You take pride in your senior care agency, just as you should. Great reviews are sure to bring a smile to your face. On the other hand, it’s surprising when someone leaves a bad review, especially if they never told you they were unhappy in the first place. Either way, it’s appropriate to respond to reviews.
What are review writers and readers looking for in a review response? Reviewers have two motives for writing reviews. They want others to be aware of their experience, and they’re looking for your agency to take some type of accountability for whatever caused the bad review.
First, respond to all reviews whether they’re positive or negative. It’s important to show visitors that you read your reviews and you care about your agency’s reputation. The right approach for how to respond to reviews will boost your reputation and let readers know you’ve addressed any problems that are reflected in your reviews.
Responding to Bad Reviews with Star or Number Ratings Only
Be aware that not all review sites allow comments. A star or number rating may be all that you get. With no information to go on, it’s challenging to know how to respond. A good rule of thumb is to keep your response short. It’s appropriate to ask the reviewer to contact you privately about the rating and offer a phone number or email address where they can contact you privately. Since there are no details on either the rating or the response, most readers won’t consider it a bad reflection of your services.
Negative Feedback Can Be a Good Thing
As tough as it is to read, negative feedback has a positive side. The comments that your former clients leave come from the heart. Negative comments aren’t usually intended to hurt anyone, so try not to take them personally.
Bad reviews give you opportunities to learn where to make improvements. Often, the feedback you receive tells you that your caregivers need more training in a particular area. Without negative reviews, you could be left in the dark, and that could lead to even more negative reviews. Look for feedback that’s specific and objective. Take what you learn, and make some appropriate changes.
Prospects are apt to check out your reviews before deciding to do business with your agency. That said, negative feedback won’t necessarily send them running in the other direction. Most people understand that it’s nearly impossible for a business to have perfect feedback every time.
All positive reviews make some people skeptical. What they’re looking for is how you responded to negative reviewers. They’re also looking for what steps you plan to take to address the negative comments. Always be courteous and professional as you manage reviews.
7 STEPS TO CRAFTING THE RIGHT REVIEW RESPONSE: NEGATIVE REVIEWS
1. Personalize Your Response
Online and offline, people like it when you use their name. If you don’t know their name, do a little digging on Facebook or other social media sites to find it. Use a salutation with their name such as, “Dear Susan”. If you can’t find their name, it’s okay to use “Dear client”.
2. Courteousness Counts
Saying please and thank you is just as appropriate in writing a review response as it is in person, so be sure to use your manners. Think about your response before you begin writing. Do your best to craft a response that’s genuine and courteous.
Here’s an example of a response you could use:
“Dear Jane, Thank you for taking the time to write a review. We value your feedback and welcome your comments. I’m happy to discuss your concerns personally. Please contact me at this number so that we can address the issues you raised.”
After speaking with the client, consider the steps you can take to prevent similar negative feedback, and improve your services.
3. Be Sympathetic and Offer an Apology
Try to imagine the emotions a review writer is going through as they wrote the bad review. There are many factors in senior caregiving that could contribute to negative comments or a pessimistic tone.
Be sympathetic and determine whether an apology is in order. By stepping into the writer’s shoes, it gives you a different perspective. It should help you respond in a kind, professional way.
Be aware of any restrictions on what you’re allowed to say. It’s okay to used scripted wording as long as you make it sound natural and genuine.
4. Be Accountable
Oftentimes, a person that leaves a negative review just wants someone to be accountable. It’s best not to offer up weak excuses. Lots of things can go wrong in senior caregiving. Some situations are isolated and never happen again. On occasion, accidents happen, and no one is to blame. Regardless of the issue, be sure to take responsibility, and point out your commitment to quality caregiving.
5. Describe How Their Feedback Helped Make Your Agency Better
A review response is a good place to demonstrate your willingness to make things right. Give a brief description of the changes you made as a result of their feedback. They’ll appreciate a specific response, when you can. It’s not always possible to change their experience, but they’ll be glad they responded if it prevents a similar situation from happening again.
6. Redirect the Discussion Away from the Internet
While it’s always appropriate to respond to negative comments online, customers usually appreciate it when a representative of the agency also takes the time to call them personally. Direct communication often diminishes strong emotions after a difficult issue. A personal phone call or email to someone tells them that you’re taking their concerns seriously.
If you’re able to smooth things over, you may be able to leave a more specific response describing that you touched bases since the review. It’s a win/win situation for your former client, future clients, and your agency.
