If you’ve ever shopped for a product online, you have probably read an online review. This is especially true if it’s a larger purchase and you’re doing some research before committing—like an on-going commitment in a retirement community or investing in a qualified home health aide.

In a 2017 BrightLocal study, 93% of consumers reported using local reviews to decide if a local business was good or not. 35% of those always read reviews when seeking out a new business near them. 73% of consumers say that positive reviews influence their trust in that company—50% of consumers will question the company’s quality of service or goods if they read a negative review.

What does all that mean? It means that senior care providers need to manage their online reviews.

With Online Reviews, More is Better

Google listingYou might be thinking that the quality of a review is what’s going to get the most attention, but surprisingly, it’s not. That same study found that the overall star rating is the top consideration for over half of consumers, but it’s closely followed by the quantity of reviews—the quality of the review is ranked fourth in order of importance for most consumers. In Google search results, reviews do not show; instead, the overall star rating and the number of reviews are right under your company name.

But the two definitely play off one another.

48% of consumers will require a total of 10 or more reviews before trusting the accuracy of the star rating. That’s common sense; the more reviews, the more accurate your overall rating is going to be. The reviews must be recent, and they must be frequent. Most consumers want to read reviews from within the past month. Anything older than 3 months is generally considered irrelevant.
On average, 10 – 34 reviews seems to be the current prerequisite for the trustworthiness of a star rating—and the vast majority of consumers are looking at businesses that have at least three stars overall. Half want at least four.

What is Your Online Reputation Status?

Let’s take a look at a few options; perhaps you don’t have any online reviews at all.
Pushing for more reviews can seem like an awkward request, but if you’ve got happy customers who love your services, your staff, or your facilities, they will most likely be more than happy to leave you a good review if you tell them where and how. Much like asking your customers to like you on Facebook, putting the Google review form as a call to action on electronic materials or social media posts is an excellent way to make people aware of your willingness to accept their feedback. Overall, 68% of consumers said they would leave a review for a local business if asked to.

I Have Reviews, But They’re Not Great

Don’t feel too bad; the psychology behind leaving a review works against us in most cases. Customers who had a bad experience at a business are two to three times more likely to go online and leave a scathing review. And once they have, it takes about 12 positive reviews to cancel out that negative one.

If you have an alarming number of negative reviews, you may need to dig deeper. What is a common factor in each negative review? Is it a certain person, a certain service, perhaps a policy? Determine where change needs to happen, and don’t be afraid to make it or bring it to light. Customer service in the senior care industry is one of the most important aspects of a happy, thriving community.

It’s also important to differentiate between valid negative reviews, such as long hold times on the phone or unclean facilities, and bogus negative reviews. Remember that some customers are impossible to please and will leave a negative review just because they can. Separating valid complaints from the flock will ensure you’re not trying to fix what isn’t broken.

I Have Several Reviews, and They’re Mostly Positive

Awesome! Having overall positive reviews is an achievement not to be scoffed at, especially when the number of reviews you have is on the higher side. Just make sure that you keep ’em coming.

Customers are looking for recent reviews—preferably submitted in the last month. Customers also want to see frequent reviews, which may be more feasible for some businesses than others. If the frequency of reviews is making you anxious, set a goal to garner two or three per month through whatever method you find works best for you. Anything older than three months is considered largely irrelevant to customers looking you up online.

Responding to Reviews

Responding to reviews is essential, especially when they’re negative. Customers are paying more attention to how businesses respond to online reviews—30% of consumers are looking for your reaction to a negative or positive review. Responding is a given, and you need to do so in a timely manner, but your response can vary widely depending on the review. For more information on responding to online reviews, read our previous article on online reputation management.

Need More Help?

We offer a variety of services to help you grow and maintain your online reputation. Feel free to contact us for more information!