online reviews

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 »

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 »