By Susan Saldibar

I rely on star ratings and reviews.

You rely on star ratings and reviews.

Your friends rely on star ratings and reviews.

Your family members rely on star ratings and reviews.

(Get where I’m going with this?)

Your prospects rely on star ratings and reviews. 

And it gets better (or worse) ….

52% of adults over 55 (BrightLocal study) said that they wouldn’t use a business with anything less than four stars. Wow. But I believe it.

Because about four years ago, when I was looking into assisted living for my mom, I wouldn’t even touch a community with less than four stars. And I combed through the reviews, focusing on the negative ones to see how the community responded.

That’s what your prospects are doing right now. 

Nobody knows this like Caring (a Foresight partner) does. They’re the folks behind the prestigious Caring Stars awards. They know exactly what you have to do to get more stars and better reviews and basically dominate your market.

But first, there’s this:

  • The pandemic boosted online use. In 2022, only 2% of consumers said they “never read” online reviews. That means 98% are reading your reviews.
  • For Caring referrals in 2021, listings that had 16+ reviews averaged nearly three times more leads, four times more tours, and five times more move-ins than those with only one to two reviews.
  • Reviews with responses can yield 12% more reviews.

Perfect segue into these five tips (and believe me there are tons more):

  1. Bake the “ask” into your culture.
    • Be open to feedback. Build a culture that craves feedback. Check in with residents and staff regularly. How are they doing? How can you help? Developing a culture of openness to feedback creates a good foundation for reviews.
    • Engage and excite staff. That means going beyond just celebrating a great review. Make sure your staff understands the importance of getting reviews online and how to ask for them.
    • Build asking for reviews into your standard operating procedure. For example, show a sample review solicitation in your onboarding kit or welcome package — explain how to invite residents and families to share the reasons they chose your community and why others should consider it too.
    • Respond to each compliment with a review ask. When you get a compliment, it’s an opportunity to ask if they’d be willing to share that great feedback online to help other seniors and their families find your services too.
  1. Never, ever pay or incentivize for reviews. Not only is this outdated, it’s prohibited by the major reviews platforms and discouraged by the Federal Trade Commission too.
  2. Don’t ask your vendors, colleagues, or friends for reviews. Ask for reviews from cognitively healthy residents and their families/friends who visit the community.
  3. Never, ever apologize for the ask. 
    • That means, don’t say (with wrinkled brow), “I’m sorry to have to ask, but would you mind giving us a review?”
    • Instead say, “You know, we’d really like your feedback. We’d love to have you go online and share a review so we can help other families like yours find our services too.”

Believe it or not, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Caring has lots of detailed information about online reputation management you should check out.

But here’s why you really need to explore Caring’s information about reviews: 

  • They have lots of support materials, such as info on how to ask, platform-specific tips, templates for sending review solicitation emails, and more.
  • They have “who to ask” and “who not to ask” tips.
  • They have scenarios that really drive home how to handle reviews for maximum results.
  • And they can show data on the impact reviews can have — including the fact that Caring Stars winners averaged nearly twice as many inquiries and almost three times as many move-ins as non-winning listings in the last two years.

If you haven’t already done so, you should work to get the Caring Stars award. It isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. Prospects care about it. They’ll look for the award icon on websites. I did.

For more information, contact [email protected], or call 650-762-8190. They also offer information online here.