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Good reviews, especially Google reviews, can lead to more customers. Reviews from your existing landlords and tenants demonstrate social proof to your potential customers, showing what to expect from your agency - and there are best practises to follow when asking for those reviews. Our Customer Success team speaks to a lot of agents and has the chance to hear what the agencies with the best Google reviews are doing to get them. We've put together some of the top things that your agency can do too - plus, you can download some free templates for asking for reviews and replying to reviews to get you started.
You can warm your customers up to the idea of a review when you meet in person and have an email ready to send them with the link when they're prepped. Before asking for a review, on Google or elsewhere, you can gauge how open they'd be to sharing one - or even giving you a full testimonial or case study - by asking them an open-ended question, such as "How did you find your move-in experience with us?" There's no point in asking them for a review if they aren't happy with the service for some reason - and it's a great way to learn their pain points and help them for next time.
If you decide to send out an email request alone, aim to target customers who have indicated their satisfaction with your services, to boost the percentage of good reviews that you get. When you email, make sure that you show that it will be quick for them to write and share, and explain how it will help other customers in the future, so that they don't feel that it's simply a benefit to your agency.
At what stage are your customers happiest and most engaged with your agency? It's at this point that you should prompt them to give the feedback. With your tenants, you may want to ask them once they've moved in and you've gone through inventory checks with them.
For your landlords, if you act as their property manager, you may want to ask them a few months down the road during a regular check-in, after you've had a chance to demonstrate the value that you can bring them. If you show that you bring value, showing your performance against the industry standard, even before they officially sign up with you, they're more likely to remember that when they come to the review stage.
For example, Goodlord's customers can share newsletter templates with their landlords, that we pre-populate with the latest industry insights and news plus how each agency is performing, to explicitly show the value our agents bring their customers.
Of course, if you have a moment where your customers have let you know directly that they're particularly happy, there's no harm in spontaneously asking them to share that in a review - it doesn't all have to be planned out.
If you incentivise your customers to leave a review, such as putting them into a monthly draw to win a voucher, there's more chance that they'll go through with it. Conversely, don't de-incentivise them and make them think that it's a big job. Let them know that it will only take a couple of minutes of their time.
Once you've set out a process for asking for good reviews, make sure that your staff, and particularly your account managers, are all aware and understand why it's so important for your agency, so that they are brought in and motivated to help. And, on that note - if you run an internal monthly competition for the most or best reviews instigated by your team, your staff are more likely to ask their customers for them and they may get even more creative in finding new ways to give the best customer experience in the first place, with the bit of friendly competition!
If you use suppliers to provide your tenants and landlords with services such as referencing or repairs, they may be able to collect reviews for you and share an average rating which you can then pass on to your customers. Goodlord shares "Referencing delighted" scores with its agency customers, so they can see how their tenants have rated the referencing experience. If you then share this on your site, your tenants will also be made aware early on that they'll get their own opportunity to leave a review.
You can push the boat out and ask for full testimonials or case studies to demonstrate how you've helped a particular customer achieve their goals. If you want to get a more in-depth testimonial to use directly on your site, you could also propose a testimonial in your email. They can then either give you the green light to use it directly, or easily suggest something similar.
If you had the chance to demonstrate to a landlord a lot of different ways that you supported them, you could go the whole hog and do a full case study. You'd only need to take notes or record a quick conversation with your landlord - asking open-ended questions to spark conversation - add their comments to an outline of how it all played out, and, hey presto, you've got a more in-depth showcase of your expertise.
Whether good or bad, you should aim to reply to each of your reviews, as research by the Harvard Business Review shows that replying results in better ratings. If it's a bad review, show that you care about learning why and what you can improve for next time, for example. And for a good review, reply with a thank you or, if it's a particularly important customer, you could send them a separate email or message, to show your appreciation.
Once you've got a good haul of positive reviews, your work isn't over. You need to make sure that your future landlords and tenants get the chance to see them. You should be showcasing them and making it easy for them to find. Make sure that you're showing extracts from the top reviews on your site and, if you have a Trustpilot rating and permissions, for example, display that too. Plus, you should be sharing those reviews on social media, to make sure that you're reaching out to your audience and showing how your agency can help, rather than waiting for them to find you.
Oh Goodlord Limited is an Appointed Representative of Goodlord Protect Limited for general insurance products and credit broking. Goodlord Protect Limited is directly authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority, registration number 836727. You can check this information on the Financial Services Register by visiting www.fca.org.uk/register or by telephoning 0800 111 6768 (Freephone) or 0300 500 8082 from the UK. The FCA is the independent watchdog that regulates financial services.