How To Manage & Respond To Online Reviews
For funeral homes, there’s little that matters more than reputation.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of actors in the industry who employ high pressure sales tactics and leave families feeling like they’ve been swindled. This has made consumers very wary of funeral homes with anything but a spotless reputation – in part because of stories like this one about pre-payments being mishandled.
There are a few ways people find businesses – and funeral homes, specifically. The biggest attractor of clients is probably still word of mouth – people will choose the funeral home that their family members and other loved ones recommend.
Other people are very research-oriented, and will go online to find the best funeral home. Even if a funeral home has been recommended to them, they’ll almost definitely check its reviews before committing to so much as a phone call.
Here’s where things get a bit complex. You want to have almost exclusively positive reviews in order to attract those research-minded clients. You also want a very large number of reviews because a constant stream of reviews will help you perform better on search engines, attracting those clients who always go online to find businesses.
Basically, you need a review management strategy. We’re going to provide you with one, then give you some tips on how to respond to reviews. For more info, click on
Finding reviews and claiming your profile
Your first step is going to be finding out where you’re being reviewed. Funeral homes have some advantages on this front compared to other businesses – it’s unlikely you’re being reviewed on, say, TripAdvisor (though they’re still worth checking).
You’ll want to check sites like Yelp. You’ll also want to check Facebook, Google, the Better Business Bureau, and other popular review sites. In Canada, Three Best Rated often performs well in search engines – they only pick 3 businesses in any given area to list, but it could be worth contacting them and making sure your listing is accurate.
The next step is to claim your listing on all relevant sites. We’ve already done a comprehensive guide to Google My Business that covers claiming your listing on Google. Most review sites allow you to claim your listing for free – it’s definitely worth the effort.
Creating a review management schedule
Now that you know where you’re being reviewed and you’ve claimed your profile, you can start managing reviews.
This might go without saying, but review management isn’t as simple as deleting your bad reviews on sites that give you that option to. In fact, doing so is a very bad idea.
Doing review management properly takes effort. Optimally, you’ll be responding to every single review you get across all platforms, good or bad. That’s going to take some time – especially if you’re only starting to manage your reviews now.
Once you’ve gone through the backlog (we’ll teach you how to respond to reviews in the next section), you’re going to create a schedule so you can stay on top of new reviews. You can get review management software that notifies you when you get a new review, but for many businesses, checking reviews once a day is sufficient.
The rate at which any two businesses get reviews can be markedly different. Funeral homes tend not to get very many reviews, so you might start by checking your reviews once a week.
In our next section, however, we’re going to try to get you more reviews. Remember, the more reviews you get, the better you’ll rank in search engines (as long as the majority of your reviews are positive).
Getting more reviews for your funeral home
If you want more reviews (and you do), you have to ask for them. Obviously, the timing on this is a bit delicate – you don’t want to say “I’m so sorry for your loss, please give us a 5-star review on Google, it really helps out our business”. Instead, consider sending follow-up emails or texts that (gracefully) ask for reviews.
Another way to get more reviews is by using review management software. There are various ways to build this type of software – look for a service that offers:
- A way to weed out bad reviews (more on those in the next section)
- Automated messages sent after a certain trigger has been met (i.e. two weeks after the service)
- Customizable messages
- Review monitoring
Once you start asking your clients for reviews, you’ll notice an influx. That’s when you’ll start having to monitor your reviews more frequently.
Responding to reviews
You want to respond to each and every review. Positive reviews are simple: you can say something like “Thank you for the kind words” or even “Thank you for the review”. You can also opt for more personalized responses – this is an industry where client care is of the utmost importance, after all.
Responding to negative reviews can be trickier – you’re going to want to take them offline. You don’t want to have a public dispute with the person who is reviewing you.
That means you’ll want to respond with something like “I’m sorry to hear your experience with us didn’t meet your expectations – our funeral director will send you an email to see how we can make things right”.
From there, follow up! Meet with them in-person, over the phone – whatever works best for them – and try to solve their problem. When this is done right, you can turn a negative experience into a positive experience – and a negative review into a positive review.
There are review management softwares that can help take some of the load off – instead of posting bad reviews, they send the reviews directly to you so you can manage them in-house and offline.
While review management can take a lot of work, it’s well worth the effort – you improve your image and improve your ranking in search engines. You don’t have to do it alone, either – we are here to help.