Guest post by Marissa Snook, Program Director for corecubed‘s home care marketing program, MOSTSM.
Online reviews: the very thought of opening up your home care agency, yourself, and your employees to allow the public to say anything and everything – the good, the bad, and the ugly – causes many agency owners to shrink away altogether from requesting them. Yet it’s important to realize how critical it is to have a good online reputation, and why you should embrace those reviews, even those that are less than stellar.
Consumers are relying on review sites to determine whether or not to engage a business in greater numbers than ever. Recent research shows that as many as 84% of consumers say that they trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends and family, while 74% state that positive reviews lead them to have more trust in a business. And, per the results of a recent Home Care Benchmarking Study from Home Care Pulse, reputation is among the top five reasons that consumers select to work with a home care agency.
Your agency’s reputation is one of its greatest assets, so it’s important to encourage your happy customers to share their experiences. The following steps can help:
Utilize Review Sites. Customers won’t be able to provide a review of your agency if they’re unable to find it on review sites. Set your agency up with a profile on Facebook, Yahoo, Yelp, and aging care industry review sites such as Caring.com.
Request Reviews. In BrightLocal’s recent survey, 70% of consumers stated that they will leave a review for a business when requested. Your customers appreciate the services you provide, and will likely be more than happy to leave a glowing review in return.
Remove Obstacles. If it’s complicated for your customers to leave a review, they’re more likely to give up on the process. However, including a direct link to your review profiles in places like your newsletter, your website, and as part of your email signature simplifies the process and increases the likelihood of obtaining more reviews.
Address the Negatives. In a perfect world, your agency would receive only glowing reviews. Yet as with any business, there will be customers who are less than satisfied – and vocal about the problems they’ve encountered. The key is to respond to criticisms immediately and professionally. Doing your best to smooth over ruffled feathers lets other consumers know that your agency cares deeply about its clients as well as about continuously improving processes.
Show Your Appreciation. Appreciating your customers through something as simple as a heartfelt “thank you” can be all it takes to brighten their day and leave them with a warm and fuzzy feeling about your agency. Think of additional creative ways to show your gratitude to your loyal clients and referral sources to let them know how thankful you are for their continued business, such as mentioning them on social media, providing a discount coupon for free or reduced-price services, sending a hand-written note with a gift card to a local coffee shop tucked inside, etc. Your gratefulness will not only warm hearts, it will encourage them to tell others about you and your services.
In today’s crowded marketplace, consumers have a variety of choices when it comes to home care services. The agency with a reputation for going above and beyond with exceptional service, personal touches, and quick and efficient resolution of any issues will stand out. Ensure that agency is yours by enhancing your reputation through online reviews.
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