Growth and marketing insights for home care agencies from the Honor Care Network.
Here’s a common problem: your home care agency provides reliable, expert, compassionate caregivers. Most clients are satisfied and even recommend you to friends and neighbors. But when a potential client looks online for reviews to double-check that word-of-mouth referral, she finds only a few testimonials, some of them outdated, and maybe even a dissatisfied rant.
Boom. That potential client just scratched you off her list of agencies to call.
Online reviews really matter. Today, that’s how the majority of families who are looking for the best caregivers and home care agencies verify the quality of a service and vet a personal recommendation. How can you enhance your agency’s online reputation with a steady stream of solid, positive reviews?
Tip: Don’t just let reviews happen—make them happen.
Claim Your Business
Start by making sure your business has a presence on Yelp and Google. (Be sure your address, phone number, website, and other info is accurate and current. Then add some quality photos to illustrate why your agency is one of the best.) Claiming your business and updating all of your information is also key for improving your home care website’s SEO. Yelp is a widely-used platform, one that someone new to the search for home care is likely to land on first. And Google reviews matter too. In fact, Google factors the number of business reviews in its site ranking algorithms.
The home care lead generation platforms—Senior Care, care.com, caring.com, Senior Advisor, A Place for Mom, Care In Homes, and Aging Care—also give people a place to review your business and service. The more honest reviews you have on these sites, the better your agency’s ranking. So be sure to set up accounts on each platform, including correct contact information, real photos (not stock), services offered, and service areas, and then keep an eye on your agency reviews.
Be sure to make these review profiles easy for current and prospective clients to find. For example, include links to Yelp on your website and add a “find us on Yelp” link in your team’s email signature.
Listen for Review Opportunities
Reviews should happen organically. But that doesn’t mean you can’t invite a happy client to write a review. In fact, you should. If a client thanks you for amazing care or shares a story about how your agency has helped them or their loved one, let them know how much you value their feedback and that you’d really appreciate it if they shared their feedback in an online review.
If a client found you via a specific lead generation site, it’s natural to ask them to submit a testimonial on that platform. Example: “You found our agency through care.com—would you consider letting others in the care.com community know about your positive experience with us so they also can receive care from our amazing caregivers?”
Tip: If you keep your review requests genuine and framed in a helpful way, you’re likely to get a positive response to your request—and a positive review.
3 Steps to a Great Review
1. A client expresses a positive experience, in person, over the phone, or in an email.
2. Hear that feedback—and see an opportunity to invite a positive review.
3. Let the client know how much positive public reviews help other families find great caregivers through your agency, then direct them to Yelp, Google, or one of the lead gen sites.
Note: Yelp is the one platform that does not allow companies to solicit reviews directly. So don’t include a link to your Yelp listing in an email asking for a review! But do stay current with Yelp and make sure to feature badges on your website and in newsletters so it’s easy to find—and remind clients to share their honest reviews.
Tip: Don’t expect happy clients to leave positive reviews. Do expect unhappy clients to leave negative reviews. So always be ready to respond.
Respond to Reviews Promptly
When you respond to reviews, whether positive or negative, you show your clients that you value their feedback and are attentive to their needs, and listening across all platforms.
“It’s important to treat clients online just like you would offline,” says Natasha Vianna, who manages brand reputation at Honor. “Work fast to resolve issues and always thank people for positive reviews. By doing this and listening to our clients for review opportunities, we’ve quadrupled Honor’s positive Yelp reviews in one year.”
In our online-all-the-time world, people often use public reviews and social media platforms as a way to communicate with companies, especially when they’re feeling frustrated or disappointed in a service. By offering your clients a direct line of communication to your business, particularly to express less than ideal experiences, you may be able to minimize negative public reviews.
Tip: In all agency communications, invite your clients to share their feedback and comments directly with you—then be sure your team is trained and equipped to respond promptly and professionally.
When a client (or family member) writes a negative review, it’s important to address the complaint directly, both internally and online. Launch internal investigations promptly and let the client know you appreciate their feedback and that you’re taking the issue seriously. Respond online within 24 hours to show clients (both current and prospective) that you’re committed to their satisfaction and responsive to their needs.
“Responding promptly to service concerns on review sites is so important,” adds Vianna, “It publicly demonstrates your commitment to customer service. Family members looking for care want to know about other people’s experiences before trusting their loved one to your agency.”
Tip: Share your reviews—positive and negative—internally with your team and create a safe forum to discuss. Give props to those responsible for a great review. And learn from any negative reviews. Often, they can help you spot a small problem before it becomes a big one.
And finally, thank all of your reviewers! Let clients who have taken the time to share positive feedback online know how much it means to you, your team, and your caregivers. And also thank everyone on your team who contributed to the excellent care, service, or experience that inspired the review. Happier employees lead to happier clients!
Feeling overwhelmed by the day-to-day challenges of running a home care agency? Joining the Honor Care Network could help you get the support you need. When Honor becomes your HR and Operations partner, you’re able to deliver even better care to your clients and have more time to grow your business.