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Senior Living Reputation Management: How to Respond to Reviews

Your senior living community’s online reputation is everything. In fact, it might be the only thing that matters. Perception is reality and all that. Not to mention online reviews almost always come up in local search results. That’s why when it comes to senior living reputation management, you MUST have a strategy for responding to reviews.

We’ve written a couple articles about managing your overall online reputation, including claiming listings and soliciting reviews. But today we’re going to get into the nitty-gritty of how to respond to those pesky one- and two-star reviews.

1. Never argue.

When we say never, we mean NEVER. Not even if you feel the review is unfair. Not even if you know the review is inaccurate. A combative response will cause more damage. Why? Because other people will see your belligerent response. This will influence their decision—and not in a good way.

2. Keep in mind that critical feedback isn’t always negative.

We all tend to think of one-star reviews as “bad.” But negative reviews provide opportunity. Your critics are giving you a gift: an unfiltered, unvarnished view of your community’s weaknesses. If you pay attention to your reviews and address legitimate issues revealed within them, your community will ultimately be in a better, stronger, more competitive position.

What should you pay attention to in one- and two-star reviews? Look for trends. Look for consistent complaints. If you’re hearing the same complaint in multiple reviews, you can no longer claim it’s simply one disgruntled person’s “opinion.” Uncover the core issue and address it.

3. Be genuine in your response.

  • Acknowledge the person’s pain/criticism. Again, don’t argue. Don’t make condescending statements like “We’re sorry you feel this way.” Instead, opt for something that sounds human: “Chris, we’re sorry to hear your mom isn’t happy with X. We’re sharing your feedback with the team. If you’d like to tell us more, we welcome your additional input. You can reach us here.” (Provide a real phone number and extension. Make sure someone monitors the messages and passes on messages to the appropriate person in your community.)
  • Do not end your response with “Have a great day.” It sounds silly to say something like: “We’re sorry to hear about your experience. Have a great day!” Try this instead: “Even though it’s hard to hear, we do appreciate your candid feedback. We’re discussing your review internally so we can address these issues.”
  • Don’t say the same thing in every response. People scroll through reviews. If people see the same response on every review, well—that doesn’t sound genuine, does it?
  • Respond to positive reviews, too! A warm “Thank you” is always welcome on a positive review. You’ll follow the same suggestions outlined above. Acknowledge what the person liked. Don’t say the same thing in every response. And sound genuine.

Need inspiration? Here are real examples of great responses to negative Yelp reviews.

4. Run your response by a committee before hitting publish.

Get in the habit of drafting a response to a critical review and sharing it with a couple members of your team. Why? Just to get a second opinion and a second set of eyes on the response. The problem with responding in writing is the tone issue. The person who writes the response can’t always “hear” if something might come across as snarky or defensive. When it comes to senior living reputation management, take a team approach.

5. Accept that negative reviews are part of doing business.

Your senior living community will get negative reviews. It’s a part of doing business. Your focus should be on responding thoughtfully to these critical reviews and addressing issues, as needed.

SeniorLivingAdvisor.com notes this in its FAQs: “Consumers do not expect every customer will have an ideal experience with any service provider. In fact, consumers tend to trust reviews more when they see both positive and negative feedback. What is important to those searching for senior care is that the organization acknowledges and addresses concerns.”

6. Flag any reviews that are truly inappropriate.

While you should never respond to negative reviews, your community—and the people reading the reviews—shouldn’t have to endure violent, abusive, racist, or other toxic language. Most review sites offer a way to flag/report/dispute problematic reviews. You won’t use this for someone who is irate about a legitimate issue. People have a right to vent their frustration. But if a reviewer ever crosses a line, you can ask to have the review removed.

An important note: People reading reviews will be able to read between the lines. Most of us can easily identify an incoherent rant when we spot one. And most of us won’t put much stock into those sorts of reviews. So even if you have a couple of “stinkers,” don’t worry too much about it.

7. Combat negative reviews with more positive reviews.

With many review sites, the most recent reviews are listed first. So if you have a few negative reviews cluttering the feed—even if you’ve answered them in a thoughtful manner—revisit your playbook for soliciting more positive reviews.

Some ideas:

  • Tap recent move-ins. While the experience is still fresh, ask the resident and/or family member to leave a review on why they chose your community.
  • Use text messaging apps. Sending a text message asking for a review stands a better chance of getting opened and acted upon. Capterra evaluates different text messaging apps here.
  • Audit your lead nurturing. Make sure you include “Love us? Leave us a review” call-outs on appropriate lead nurturing workflows.
  • Don’t overlook your employees! Make sure you monitor reviews on places like Indeed and Glassdoor. Savvy consumers will look at these sites to see what employees are saying about working in your senior living community. Happy employees make for happy residents.

 

Testimonials to Increase Leads, Tours & Move-ins

Senior Living Marketing: Use Video Testimonials to Increase Leads, Tours & Move-ins

Want to boost your senior living marketing BIG time? Think video testimonials!

