Bernstein Management Corporation is a regional leader in real estate management, investment and development. The company owns and manages an investment portfolio of 93+ properties including 3.8 million square feet of commercial space, and over 6,000 apartments in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
“We’re a family-owned and operated business that started back in 1953,” said Shane Gillman, Senior Director of Marketing for Residential and Commercial Properties at Bernstein Management. “Running our business efficiently and maintaining costs are critical to our success.”
Gillman and his team were looking for a more efficient way to manage the company’s online reputation. Specifically, they needed to manage online reviews, surveys and business listings for Bernstein’s many properties across multiple channels — Google, Facebook and industry-specific sites — all while keeping costs down and eliminating manual tasks. Additionally, Gillman and his team wanted to increase review volume on major sites.
Leader in real estate management, investment and development
- Manage online reviews, surveys and business listings for multiple locations
- Eliminate manual tasks and keep costs down through automation
- Increase review volume on major sites, such as Google and Facebook
- Maintain consistent communication with tenants via surveys
- Use insights from online reviews to make improvements at the local level
Gillman’s team had been using a point solution for requesting online reviews — but it presented significant limitations. “The biggest problem with our previous platform is that it restricted where we could send people to leave online reviews,” said Gillman. “It only allowed our tenants to post reviews on one site, so our review volume on major sites such as Google and Facebook was lacking.”
Gillman was also using a point solution to track and respond to reviews in real time, but a lack of integration between the two systems was costing the team time and money, and limiting the value of the data gathered from reviews.
“We were spending a lot of time on administering and managing both systems, and we had little insight into the data,” Gillman said. “It no longer made sense to continue with that model.”
They evaluated numerous online reputation management (ORM) solutions, and through this due diligence, came across Reputation.com.
“We were spending a lot of time on administering and managing both systems, and we had little insight into the data.”
– Shane Gillman, Bernstein Management
Gillman’s team had the Reputation.com platform up and running in under a month. The initial phase included Business Listings and Online Reviews. Next, the team implemented the Surveys module, which took roughly six months and enabled them to get real-time feedback from residents and prospects.
A dedicated resource on Gillman’s team manages the platform and responds to all online reviews, and property managers take action on maintenance issues at individual properties. Local teams respond to tenant surveys directly.
Because Reputation.com is tightly integrated with the company’s property management system, the system sends emails requesting reviews automatically, based on events such as move-in and moveout dates. “We set up triggers in the platform to push reviews based on prospect or tenant actions, ensuring communication is consistent,” said Gillman.
Unified dashboard delivers insight
Reputation.com curates the review data and displays it in the dashboard, keeping the team updated on feedback and alerting them to potential trouble spots. “The dashboard is awesome,” said Gillman. “We can see the number of reviews we’ve received, how many we’ve responded to, and the breakdown of positive and negative reviews — all from a single easy-to-understand dashboard interface.”
And with Reputation.com, Gillman’s team is able to send customers to multiple review sites, and build review volume across the web.
“Reputation.com lets us shift reviews around, as needed,” said Gillman. “For example, if our review volume and scores on Facebook are high, we can send people to Google to leave a review instead. It enables us to push prospects and tenants to specific sites to boost ratings and reviews on sites that may be falling behind. This way we look great across all review sites, and our prospects get a clear and consistent overview of our properties’ online reputation.”
Collaboration builds relevance
Gillman’s team worked directly with Reputation.com’s design team, making adjustments to the solution to cater to specific requirements of its multi-unit properties. “We were able to speak to the system’s designers, learn about the roadmap and provide feedback, so they could implement changes that made the platform more user-friendly and relevant to our business,” Gillman said. “We collaborated with them on functionality, usability and real-time chat integration.”
As a result of the collaboration, Gillman’s team can accomplish all necessary tasks related to online reviews from a single platform. Reputation.com also worked to incorporate terms and phrases that tenants commonly use into word cloud reporting, to make results more meaningful.
Gillman’s team has realized many benefits with Reputation.com, such as improved communication, a higher reputation score, lower costs and a competitive edge.
“We’ve received 13 Online Reputation Awards (ORAs Elite 1%) in the past two years, since implementing Reputation.com,” Gillman said. The ORAs, held by J. Turner Research, compare 71,000 apartment buildings with 50+ units and recognize those that maintain an exceptional online reputation. “All of this would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of our onsite teams.”
More reviews across locations and sites
Since implementing Reputation.com, the company’s review volume has increased by over 50%, and reviews are distributed evenly across all the major sites. Gillman’s team conducts a bi-annual push to boost review volume, and during those times, they see an 80% increase in review volume over typical numbers.
“Reputation.com is one of our best kept secrets
and helps set us apart from our competitors. We strive to provide the best service to our tenants and prospects and Reputation.com through its multiple solutions has helped us stay one step ahead.”
– Shane Gillman, Bernstein Management
Surveys yield actionable feedback
The survey module has also proved extremely valuable. “Building customer surveys through Reputation.com streamlines the process of building customer surveys, helping us communicate with tenants consistently and saving us a lot of time, and we’re able to send out one off customizable surveys to entire buildings or resident groups,” said Gillman.
The team sends out surveys multiple times daily — when a prospect visits a property, when a tenant moves in, to follow up on maintenance requests and to assess the probability of lease renewals. Survey responses and all the data they contain is accessible in the platform along with reviews, providing invaluable insight into operations, service levels and the performance of our individual properties.
Higher scores, lower costs
But the true benchmark for success is the company’s overall Reputation Score, which has risen from 185 to 463 since implementing the platform. What’s more, the team is spending about 45% less than what they were on maintaining two disparate systems.
“Reputation.com is saving us about 45% — all while achieving stronger results.”
– Shane Gillman, Bernstein Management