In this day and age, every business has to handle online reviews.
Whether they’ve helped catapult your funeral business success or have been a huge wake up call for your business, reviews have the potential to do BIG things for you.
In fact, today, 80% of consumers report that they rely on online reviews to find a service or product. Even if they are not specifically looking for reviews, any Google search will show you reviews that people have left on Google.
Yelp and Facebook reviews are also likely to show up on the first page of a Google search. Together, these three sites are the most frequent places people write reviews; plus, they’re the easiest sites for consumers to access.
Knowing the importance of online reviews for your business, here are a few tips for examining your online reviews presence:
Tip #1: Check out your current online presence
Be sure to do an extensive search on the reviews being posted about your funeral home on Google, Yelp, and Facebook. If you don’t pay attention to all three of these main sites, some reviews might sit online for years without you even knowing about them.
Tip #2: Respond to positive reviews
When there are positive reviews on your funeral home, it is important to reach out to the person to thank them for leaving the review. By responding you are going the extra mile for a person who already has a positive view of your company, further cementing your relationship with them. On Yelp and Facebook, replies can be sent both privately and publicly, while Google only has a public option.
Tip #3: Don’t ignore negative reviews
Ignoring a negative review leaves it posted on the internet forever, always giving a bad impression. However, even worse than ignoring the review is responding to it in an unprofessional manner. Seeing a company argue with a frustrated client online is likely to look even worse than the actual negative review.
Tip #4: When responding, remember the two “P’s”
Negative reviews can be a bit more complicated to deal with. After all, no one wants to read negative comments about their funeral business! But it’s important to remember the two “P’s” which are: “Pause” and “Professional”.
What do they mean? When you see a negative review, step away and PAUSE for a moment before responding so that you can gather your thoughts. Next, be professional in your response. Don’t take it personally (is that another P in there?!) and remember that the goal here is to make things right, which we’ll cover next…
Tip #5: Make things right
As hard as it may be because your ego might be bruised a little, it’s important to make things right with anyone who feels negatively about your business. You might not be successful, but it’s worth a try.
Send the reviewer a message and ask them to bring the conversation offline so you can address specifics and receive any feedback necessary. For more tips on this, check out this helpful guide from Forbes. Often, the reviewer will be glad to see someone from the company, especially the owner, reaching out to correct the problem.
Tip #6: If the issue is corrected, encourage a review update
Depending on how the above interaction goes, you can encourage the person to update their review. Perhaps they will actually recommend your company because their concerns were responded to! This won’t always happen, but there is potential to turn a wrong into an awesome right!
Tip #7: Address and flag incorrect reviews
Sometimes, the negative review left for your funeral home might have been posted by a former employee, a competitor, or accidentally be about another business all together.
If this is the case, you can flag the review and provide information on why the review is incorrect. This can result in the review being removed all together! There are always options. It’s just important to address and find them!
Tip #8: Check out your ranking compared to your competitors
A good place to start is by simply Googling your company and your local competitors. How do you rank among your competitors and how many overall reviews do your competitors have? You want to be sure to not only have a higher ranking, but a substantially larger overall number of reviews. Remember, if you have a 4.9 star ranking, but only 5 reviews and your competitor has a 4.7 star ranking and has 50 reviews, more people are likely to contact your competitor.
Tip #9: Encourage more reviews (but be patient)
Once you have a sense of where you stand among your competitors, it is time to increase your number of reviews. We all want instant gratification, but the reality is that it will take quite a bit of time to grow your reviews. If you try to do it quickly you are likely to run into some trouble.
Online platforms can see if you are suddenly getting a huge spike in reviews (for instance if you ask everyone in your family for a review), and these will often get flagged. The same is true if you send an email blast out to your clients. The platforms will be able to see things such as all the reviews deriving from the same email link.
Tip #10: Follow up with families after a service
The days after a service, be sure to follow up to see if everything was to their satisfaction. If something went wrong, the call is your opportunity to correct something before a potential negative review is left. If the family is happy with how things went they will still appreciate the follow up and you can encourage them to leave feedback.
Some will, but often only one out of every 10 people actually leave a review. Increasing your numbers will be a slow process, but the rate of reviews can accelerate over time and within a year or so of actively encouraging feedback and following up on reviews, the work will have paid off.
Tip #11: Keep it organic to avoid scams
Stay away from are businesses that claim to have the ability to increase your positive reviews through things like bots and fake accounts. These companies cannot actually make good on their promises and are likely to result in your online review platforms getting flagged for spam.
One final piece of advice
In many ways, online reviews are not that much different from old fashioned word of mouth. You will get reviews by working closely with clients, following up, and fixing any issues that they might encounter.
If you are a funeral business that is in integrity and truly cares about your client families, this can come very easy to you! It can be tricky to learn about reviews at first, but nothing a hard working, service orientated business like yours can’t handle!
Looking for a website platform that can help you leverage your online reviews? Then check out f1Connect, the funeral profession’s #1 website platform. Click here to learn more abd reach out to one of our Funeral Success Specialists, or give us a call at (800) 798-2575.
How does your funeral home use online reviews? Tell us your creative ideas below!