You already know that people are more likely to believe statements made by current residents and families rather than slick marketing copy saying how fabulous your community. This is why review sites have so much sway, after all.

But what’s more compelling than written reviews? When people talk on video about your community. Why? Well, hearing a real person’s voice makes an emotional connection. In fact, according to this report on testimonials,”42% of people say testimonial videos are effective because they showcase an actual person and help the viewer understand their story.”

Testimonial Videos for the Win!

As you consider your senior living marketing strategy, make sure testimonial videos are a part of the mix. By taking a few extra steps, your residents and their families can tell prospects why they selected your community and why it’s so special.

Testimonial Video Production: Casual or Professional?

You can choose to have videos professionally shot. Or you can use a smartphone (or a mix between the two). Today’s phones  make editing super easy (and you can often add captions and calls-to-action). A nice mix of “candid” videos and pro videos is a good overall strategy. (Because people respond well to videos they deem authentic…we can all tell if a video is too slick.)

Testimonial Video Production: How Long is Too Long?

Think short. And be mindful of how you title the videos. In our experience, people will not watch a 5- to 10-minute video. However, they will watch five short videos, especially if they have descriptive titles that accurately explain what people are in for.

Of course, simply having video testimonials isn’t enough. You need to use them wisely.

Use Video Testimonials to Bolster your Overall Senior Living Marketing Strategy.

Check out these tips and real-life examples. Note: you can watch these video testimonials here. Below, we’re providing written excerpts.

1. Email a testimonial video to a family before they come in for a tour.

Make sure the video has quotes, not just compliments. A compliment would sound like this: “The community is friendly.” A quote is a specific statement sharing a unique way you made them feel welcomed.

Here’s a great example from The Kensington of White Plains:

“Ever since she’s moved in she’s improved. She has multiple things wrong with her. She had the stroke. She has diabetes. She has heart disease. And through all their care, everything has been stabilized and she’s probably the healthiest she’s been in quite a few years. She’s lost weight. She does a lot of physical therapy. She participates with the exercise and all the different activities they have there. And she’s having a really great time. I believe her mind has gotten better. Her physical body has definitely gotten better. And her attitude has definitely gotten better as well.”

Bonus: Putting videos in emails can go a long way in helping engage with people. In fact, according to Uscreen, including the word “video” in an email subject line was shown to increase open rates by 19%. Click-throughs jumped an astonishing 65%.

2. Use testimonials for creative follow-up.

It’s best if each video is short and tells specifically why families chose your community. In addition, ask people to focus on sharing specifics and their emotions.

Here’s a great one we gathered for The Kensington:

“You should have your parent go to The Kensington because they will treat your parents with the utmost respect and dignity and they will also become better than they could by themselves. We’ve been able to have a better relationship overall just sitting, chatting, having lunch, having dinner, just going to visit. It’s a place where even my kids can come and feel comfortable. The people there go way above and beyond to really take care of her and keep her healthy. The physical therapists there are spectacular. Nurses just take care of her like she was their mother and it’s very, very sweet. They’ll do anything for her.”

3. Overcome objections (and share far and wide on social media).

What objections are you getting? Create videos for each objection. Again, the videos should be short (1 to 2 minutes long) and have quotes from a few different people. That way you can tailor which videos to email to prospective families.

For example, a common objection is that the prospective resident is a picky eater or requires a special diet and they won’t like the food at the community.

Check out this great testimonial from The Kensington and how it overcomes an objection.

“Oh, the food is amazing. Norm, who’s in charge of the dining room, does a great job. He listens to the residents whenever they have any comments. He’s always walking around making sure that everybody’s okay. There are multiple options for whether you’re a vegetarian or a meat eater or anywhere in between and even some cultural dishes as well. Everything is done very carefully and with care and with good, fresh ingredients.”

Don’t forget to share your videos on social media! Videos are great for Facebook and Instagram. In fact, consider playing around with Facebook Live. Finally, make sure you embed the best videos on key areas of your site. For example, the home page, blog posts, pages of about resident life, and contact pages.

Need help creating and sharing video testimonials? That’s what we’re here for!

We’re not simply a marketing agency. We’re a senior living marketing agency. We’ve worked in the industry for decades, so we understand what resonates with prospects. Let us help you redefine your marketing. Get in touch!

reputation management

Strategies for Better Senior Living Reputation Management

Why is senior living reputation management so important? Well, let’s face it: people rely on online reviews more now than ever before. So, what people say about your community MATTERS (regardless whether you agree with their assessment or not).

Consider the following stats:

And that’s just the tip of a very large iceberg when it comes to stats about consumers and online reviews.

This shouldn’t surprise any of us senior living marketers. After all, we’re consumers, too. We seek out reviews (and judge businesses accordingly) just like everyone else.
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