There’s no denying that online reviews matter for your elder care website. After all, due to the nature of care, you’re providing seniors and their families, it’s imperative that you have an impeccable reputation. While the occasional negative review won’t likely break you, it’s important to know why reviews are critical to your business and how you can handle them. Remember, how you behave on your end is just part of the equation — the other half sits in the hands of how the public perceives you and the experiences they have with your business.
With the meteoric rise of social media sites, online directories, instant share apps and so much more, to say online reviews are influential is an understatement.
What are Online Reviews?
Reviews are vital in maintaining credibility online. The statistics don’t lie.
- 91% percent of people between the ages of 18 to 34 trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, says Search Engine Journal.
- 84 percent of people of all ages trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, according to Inc.com.
- People want a business to have at least 40 online reviews before they believe the business’ average star rating.
- Three out of four people say they avoid advertising completely, preferring to rely on online reviews.
Of course, you want your home care business to look credible in the eyes of potential patients and their families. Those looking for care for their elderly loved ones need to know they can trust the caregivers they choose. Your whole business model is built on this premise. Just as if you were providing care to children, trust forms the very foundation of your values and your services. You have an even greater duty of care to provide to your clients than, say, a local pizza shop, retail boutique, or Internet service provider. People’s lives are in your hands.
So, if you can’t instill trust, you will have a hard time staying afloat. In your industry, online reviews are critical. Relatives looking for care for a loved one have countless resources at their fingertips. They can go anywhere, search anywhere. They’ll be bombarded with a lot of information from every angle, including all your competitors. Often, the one defining element that makes things personal is the online review.
Online reviews, in a nutshell, are bits of feedback from previous customers that appear on a multitude of sites, from your own website to Google to social media platforms. These reviews can be positive or negative in nature, or sometimes right in the middle. When someone is inspired by your company’s performance, whether in a good or not so good way, they take to the Internet to tell everyone about their experience. Hopefully, these reviews are glowing, but this isn’t always the case.
Online reviews are a slightly different take on the traditional word of mouth marketing strategy, made popular in this burgeoning digital age, offering outside perspectives on services and products from any given company. These customer reviews can significantly impact the growth of your elder care agency.
Why Do Online Reviews Matter?
There are many reasons:
- They provide social proof: It’s no secret that social proof fuels decisions online. Online reviews are no doubt the largest source of social proof we have today, and they greatly influence which home care companies seniors and their family caregivers are choosing.
- They ensure visibility: Successful branding means higher visibility. You can be the best in the world at what you do, but if no one can find you, what’s the point? Google…Facebook…you name it — all these sites have highly advanced ways of indexing and surfacing content, to be sure, but one thing they all place a high value on is original and relevant content. Online reviews are a big part of this, allowing your businesses to be favored by the latest algorithms.
- They instill trust: As mentioned before, trustworthiness is a top characteristic to have as an elder care company. Positive online reviews help you build up trust in your audience, and play a big role in converting traffic to “sales.”
- They expand your reach: Good or bad, reviews — like a good piece of gossip — will spread like wildfire once posted. Embrace these reviews as a way of continuing the conversation about your company.
- They open lines of communication: With online reviews, you now have a direct line to speak with consumers and respond to comments. This forum allows for you to be honest and open with your audience, reinforce their positive reviews with messages of thanks, and even take the opportunity to rectify a less than stellar review to show you care about their experiences.
- They’re a big part of the decision making process: Essential in the decisions your clients are making about you, reviews can drive someone to choose your company over another simply through the power of persuasion. The people looking for your services will spend much more time researching you than someone looking for a bakery near them, for example. Your reviews will carry more weight because of what’s at stake. It’s rare that a family who needs care for a senior loved one would not turn to reviews before making a decision. Be a part of that decision-making process!