure, hopefully, the majority of agents that listen to our show would join us in this. I know you take your business seriously and hopefully you, I would hope so. I’m not gonna ask you to, agree with me on this, but hopefully, you realize I take my business seriously and I’m sure the hope the people that are listening, take their business seriously. And we honestly want happy customers. You, me, and the people, the majority of the people that listen to this show, but things go wrong. Don’t they, Robert?

Robert Newman: They do prepare in advance very similar to an earthquake drill reputation management is about preparing in advance. If you haven’t done it and it’s too late and your reputation is already getting impacted, do not sweat it. Don’t freak out. Instead, start to apply the solution, go out, start collecting good reviews, address the bad ones, and move on with your day. It’s the most you can do. It’s all that’s within your control. So take control of what you can take control of and let the rest go by the wayside. Listen, thank you so much for tuning in to John and me for episode number 308 of the mail right podcast. This has been a discussion, all about reputation management, the good, the bad, and the ugly forgive, both and John and I, we’re a little bit punched drunk. We’ve both had a hell of a week. And, John, if, somebody would like to talk to, a little bit of a punch drunk you, how would they go about doing that?

Jonathan Denwood: Just go to the Mail-Right.com website, the revamped one, we’ve got a fabulous review for Robert’s audit. And we’ll build you a WordPress website that you’re not leasing that your own plus we’ve got a host of other digital products, services, and products that will help you become a wizard online. And what’s the best way for people to get hold of you Robert?

Robert Newman: You can go to my website, look at either the about section or the services section. They can get in touch with me there. There’s also a contact form, literally a huge button that says, get in touch. You can use that any of these things will, get you in touch with me. I’m kind of in the process of reorganizing my site. It’s very non-conversion-oriented right now. So everybody should just be aware of that. All right. So, stay tuned for the next episode. So it’ll be 309. We’ve got some huge surprises for you. 

Jonathan Denwood: Oh yeah. Yeah. Robert’s gonna be doing it on his own folks. Cause I am going to a business conference. So we got a great guest for next week and you just have the pleasure of Robert’s voice with the guest.

Robert Newman: Oh dear God. Forgive me in advance, everybody. All right. Thanks a lot. We’ll see you on the next show take us away, sir.

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