Kent Lewis is President of Anvil Media, a measurable marketing agency based in Portland, Oregon specializing in search engine optimization, pay-per-click, social media marketing and online reputation management. Here, Kent shares tips on managing your online reputation.
According to research by Harvard Business School, a single point increase in a Yelp five-star rating can increase revenue between five and nine percent. More importantly, senior living organizations can increase customer advocacy by up to 25 percent by replying to a review, or decrease advocacy by up to 50 percent by not replying. Senior care communities are dramatically affected by online reviews, so it is essential to be proactive about managing ratings. This post explores four secrets to growing your revenue via online reviews.
You can’t over-train employees to provide a compelling experience which increases the likelihood residents and their caregivers will write positive reviews. Take a lesson from Zappos and empower staff with autonomy and budget to delight clients & caregivers with gifts. Train staff specifically to identify happy residents/caregivers and encourage them to write reviews (not using any incentives or providing any specific guidance on what to say to avoid penalty). Set a goal of a 24-hour response time or less to negative reviews. Remember that positive reviews are excellent marketing opportunities; ask permission to utilize them as testimonials in your printed and online marketing materials.
Even if you are unable to create a world-class social media customer support team, it is still worthwhile to spend time monitoring social media, review sites and branded search results to identify unhappy residents, caregivers, employees and peers and responding in a timely manner. Acknowledging complaints is often the most important and effective step in resolving issues and repairing relationships. It all starts with the right keywords. The most common keywords relating to Online Reputation Management include “company” or “location name” + “reviews”, “customer reviews,” “ratings” and “feedback.” Consider negative modifiers like “substandard care”, “poor service,” and “employee issues”. Also evaluate situational modifiers like “accident,” “labor dispute,” etc. Search for these terms regularly in search engines and on review sites for issues and opportunities.
To ensure you are identifying potential issues in a timely manner, utilize online monitoring tools. A good place to start is free or low-cost tools like Google Alerts, SocialMention and Mention.net. Set up keyword alerts (mentioned earlier) for your company name, location name and key staff. Aggregate and analyze the data to look for trends in terms of particular facility or employee issues to address directly or publicly. Consider creating a monthly report that tracks results for branded searches over time to gauge sentiment and progress in mitigating less-desirable results.
Set up Social Profiles
Claim and optimize social media profiles so they rank for branded searches and push down other less desirable results (bad reviews, blog posts or articles). Create, optimize and syndicate compelling content for your website, blog and social media platforms to ensure they rank well for branded search terms like “community name” or “company name.” Utilize the platforms for customer service and support, as a subset of your customers will prefer to communicate via platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Remember to link to your social profiles from your website (and vice versa) and make sure all important pages of your website are shareable in social media using one of the many plugins available.
While negative reviews have damaging potential, they also offer tremendous opportunity. According to research, a single unhappy customer is likely to tell five friends about their negative experience. Those who have their issues resolved are likely to tell ten friends about the resolution, which creates significant goodwill and doubles your effective reach. In the end, delighting customers is the single most effective strategy to grow your revenue and protect your brand online.