7. Strive to Keep the Relationship Open
When you become aware that a client isn’t happy, it doesn’t mean that you have to close the door on the relationship. Don’t assume that they’re not open to giving your senior caregiving services another chance. It’s totally appropriate to invite them back. Don’t be surprised if they take you up on it. If they do, welcome them back, and commit to doing better. Then, make sure you follow through on your promise.
Share negative feedback with your caregivers and with your other employees. As they learn of negative reviews, your employees will be more conscious of their duties and how their role impacts your clients. Share positive feedback as well. Emphasize that quality caregiving is part of your mission and culture.
Responding to Positive Reviews to Enhance Your Brand
Don’t make the mistake of overlooking positive reviews. If your clients are taking their time to give your agency a compliment, they deserve a kind response. Think of it this way—if they paid you a compliment in person, you’d be sure to say thank you, so why not do the same in an online review?
Responding to positive reviews gives you a chance to express your gratitude for their business. It’s also a way to show your passion and enthusiasm for senior caregiving. As you respond to positive reviews, you’re making it clear that the customer experience is very important to your business. That will speak volumes to anyone reading your reviews.
5 WAYS TO CRAFT THE RIGHT REVIEW RESPONSE: POSITIVE REVIEWS
Positive Responses Demand Thanks Too
People are very busy. If they’re taking the time to give your caregiver agency a positive review, it should have special meaning for you. They may not be expecting you to thank them, but they’ll appreciate it if you take the time to do it anyway. Positive reviews and strong ratings will attract new clients to your agency. That alone is worth taking the time to say thank you.
Reiterate Their Comments in Responding to Positive Reviews
Don’t be surprised if customers describe their positive experiences with lots of specific details. That gives you a chance to repeat those comments, and in so doing, you get the chance to boost your marketing efforts over specific services.
For example, you can mention that their caregiver is also a favorite of many other of your clients.
Share Positive Comments with Caregivers
Your caregivers work hard to give quality care to your clients. Caregivers are sure to appreciate knowing their services helped a client in need and that a client appreciated the help enough to write an online review. Mention that you shared their comments with the caregiver in your response. For example, “Dear John, We were happy to learn that Mary exceeded your expectations. We’ll be sure to pass along your kind words.”
Extend an Invitation to Positive Reviewers to Call Again
If they were happy once, they’ll be happy again. A personal invitation in your response will inspire them to use your caregiving services again and refer others, as well. Those that read your reviews will learn that your clients are loyal to your service, and it’s a good start to building trust.
Give a Mention to Additional Services
In your response to a positive review, it might be an opportune time to highlight other services that you provide. For example, you might respond with something like, “We also offer companionship and transportation services if you ever have the need.” Just be careful not to be overly promotional or self-serving.
Responding to Neutral Reviews Is Also Important
Reviews aren’t always positive or negative. Once in a while, you might get a 3-star, middle-of-the-road review. What do you do with that?
Neutral reviews might contain a few negative comments along with something positive. You might also get neutral reviews that don’t say much at all. The reality is that something prompted them to leave a review, and for that reason, they deserve a response.
CRAFTING THE RIGHT REVIEW RESPONSE: NEUTRAL REVIEWS
Always Thank Neutral Reviewers
Start every neutral review with a thank you, just as you would for a positive or negative review. Remember, they took the time to write something up, and they deserve to be thanked for taking their time to do it.
Focus on the Positive When You Manage Reviews
Build on any positive feedback that the reviewer mentioned. Repeat it in your response even if the reviewer also included negative feedback. Readers generally give the most weight to your initial comments, so focus on positive comments before addressing other feedback.
Don’t Overlook Negative Comments in Your Review Response
Respond to negative comments in neutral reviews much the same as you would a wholly negative review. Thank them for their input, be accountable, issue a brief apology, and commit to making it right. Offer an opportunity to speak with someone at your agency and give contact information.
Address Specific Issues Offline
You wouldn’t address problems in your agency in front of others, so avoid airing your dirty laundry online. Ask them to provide details via phone or email.
Your branding and reputation are on the line when clients review your services. They have multiple online sources where they can give you star ratings and comments. It’s not only what you say in your responses to them that counts. It’s whether you choose to respond and the impression they get from your response. You have little control over positive, negative, and neutral reviews. The right responses enhance your brand greatly and improve your bottom line.
There’s a little skill involved in crafting the most appropriate responses. The suggestions listed here will help. Bear in mind that posting responses takes time, effort, and thought to get it right and keep track of all the review sites. Professional marketers at SeniorCareClicks are familiar with the sources where senior caregiving clients leave reviews. You can take the hassle out of review responses when you leave them in the hands of experienced digital marketers. Call us at 954-401-9058 today to get started.
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”!