In the modern world it seems like just about anything is available online. From recipes for chicken piccata to complex diagrams for building your own home water desalination system (no, really, check it out) the Internet is a great place for research and information on just about any topic. This includes reputational research on potential business partners through sites and forums offering reviews and first-person accounts of products.
Lease administration software is not exempt from this wealth of available information on various products and companies. There’s so much information, in fact, that you may be left wondering how much of it you can trust and just what weight you should give online reviews when looking for your next CRE software partner. As is usually the case with most complicated topics, the answer here is: it depends. Keep reading as we delve into the murky world of online reviews when it comes to checking out your lease administration software partner.
A Great Review Can Cost You
A quick google search of some of the larger companies in CRE portfolio management software will net you pages of results, with the most “popular” being pushed to the top. This popularity for popular review sites can come at a price, both to you and the company being reviewed.
First off, many companies will provide “free” copies of their software to websites or blogs that have a large following or “reach” in marketing terms. These blogs receive the software with a stated expectation of an honest review of the service. In reality, many times the “honest” review is executed with a wink and a nod, the impartial blogger ultimately returning favorable or even a rave review.
While this approach isn’t limited to lease administration software, it can be especially frustrating for CRE professionals that believe they’re getting just the facts. Bloggers will often be compensated with additional products, trips to conventions or even kickbacks for sales that result from a link handily included in the review. In short, it can be difficult knowing just when that great review is an honest to goodness view of the individual blogger’s experience with the product.
On the other end of the spectrum, negative online reviews should also be viewed with a grain of salt since the criticism can lack context, at best, and be misleading and falsely motivated at worst. Websites that cater to anonymous criticism such as RipOffReport or ScamAlert type of forums, provide no opportunity for rebuttal, feedback or for a company to offer to make the situation right. Anonymity can often fuel an individual’s desire to “get back” at a company or “make them pay” and little detail is typically provided in lieu of broad sweeping generalizations of the “badness” of the product or company. In some cases, companies can pay these sites to have negative reviews removed or downgrading, further questioning the veracity of the information.
Multi-Source Research is Best
The bottom line when it comes to picking your lease administration software partner? Do your own research! Read the online reviews, but realize the strengths and weaknesses that are inherent in online-based bloggers, forums and complaint platforms. Chat boards and networking sites can be great places to poll other professionals in the CRE and ask for individual feedback on what products have and have not worked for them. When all else fails, don’t forget to speak with company representatives and trust your gut. Experienced representatives, such as those at Quarem, should be able to provide you with hard reasons why their platform will work for you and will listen and help customize software to fit your individual needs. After all, as a CRE professional you are well aware that information and data are king. Turns out this applies to choosing your property management partner as well!