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Senior Care: Golden Reviews Best Practices

Here’s How Golden Reviews Can Give Your Facility a Competitive Advantage

Economic, social, and healthcare policy changes in the United States continue to shape the way senior care and senior living facilities are able to deliver services while managing ever-increasing population growth and decreased funding for long-term care. Patient and family member satisfaction has become a quintessential marker of a reliable facility.

In fact, aside from costs, the majority of those shopping for long-term or senior care for themselves or a loved one considers a word-of-mouth recommendation or online reviews an essential part of the decision-making process when it comes to selecting their facility of choice.

(Check out: “Here’s How Consumers Are Using Online Reviews of Doctors, Hospitals, and Health Care Services”)

For senior care facility managers and marketers, there are two elements that will drive the way shoppers perceive them on review websites. The first is the tone, content, and rating of patient reviews; and the second is the way facilities tackle these reviews by providing responses and following up on specific issues escalated via an online review.

Today we want to share with you 12 best practices related to review responses on one of the most sought-after review websites for shoppers seeking long-term or senior care: Golden Reviews.

Golden Reviews is a significant player in generating referrals and providing information to customers on the initial stages of searching for long-term assisted or senior care. Golden Reviews collects about 2,000 reviews every month from residents and family members assessing the level of care of facilities providing senior or adult care. Similar to the way TripAdvisor issues Certificates of Excellence to service providers in the travel industry providing superior customer experiences, Golden Reviews issues a third-party award known as The Golden Seal. We firmly believe a well-managed review response strategy will help you consolidate your brand image, generate more leads, and possibly secure a Golden Seal Award.

1. You Must First Take The Pledge of Care

As a healthcare provider, you need to activate or take ownership of your Golden Reviews profile. This can be achieved by taking The Pledge of Care. Once you have taken the pledge (basically, a form providing your contact information), you will be able to have access to a variety of free, upgraded features including:

2. Real-Time Review Notifications

By having immediate notification of reviews, healthcare administrators will be able to have a quicker reaction time to issues that might jeopardize the health or safety of their residents or blemish the brand reputation of their facility. Keep in mind that having immediate access to this type of information should be the standard across all popular review sites, and not everyone will notify the business owner directly and timely. To that end, using centralized review management tools is key to the success of any reputation management strategy.

3. 24-Hour Buffer Before Reviews Go Live

Time is a precious asset when it comes to managing a potential public-relations disaster. Very few review websites partner with businesses in a business-friendly manner that equips business leaders with sufficient lead time to tackle complex issues and be prepared to handle something that could potentially impact the way they are perceived by the public at large. This feature alone makes the program incredibly valuable for senior care facilities seeking to grow and establish a good name among consumers.

4. Publish Public Responses to Reviews

Golden Reviews allows their Pledge of Care members to post a response to all reviews with three stars or less. This is slightly different than the way most review websites permit review responses, regardless of the score. With this in mind, it is important that the person tasked to respond to reviews is not only well-informed and ready to provide a diplomatic answer but also able to manage the situation with maturity. Providing solution-oriented responses to negative reviews that are conducive to relationship-building with current and future customers is important.

5. Customize Your Photos and Description

In the past, we have explored the importance of having user-friendly, customized, and enhanced profiles that best represent your brand and provide shoppers with relevant information likely to help with conversion. Don’t neglect it.

6. Tools to Gather Online Reviews

Securing quality, reliable reviews for a long-term care or senior care facility is not an easy task. There are many barriers to overcome, from relatives having minimal motivation to engage, to technological barriers on the part of residents. Having streamlined, brand-endorsed tools to help your facility secure reviews can give you a significant competitive advantage.

Now that we know the types of advanced features a facility will have access to via Golden Reviews, let’s learn how to respond to less-than-perfect reviews in a way that is business conducive and brand sensitive:

7. Don’t Jump to Conclusions or Be Defensive

Keeping in mind that Golden Reviews only permits responses on reviews with three stars or less, it is easy to fall into the trap of defensiveness. For the sake of your facility’s business reputation, do not do it! The best approach is to establish procedures aimed at expediently researching the facts associated with resident and family member concerns. Learn as much as you can about an issue prior to posting a response, and even when you feel you are privy to the whole picture, be kind by giving your reviewer the benefit of the doubt.

By doing so, you allow for dialogue to happen, fostering credibility not only with the reviewer but also with everyone that will read the review and your response during the process of researching long-term care, assisted facilities, and senior care.

(Check out: “How NOT to Respond to Online Reviews…or How to Get People to Hate Your Business”)

8. Respect Residents’ Privacy When Drafting Your Response

Residential facilities for seniors are often closely tied to healthcare facilities and as such held to a higher standard as it relates to residents’ privacy. Be intentional about protecting your residents’ privacy by sticking to strict policies that prioritize the resident over any argument that might arise in a public forum.

9. Take Advantage of Golden Reviews Remedy Focus

Through their ombudsman program, Golden Reviews allows facilities seven days to figure out a way to remediate the complaint voiced via a three star or less review. By taking advantage of this program, facilities are not only polishing their online reputation but also addressing service and facility issues likely to result in residents’ or family members’ dissatisfaction in future interactions.

10. Turn Around the Review Focus

This is best explained by giving you an example. Let’s imagine for a moment that your care facility receives a review regarding limited recreational options for residents. A family member complains via Golden Reviews about the lack of daily activities aimed at maintaining the mental and emotional welfare of their senior. This type of review provides the perfect opportunity for the facility to showcase its recreational programs. Educate the reviewer and future readers by responding in a way that aims to highlight the programs and services available at the facility, and how the facility utilizes feedback as a means of perfecting its programs in a way that best fits the needs of the residents.

11. Draft Responses That Are Personal, Compassionate, and Empathic

Long-term care and senior care facilities must always remember that they are in the business of caring for people. Responses should always be drafted in such a way that human qualities are prioritized. Refrain from template-like responses that don’t take into account the uniqueness of each patient and the needs of their families and friends. By focusing on compassion, you will more effectively diffuse the frustration voiced in the review, and you will have a greater opportunity of gaining a loyal ally.

12. Go from Reviews to Referrals

Golden Reviews offers a great program available to their pledged partners where businesses receive direct referrals from Golden Reviews. The program incentivizes facilities that respond to referrals in 24 hours or less by giving them priority as candidates for the Golden Seal. Senior care and assisted living facilities should not miss out on this fantastic opportunity to have business directed their way.

Golden Reviews is not the only resource available to those researching for senior care, but it is certainly one that has tools in place to be business friendly and help you secure new leads. Make Golden Reviews part of your overall review and reputation management strategy. With intentionality and focus, you stand to gain new customers and increase your customer satisfaction metrics by engaging with your current residents, their families, and volunteers using Golden Reviews as a platform to share their opinions about your facility.

Crystal Shuller

Crystal is the Director of Customer Happiness for ReviewTrackers. She's known around the office for E-mails that make everyone smile, and she has a bag of tricks and tips to help businesses solve their problems and delight their customers.

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