Don’t panic! While negative reviews may be a marketers’s nightmare, your hard-earned reputation doesn’t have to crumble because of one unhappy customer. In the senior living industry, reviews make a big impact along the buyer’s journey. Choosing a senior living community has a larger personal imprint than many other buying decisions dues to the human element. People want to ensure their family members get the best care and the best possible experience during this transition. By actively managing your relationships with your customers, you will be able to understand the buyer’s journey, improve or maintain your reputation, and quickly rebound after receiving a bad review. 

Best Practices for Responding to Bad Reviews

According to Bright Local’s Local Consumer Review Survey, 89 percent of consumers read businesses’ responses to online reviews. This makes it essential to have a strategy in place for responding to negative reviews as it may directly impact whether or not someone chooses to move their loved one into your senior living community. 

Respond Promptly

Quickly responding to reviews, both positive and negative, is important as you want to connect with the customer while the experience is fresh in their minds. Be sure to investigate the problem thoroughly before responding to the review so you are prepared with a thoughtful response. The more promptly you respond, the more likely you and the customer can land at a resolution. 

Acknowledge and Apologize

Every reviewer has their own personal experience, and while you may or may not agree with the details, it’s important to acknowledge their situation. Most often, an apology and acknowledgment of their experience are appropriate, even if you don’t think you did anything wrong. A little sympathy can go a long way when it comes to diffusing the situation. Remember, it’s possible to apologize without supporting their criticism. 

Be Specific In Your Response

Pay attention to the details of their review and speak briefly to their primary concerns. By recognizing the details of their experience, it shows you hear them and you care about the outcome of their unique situation. Reviewers expect you to take the time to read their concerns and they don’t appreciate generic, copy-pasted responses. Be authentic and truthful in how you respond to reviews. Your transparency shows prospects how you rectify problems when they arise at your senior living communities. Searchers like to see your values and your respect for customers, which goes a long way in managing and maintaining your reputation. 

Take the Conversation Offline

Avoid drawing negative attention by arguing back and forth with an unhappy customer. Instead, take the problem offline by inviting the reviewer to engage with you outside of the review site. Provide them with contact information if the online conversation starts to get out of hand. Say only what is necessary, making it short and sweet. Being quick and polite shows customers your willingness to take responsibility and work towards a better experience for all at your senior living community. 

Personalize Your Response

Your reputation management strategy must include responses to every review your community receives, both positive and negative. Responding to negative reviews shows a wider digital audience that you pay attention to criticism, you own up to your mistakes, and you take the time to engage with your customers. Your response also influences what the reviewer does next. Negative reviews that have been responded to often result in the reviewer following up with a positive review about the resolution. 34 percent of those reviews will delete their negative review altogether, which bodes well for your brand. 

Be sure to personalize your response and avoid using boilerplate templates when replying to reviews. The key to responding to bad reviews is to keep it personal and show users you are human. Own up to your mistakes, but don’t go overboard with your apology. Learning how to respond to negative reviews without getting too transparent or apologetic makes the process more efficient and increases your brand strength. Create a tone and style that fits your overall brand, image, and location. 

Develop a Reputation Management Strategy

Responding to bad reviews doesn’t have to cause panic at your senior living communities. By actively managing your reputation, you’ll always know what’s being said about your brand online. Closely monitor your reviews and responding shows your willingness to take responsibility for your communities through proactive engagement and follow-through. 

Reviews have a large impact on your digital marketing efforts beyond your online reputation. Download G5’s latest eBook, 20 Digital Touchpoints, to learn more about the effects of reviews throughout the buyer’s journey.