June 13

Reputation Management for the Senior Living Industry

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I recently participated in an interview with Roy Barker, an advisor/consultant in senior living operations. The topic of the interview was reputation management and local search engine optimization as they relate to the senior living industry. This blog will cover the reputation management portion of the interview.

Because the nature of the senior living industry is caring for a family’s loved ones, a great reputation is critical to the business. Bad reviews or negative feelings about the level of care and facility can be extremely detrimental to continued business and acquiring new clients.

Reputation Management – Reviews Can Make or Break a Business

Not so long ago, customers wrote reviews with the primary purpose of helping other customers with information on what they thought was positive or negative about a business. Today, reviews are sometimes more punitive in nature, in that a customer holds a business hostage by threatening a negative review if he doesn’t get more bang for his buck, even if the business has satisfied the initial requirements.

The reality is that a customer may give you a bad review because he is having a bad day or had a less-than-stellar experience. However, you need to make sure you address negative reviews appropriately.

Review Funnels

You need to set up a review funnel for monitoring all reviews, both negative and positive. If you have no reviews at all, that’s considered a negative as well, especially if your competitors have lots of positive reviews.  That gives potential customers the impression that your current clients are not impressed enough to take the few minutes to write a review. You can encourage customers to write a review through the review funnel system as well.

Setting up a review funnel allows you to monitor the reviews people are posting. If you notice a negative review, you can address it immediately. Changescape Web can set up businesses on a review funnel system based on one to five star ratings. The review funnel will make it easy to find the review sites you want your customers to use to write reviews about your business in one place and link to those sites like Facebook, BBB, HealthGrades etc.

Of course, if the reviewer opts to go directly to a review site rather than go through the review funnel system, there’s nothing you can do to prevent that. You can minimize the chances of that, however, by driving customers to the review funnel site instead. But if you do get some negative reviews posted, we recommend that you respond with a brief apology, then take it offline via a phone call or email. Don’t carry on a tirade online or it will exacerbate the situation publicly.

Because reviews are naturally skewed toward the negative, it’s important to know what’s out there. That’s also why we recommend businesses reach out to satisfied, happy customers to request a review or testimonial. And you need to make it extremely easy to do so.

Review Site Monitoring

There are many review sites where people can post reviews directly, so having some tools to monitor and address them is helpful.

HootSuite is a system where you can monitor your Twitter account for @ mentions or conversations related to brand, business or even caretaker’s name.

You can sign up for directories where your business gets listed, some of which also allow reviews to be posted. Come directories automatically list businesses without them even signing up. For example, Citysearch lists local businesses, pulling them from various possible areas of the web (Google, Bing, etc.) using an algorithm. If someone does a Google search for your business, the Citysearch listing may show up and they can write a review there. Having a directory management system in place can help you manage and monitor the reviews.

There are some important things to keep in mind when it comes to online reviews.

  1. Composite rating. This reflects your overall average review rating. You could have ten reviews with a 3.8 star composite score out of a 5 star possibility.
  2. Total reviews. The total number of reviews on a particular review site is an important factor. If you have five reviews and your competitor has 25, it may be enough to tip the scale in favor of your competitor.
  3. Review velocity. This is where you get a constant stream of customers reviewing your business, as opposed to getting several up front, then getting nothing afterward. Search engines will not look favorably on your business in that situation.

Google My Business

There are a number of online review sites where customers can review your business, but in my opinion, the number one review site, especially for local businesses, is Google My Business (GMB). It’s simple for a business to get a GMB page: go to google.com/business to create and claim your listing. After that, you can begin to drive customers to post reviews to your GMB page.

Your GMB page is what shows up on the Google Map results when someone searches for a business, product or service in a geographical location. For example, if someone searches for Senior Care Chesterfield Missouri, a Google Map will display the majority of the time, along with the top three businesses. This is very important real estate, and having your GMB page with customer reviews is the way to make that happen.

Changescape Web Can Help You Manage Your Online Reputation

Changescape Web is an expert in managing online reputations for small to medium-sized businesses. You can also attend a free online webinar on the topic. Or simply contact us today to learn how we can help you manage those reviews and improve your online reputation quickly!


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