NOTE: Monitoring your funeral home’s online reputation is a requirement for success in the digital age. Try our free Review Scan now for an instant reputation report on your funeral home.
Reputation: It’s one of the most important aspects of any type of business. When it comes to funeral homes, it’s probably the most important one of all.
If your reputation isn’t pristine, why would anyone trust you with pre-need or at-need services for themselves or their loved one? Can you imagine looking into death care services online and coming across a funeral home with a 2.5-star rating on Google reviews? You wouldn’t go anywhere near that service provider.
That’s why protecting your online reputation — and improving it, if necessary — is so critical for a funeral home owner. Just as word-of-mouth reputation is so important in your community, your online reputation is critical to your success.
I’ve worked with numerous business owners who wish online reviews would simply disappear. They find it unfair that nitpicky customers can post unfairly negative ratings and comments. They worry that duplicitous competitors or just everyday trolls will spam their business profiles with made-up reviews.
And yes, all of that does happen. Regardless, the frauds and nitpickers make up a small minority of those reviewing businesses online. Most people who take the time to leave a review do so with good intentions.
Like them or not, online reviews are not going anywhere. Don’t fight it. Work with the system and use it to your advantage.
And actually, reviews are beneficial in many ways. Of course, positive reviews are best. They support your funeral home’s good reputation, improve word of mouth and set potential clientele at ease for both pre-need and at-need cases.
However, the quantity of reviews can be almost as important as quality. More reviews make your business appear more legitimate and established.
A higher quantity of reviews also helps your website’s search engine optimization. Search engines consider how often your funeral home has been reviewed when ranking your site against local competitors.
A business that’s been reviewed 50 times — even if some reviews are negative — typically ranks higher than one with only a dozen reviews, even if they’re uniformly positive.
For most business types, there are many different ways to promote positive reviews. However, the death care industry is a bit different. I realize how important it is to follow a reverent, professional approach in all business dealings in death care.
With that said, there are thoughtful, responsible ways to encourage satisfied family members to review your business. It requires more nuance and discretion than for other business types, but it can be done.
For example, in a follow-up email, you can include buttons and/or links that click-through to your review pages. Don’t push them on the reader with something like “Review us on Google!” Just place them at the bottom. Your clientele will get the idea.
If you do this, it’s obviously best to wait for a bit following the services before sending the follow-up email. Understanding the right amount of timing is key to being effective.
Another option is to employ user-friendly software. At Ring Ring Marketing, we offer a specialized software solution that makes it easy to manage your online reputation.
This solution monitors your online reputation in real time, letting you know whenever reviews of your business appear online. It also provides a way to “head off” negative reviews by routing customers with concerns to contact your directly before they criticize your funeral home online.
If you do get a negative review, never respond on the platform by criticizing the reviewer or arguing over the review’s merits. Nothing will hurt your credibility more than appearing angry or combative.
Instead, reach out in a positive manner: Inquire about anything that might have been unclear in the review. Depending on the situation, you can do this through a private message or by commenting directly on the review. Either way, always be exceedingly professional and empathetic.
If the harsh critique was fair, apologize profusely and promise that you’ll address the issue going forward. If it wasn’t fair, don’t argue. Seek to determine why the reviewer criticized your business and try to win that person over. Many people will update a bad review after a good interaction with the business owner.
Mitigate negative reviews whenever possible, but try to stay focused on thoughtfully promoting positive review generation when it’s proper to do so.
(NOTE: Monitoring your funeral home’s online reputation is a requirement for success in the digital age. Try our free Review Scan now for an instant reputation report on your funeral home.)