During a recent car rental experience I encountered an eager to please sales representative. While I prefer to handle this transaction without human interaction, in this instance I was required to talk to an agent. I find this annoying because I grow weary of the feigned interest in my financial well being ("You don't want ANY insurance??? I just want to make sure you're protected in the case of an accident."), the manipulative attempts to up sell ("For only $15/day more we can put you in a much safer vehicle.") and the unnecessarily lengthy time this transaction takes when I've already reserved the vehicle and provided all my personal and financial information. What are they typing while I stand there?
On this occasion, the agent was very friendly and much less annoying than usual. In fact, she upgraded me for no apparent reason, other than it was a Monday. Until it all became clear. As she handed me my keys she also dangled a receipt with a phone number and her employee number. "I only need one more positive review to be entered for a chance to win a vacation. Will you call this number and tell them how helpful I was?" And here I thought she was genuinely gracious.
She had tried to buy my positive review with an upgrade. Ironically, up until that point, I was pleased with my experience. But after that explanation I felt like I'd been party to a bribe and was in need of a shower.
In the Apartment Industry we can fall prey to this temptation in the arena of online reviews. It can be tempting to stack the deck a bit after reading a disgruntled resident's irrational rant. But do we have to resort to bribery? Are there less manipulative paths to getting residents to respond positively? Are there ways to maximize even the negative reviews? We'd love to hear your thoughts!
In our next blog: Practicing gratitude for every review. Yep--even the negative ones.
What strategies have you tried to motivate residents toward positive reviews? Are there incentive strategies that have worked well for you?
photo courtesy of flickr