"Try Anti-depressants," and other ways NOT to respond to resident feedback - See it at www.propertymanager.com

 All the cool kids are doing it.

We used to ignore sites like Apartment Ratings and tell our people to try to just forget they were there and not take things personally.  In the last two years though, the shift of the social media model has required a reexamination of our silence, and it's been decided, by pretty much everyone out there, that it's time to respond to online public resident feedback. 

I get emails on a weekly basis asking me questions from how to avoid escalating a situation in a response to how to deal with a clearly crazy resident ranting, my favorite line from that one being, "Can I just tell her to try anti-depressants?"  No.  You may not suggest that your residents try taking a dosage of Prozac or Xanax. 

So let's talk about what you can say:

  • Start with a little empathy.  Maybe your company thinks it's alright to dust off the old Kindergarten standby of, "I'm sorry." Maybe not.  But above all else, display a little empathy.  As I said in the #AptChat on Twitter a few weeks ago, if it makes youangry to read what they wrote, think how angry they were when theyposted it.
  • Realize that if they're complaining, they're pretty angry, and if they thought they had to come online to do it, then you've got a communication breakdown somewhere.  Take responsibility for that.  
  • If the situation has already been addressed, discuss publicly the solution that you worked out.  
  • Even if you think the solution worked out, make sure that you invite the resident to call the office and follow up with you should the same problem happen again.
  • Use the words you would use if you were dining with your Grandmother.  Don't use slang, don't use LOL, BRB, TXT MSG ME, etc.  Don't drop the Fbomb.  Don't say "Sry U were Pissed.  Txt me 2 talk."  This is not appropriate, and the Grammar Patrol will come, get you, put you in a bag, and beat you with large semi-colons. (What, you thought semi-colons had a valid use?  No.  They're for beatings by the Grammar Patrol.)
  • For the love of Tony Danza, take a moment to proof read your post!  If you are responding as management, it doesn't matter how illiterate the original posting is, if you respond in half words or type out the word "loose" when you mean the word "lose" (which can Drastically change the meaning of a few sentences I've seen on ratings sites) not only you, but your entire company looks dumb.  A misplaced apostrophe rankles me something awful!

I've pulled this management response from Apartment ratings and I've not edited anything out of the post.  Now, kudos do go out to management for actually responding to the post, but not for HOW they responded:

I'm sorry to hear that you think this about our apartments,we have been active in trying to clean our side of the block up..its the surrounding apartments that make it bad. we dont let anyone with criminal history in here so i have no idea why you think its us. as for office hours,we are open 9am to 6pm except when we have functions. sorry. have a nice day.

Sorry.  Have a nice day.

I imagine that's what their residents are going to tell them at the end of the lease.

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