Consumers have plentiful options when it comes to senior living communities and home care agencies. And they’re doing plenty of research before making a decision, whether it’s for themselves or for a loved one.
Of course, marketing materials and community tours are important tools that aid in the decision-making process. However, consumers increasingly seek out feedback from other consumers when they’re researching their senior care and senior living options.They get this feedback by reading reviews on sites like Google, Vitals, and Healthgrades, among others.
Senior living and home care agency businesses must make it a priority to build and maintain a strong online reputation by leveraging reviews. Those that don’t risk losing business to a competitor with a stronger online presence.
Read on to learn why reputation management matters for senior care and living providers — and what you can do to take control of yours.
What is Online Reputation Management?
Before launching into a discussion about the importance of online reputation management, it’s important to take a step back to define what online reputation management actually is.
Online Reputation Management, Defined
Online reputation management is the use of various strategies to influence and improve the perception of a business online. Some key strategies include:
- Monitoring what’s being said about your brand in reviews, on social media and elsewhere
- Responding and engaging with reviews
- Generating more positive reviews
- Leveraging data from reviews to optimize operations
Reviews are a Vital Component of a Reputation Management Strategy
Many online reputation management strategies are focused on customer reviews. Why? Because the majority of consumers use reviews to make informed purchase decisions. In fact, customer reviews data shows that 92.4% of consumers use online reviews to guide their ordinary purchasing decisions.
Why Managing Your Online Reputation Matters
Consumers Depend on the Internet to Make Informed Decisions
Consumers turn to the internet when making everyday, seemingly minor purchase decisions, such as where to go for dinner or what hotel to book for an upcoming vacation. So it’s probably not surprising that they also do plenty of online research when it’s time to make major decisions, such as choosing senior living or senior care options. In fact, 71% of consumers use online reviews as the very first step to finding a provider.
The feedback consumers uncover when “doing their research” has a big influence on their purchase decisions. Per Marketing Charts, 57% of adults indicate that one of the main reasons they trust a brand is because it has good ratings and reviews. Conversely, 94% of consumers have avoided a business because of a negative review.
Consumers rely on leading senior care and senior living third-party sites for unbiased guidance and peer reviews, particularly when the reviews are curated by experts in the field before they’re published. Clearly, it’s essential for senior living communities and home care agencies to know what’s being said about them online — and start actively managing their online reputation. Those that do are better positioned to acquire and retain customers.
Reputation Management Increases Customer Acquisition
A solid reputation management strategy helps increase customer acquisition. How? Collecting a steady stream of reviews positively impacts SEO rank and online visibility. That means it’s a whole lot easier for customers to find a business. Once they’re aware of a business, the feedback in reviews provides them with the social proof they need to confidently choose it.
Reputation Management Fosters Loyalty and Boosts Retention
Of course, customer retention is just as important as acquisition. The good news is, a solid reputation management strategy can help boost retention rates, too.
Another thing to consider is that consumer reviews help with their employee recruiting and retention too. Professional caregivers want to work at the communities where things are well managed and the customers are very happy to be there and sharing such reviews internally also boosts morale of existing employees.
Engaging with reviews allows providers to resolve issues and regain customer trust. What’s more, monitoring and analyzing your reviews allows you to understand what customers love about your business — as well as their pain points. You can use these insights to make improvements to your customers’ experience and increase the likelihood that they’ll stick around.
How to Listen and Engage with Consumers to Improve Senior Living and Home Care Agency Experiences
Online reputation management must be a focus of any senior living or senior care business looking to acquire and retain customers. But what exactly does a strong reputation management strategy entail?
Understand What Customers are Saying about You
Potential customers are searching for your business online. You’ve got to start monitoring your reviews across the major platforms so you know what your existing customers are saying about you.
Reading your reviews can help you identify where your business is shining and where it’s failing to meet customer needs. You can use those insights to make impactful changes to your operations and in doing so, improve customer satisfaction.
Respond to Reviews
If a customer paid you a compliment or voiced a complaint in person, you’d certainly address it. The same should go for compliments and complaints shared via reviews. In fact, consumers expect a response. 70% indicate it’s “very” or “moderately” important for providers to respond publicly to reviews.
When you respond to reviews quickly, you’re showing the reviewer that you truly value their feedback and are committed to improving their experience. This is an important step in regaining the trust of dissatisfied customers — and fostering loyalty with happy ones. Additionally, if you respond to a one or two-star review within 24 hours, there’s a 33% higher probability that the reviewer will come back and upgrade the review by as much as three stars, which will then boost your reputation.
Responding to reviews can also help you build trust with future customers. In fact, 44.6% of consumers are more likely to visit a local business if the owner responds to negative reviews. Plus, according to Uberall, enterprise locations that reply to at least 32% of reviews achieve 80% higher conversion rates than businesses that reply to just 10% of reviews.
Keep Review Engagement and Responses HIPAA-Compliant
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (often referred to as HIPAA) protects consumers’ health information. This extends to review responses.
It’s of utmost importance to ensure responses to reviews are HIPAA-compliant. If they’re not, the consequences can be costly.
That might sound overwhelming, but in reality, it’s very much possible to engage with reviewers in a way that’s compliant. The most important thing is to make sure your responses don’t go into any details about a customer’s health or medical treatment. Instead, stick to general phrases like “We take your feedback seriously.” If a negative review needs additional attention, direct the customer to a specific phone number or department where they can freely discuss specific issues — and work towards resolutions.
Ask for More Reviews
The more positive reviews you generate, the better your online reputation. The better your online reputation, the easier it’ll be to attract and retain customers — and grow revenue. Case in point? Businesses with a 4.0 to 4.5 star rating earn an additional 28% in annual revenue!
Research tells us that many consumers are happy to leave reviews after a positive experience. But in many cases, they need to be explicitly asked to do so.
There are several effective ways to ask for reviews, including email campaigns, SMS messages, and handouts distributed to your customers or their loved ones. Some review platforms also allow customers to call in to provide a review.
So which is the best option? There’s not a one-size-fits all answer. Instead, you’ve got to understand the nuances of each major review platform so you can choose the appropriate method (or methods) for requesting reviews. In addition, it’s important to ensure your efforts are in compliance with each individual review site’s guidelines so you’re not penalized for asking for reviews.
Increase Resident and Consumer Acquisition and Retention with Reputation Management
A Checklist to Get Started
Leverage insights from consumer feedback to understand where your brand excels and where it needs improvement.
Engage with consumers by responding to reviews in a way that’s authentic, but also HIPAA-compliant.
Ask for more reviews to drive acquisition and retention efforts and improve your overall reputation.
Understand the sources that drive revenue for your brand. Build a review strategy around those sources.
Develop an online reputation management strategy for your business with the help of ReviewTrackers.