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5 Steps for Responding to Negative Reviews

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Picture2Before online review sites and the Internet, how did families share what they thought about your funeral home with others? Maybe they chatted in the parking lot after a funeral service or at the grocery store while shopping or on the phone. If a family was unhappy with their experience, you, as a funeral service professional, might not have known about it until months later. You might not have even been given the opportunity to respond because you never heard about the complaint.

Enter online review sites: a forum for customers to share their positive and negative experiences with a much broader audience. These sites — think Google Business, Facebook, Yelp — now provide businesses like funeral homes with the opportunity to join the conversation.  Anyone searching for a funeral home in your area may find your website, but they will also see your Google business listing and how the public has rated your funeral home (learn more about Google My Business). They may also see an obituary post on Facebook, visit your Facebook page and read there what families think about your funeral home (your business is most likely on Facebook, whether you like it or not – see lie #3 in this post).

While negative reviews can be intimidating, they can actually be positive for you in the long run. If you respond appropriately, a negative review can demonstrate to a grieving family why you’re a place they’d want to take their loved one.

So how do you accomplish this? How should you respond to negative online reviews? Check out these five suggestions for responding in a professional and caring manner.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Grieving Online – No Apologies Needed

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Everyone has those Facebook friends who overshare every aspect of their lives – from what they had for breakfast that morning to their thoughts on last night’s political debate. It’s easy to grow weary of those who overshare.

oversharing

There’s an etiquette that’s slowly developed around being a good online friend (read more 14 Do’s and Don’ts; Essential Facebook Etiquette) and approaching online interactions with care, but the lines are still blurred when someone has experienced loss.  Read the rest of this entry »

Reasons for Funeral Homes NOT to be on Facebook

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3-16 Rodriguez FacebookIn speaking with funeral directors, OGR has discovered that many are unsure if their funeral home should be on Facebook (read 4 Lies About a Funeral Home Facebook Page).  Amidst the pros and cons of such a decision lies the ultimate question. What is your purpose for being on Facebook? Identifying your social media mission can help with determining whether your firm should have a presence online.

It’s generally easier to come up with reasons not to do something than to come up with reasons to take action. While this blog isn’t meant to be a comprehensive look at having an online presence, it does briefly touch on pros and cons for being online.

Below are a few reasons why a Facebook page won’t work for your business, but also a few reasons for why it might … Read the rest of this entry »

4 Lies about a Funeral Home Facebook Page

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“Facebook is for the younger generation.”

“There’s no evidence we’ll get any return on investment from Facebook.”

“Not having a Facebook page prevents families from positing negative reviews of my funeral home.”

“It takes too much time to figure out how to use Facebook for business.”

Do any of these statements sound familiar?  While many funeral homes are already connecting with their families online and providing a space for them to get information, connect with their loved ones, and learn more about funeral service, other funeral home are not. These firms are skeptical about putting any time into Facebook.  Read the rest of this entry »

Dealing with Negative Online Reviews for Funeral Homes

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This week’s guest post is by Robin Heppell of Funeral Futurist, a funeral home consulting business. Robin presented at OGR’s Fall Forum on the hazards of the Internet and how online reviews can benefit and harm your firm. This week’s post* delves more extensively into this topic. Read below for Robin’s tips for handling negative online reviews.

How did you feel when you saw your first negative online review? Mad, irritated, concerned?

I have had a couple of clients who found themselves in this position. After talking through it, we put a plan together to make the most out of the situation.

badreviews2Before we talk about the plan, I want to debunk some bad advice. Some people say not to respond to negative reviews because those reviews will be the first ones people see when they visit your Yelp or Google page. The problem with this strategy is that people are going to find poor reviews anyway, and if left unanswered, the complaint has more power.

I recommend responding to every negative review – but you can’t just blurt something out – you have to make sure that you have a methodical plan.

Here is my 3 step plan for dealing with negative reviews.  Read the rest of this entry »

How Can Facebook Interaction Impact My Funeral Home?

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OGR Vander Plaat FH
Vander Plaat Funeral Home in Wyckoff, NJ              Firm of OGR President Bill Brock

When people drive by your funeral home, what do you want them to remember about that brief encounter? At the very least, most owners want to be remembered for something positive like the pink rose bushes that were planted or the beautiful gold doors that were installed. Why? Because your building is a physical representation of your business, and the way you represent your business matters.

But, as many of us know, there are many other ways that people are able to gather a first impression of your funeral home and because of the internet, people are more likely to have their first encounter with your business online. The same way you control what people see when they drive by your place of business is the same way you can have control of what people see when they encounter your business online.  Read the rest of this entry »