Agents that seek to resolve customer complaints through social media only risk inflaming the situation, a senior industry marketing executive has said.
Stewart Bunn, national communications manager at First National Real Estate, said if agents are the victim of a ‘cyber attack’, their first move should be to ask the ‘attacker’ to phone them to discuss their grievance.
“With Facebook, thank the aggrieved for bringing their complaint to your attention and ask them to contact your office so the problem may be resolved to their satisfaction,” he told Real Estate Business.
“It is very unwise to delete their negative comment, as this may encourage them to take their commentary into a sphere over which you have absolutely no influence.”
Never try to resolve the issue using social media, he added.
“With Twitter, you can’t delete somebody’s ‘tweets’ once they’re out there and Google indexes Twitter comments with frightening speed. So, you can very quickly find that negative social media commentary ranks more highly than your own agency website’s search ranking.”
Mr Bunn said that once an attack has commenced, you’ll be at their mercy to some degree if you haven’t been “banking credits in your social media bank” for some time in advance.
“If, however, you have been posting blogs, ‘tweeting’ links to them and maintaining a regular social media stream of information, Google will have indexed that positive commentary and the strength of any profile attack will be minimised,” he said.
“Chances are that your assailant’s comments may not even make it onto page one of Google’s search results.”
Earlier this month, US-based property manager and trainer Todd Breen said agents who ignore bad online reviews are putting their business at risk.
“What goes on online behind the scenes can either help us or hurt us in a dramatic way… Your online reputation is crucial, and will become even more important in the coming years,” he warned.
“What is the point of spending time and money on SEO (search engine optimisation) if all you’re doing is pushing bad reviews into the public eye?”