The longer you’ve been providing in-home care, the greater the chance that you’ll get a negative review somewhere along the way. Any number of issues could trigger a bad review—a problem with a caregiver, being short-staffed, a miscommunication, a scheduling error, or something else.
Everyone has an opinion and the internet gives them a forum for sharing it with others whether it’s good or bad. When you get a bad review, you might be tempted to ignore it, but it’s better to address it. Feedback can help your business grow and build trust even if you get an occasional bad comment or review.
Use a Reputation Management Software
It would be great if you had the chance to intercept a bad review before it went public. Reputation management software allows you to do just that.
Here’s how it works. You send in a review request and if a customer posts a bad online review, it will go to your email address first. That gives you an opportunity to address the issue directly with the customer. That way, only good reviews get posted.
Google My Business allows you to see reviews on your dashboard and you can set your account so that you get automatic notifications when a review goes live. Getting live updates gives you the chance to respond to bad reviews quickly.
Also, Google My Business gives you a link that you can include in email campaigns to request reviews.
Respond Quickly to Reviews
When people read a bad review, they’ll probably give you the benefit of the doubt and look for a response from you. If you don’t address negative reviews for long periods, it sends a message to the reviewer and others that you don’t care enough to be responsive.
It’s crucial to post responses to reviews in a timely manner, especially when they’re not flattering. Be sure to address the issues directly in bad reviews. Be polite and professional, and above all, be genuine. That’s the way to minimize the impact of a bad review.
How to Respond to a Negative Review
There are a few things you need to take into account before responding to a negative review.
1. Accept responsibility for the customer’s experience with your home care services. Be sympathetic and offer a sincere apology, even if you feel the review is unfounded.
2. Give a short description of the kind of service your customers are accustomed to receiving. Respond to negative reviews by stating something along the lines of, “We strive for exceptional customer service and we’re disappointed that we didn’t meet your expectations.”
3. Part of your approach for how to manage bad reviews is to offer the reviewer an opportunity to take the conversation offline. Give them contact information for someone at your home care agency that can solve the problem or respond more fully.
4. Avoid asking too many questions or going into too many details about the issue with home care services. Limit your response to about three sentences. This will help you avoid adding fuel to the fire.
Focus on Solutions Rather than Proving You’re Right
As you consider how to handle negative reviews, it’s important to resist the temptation to prove which of you is right. In the interest of diffusing the complaint, just let it go. Redirect your approach toward solving problems and finding some common ground. That’s the best method for how to answer reviews so that everyone wins. Your aim should be to move forward in a way that shows you care and rebuilds the trust that was diminished along the way.
Don’t Just Wish It Away and Forget About It
Don’t talk yourself into believing that bad reviews won’t matter if you don’t respond to them.
Bear in mind that the reviewer was upset with your service when they gave the review. The best thing that you can do is to acknowledge their concerns directly and do your best to resolve them. The reason people post reviews is that they want to be heard and know that they have value.
Most people will give you credit for meeting the issue head-on and not side-stepping it. Honesty and humility go a long way when your home care service didn’t meet a client’s expectations.
Express Empathy Using a Sincere Tone
The nature of service industries is such that it’s nearly impossible to please all the people all the time, even when you’re doing your very best to provide top-quality home care services. You won’t always be able to solve past problems.
Bad reviews sometimes reflect someone’s need to vent rather than to place blame. They simply want to know that someone in a position of authority cared about their feelings. That’s especially true in the home care services industry because of the personal nature of caregiving. You may be able to overcome a bad review by being sincere in your responses and always expressing empathy.
A Little Good-Will Goes a Long Way
There will be times when it makes perfect sense to give unhappy customers a little something extra. It’s easier to win certain customers over by offering some concessions in the way of free services or a discounted rate. That’s not to say that you have to offer some form of compensation to everyone that gives you a bad review, but under the right circumstances, it can be meaningful.
Negative Reviews Improve Your Services
While it’s always difficult to read a bad review, it’s important to view it from the perspective of the customer. Try to be objective in your assessment of the review. Even if you think it’s unfounded, there may be a vein of truth to it. The truth can be masked in negative reviews, so take them seriously and address the situation that triggered the complaint. Take this as a red flag that your agency may have some areas that need improvement and take action.
No company is perfect all the time. When you have 100% positive reviews, some people will think they’re too good to be true. Customers expect to see a mix of comments and ratings. A few negative comments sprinkled in with all the good ones assures customers that your agency is legitimate.
Karina has spent most of her career working in the senior care industry, mostly as a digital marketing manager for home care and nursing home facilities. With 8+ years of hands-on experience in digital marketing to her credit, Karina also worked as a consultant for senior care businesses. As someone who cares deeply for seniors and has expert skills in digital marketing, Karina founded SeniorCareClicks to fulfill her passion for her permanent career.
Karina and SeniorCareClicks have been featured in Home Health Care News, HomeCare Magazine, Forbes, The Nursing Home Podcast, and other media. Karina is “the premier expert in senior care marketing”!