Don’t wait for reviews to come in, go out and get ‘em!
By Michelle Seitzer
Don’t wait for reviews to come in, go out and get ‘em!
That’s the proactive MO of Lucie Barry-Punches, Pacifica Senior Living’s director of social media marketing & digital communications, and it’s one of many reasons Pacifica’s online presence stands out in the industry, bringing them “Best of the Best” recognition and success in sales and marketing.
Check out data from Senior Housing Forum partner Caring.com and best practices from Pacifica Senior Living to make sure you’re not just managing your online reputation, but maximizing every opportunity to showcase the great things happening in your community.
Yes, Your Prospects Are Online
Adult daughters aren’t the only ones searching for senior living. Pew Research Center data from April 2017 says 87% of today’s prospective senior living consumers (ages 65+ with an annual income of $75K) are online and using the Internet daily.
Caring.com tracks the use of their Senior Living Directory, and their data & case studies show:
- Senior care searchers online click the listings with reviews and skip those that don’t have them.
- Family advisors who refer prospects are also reading reviews: to get a general sense of how well the community is serving its customers and bolster confidence in referring prospective residents to those communities.
- Caring Stars communities (providers who have earned great reviews from family caregivers and older adults on Caring.com) typically double the volume in generating leads, tours, and move-ins.
- Senior living communities with 15+ reviews can have 8 times more move-ins.
- 48% of prospects trust senior care review sites more than other sources.
Carving out an online reputation is important because that’s where your consumers are.
Why Negative Reviews Aren’t All Bad
But what if you’re out there and you get — or stumble upon — a negative review? It’s actually a good thing because 1) you’re getting noticed, and 2) you can do something about it. Searchers are looking at your community, and they want to know you’re listening.
This goes back to Lucie Barry-Punches’ approach of actively seeking out reviews: “Reviews provide insight into what motivates, influences, or displeases our families and/or residents, and this feedback allows us to fine-tune their experience for the better,” she says. Also, reviews live online, to be discovered again and again by new web surfers. And if you don’t know what consumers are saying about you — good or bad — you can’t correct it.
What if someone says they had a horrible experience in your community’s dining room but you have a fantastic new director who’s come in and overhauled your entire dining program since that review was written? What if a reviewer complained about your community’s lack of technology and you’ve just invested in an innovative new falls detection platform?
Responding to online reviews provide daily opportunities for real-time engagement with prospective customers. Pay attention and lean in to create a reputation of responsiveness, instead of just being reactionary.
It’s Everyone’s Job
Another one of Pacifica’s best practices? Getting everyone on board with reputation management. The executive leadership team has actually encouraged the entire organization to proactively and regularly seek out new reviews from their residents and residents’ family members.
And they reward them for it: Pacifica hosts an incentive program among their employees (community vs. community) to engage them in this initiative: For example, the community with the most customer reviews by X date wins a pizza or ice cream party. They also do company-wide “shout-outs” or kudos to encourage their staff to seek authentic reviews from residents and residents’ family members.
And it’s paying off — they’re achieving significant sales and marketing success from their reviews and online profile management efforts. Their Caring.com listings with 6-15+ reviews (and other great content) are seeing more visits from search engines and getting far more inquiries, tours, and move-ins than their listings with fewer than 6 reviews. Twenty-two of their community listings have achieved enough consumer accolades to earn the Caring Stars award for service excellence, and in 2018, they were among the top 5 national operators for most winning listings.
Has the award affected their bottom line too? In a weekly call for its sales and marketing staff, Pacifica Senior Living’s Caring Stars communities are rarely, if ever, on the list of communities in their portfolio that need increased focus on occupancy — instead, these award-winning communities are meeting or exceeding the organization’s occupancy goals.
3 Things You Can Do Today
Launching a company-wide incentive takes time, so in the meantime, here are 3 quick ways to seize the day for a better online reputation (from a Caring.com webinar on responding to reviews):
Getting on the Learning Curve
Still skeptical about the world wide web of reviews and how to do online reputation management like a boss? Here’s why you should get Caring.com in your corner:
- The Caring.com site currently has more than 175,000 reviews — and that number is growing daily.
- Their industry blog has a whole page of resources devoted to reviews.
- Their Digital Marketing Academy webinars are designed to help you and your sales team carve out your community’s best online presence. Find out what’s on tap for this month and review archived presentations at their Events page.
- Their Partner Portal offers more than just help with reviews.
What are you waiting for? Get out there and get some reviews!
Not yet listing your communities on Caring.com? Learn more about becoming a partner today.
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