What to Do When Funeral Home Reviews Go Bad

What’s your immediate response to a negative online review? Does the following sound familiar?

Your blood pressure rises; you feel heat in your cheeks. Your side of the story runs through your head—the person misunderstood or misrepresented the situation, and now people are reading this negative information about your firm.

Like Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, you’ve been betrayed!

While it’s natural to feel this way, deathcare business owners and operators must keep their cool in the face of negative reviews. That negative review isn’t your Brutus, but your own inappropriate reaction to it could be what stabs you in the back.

Why Does a Negative Review Feel Like Betrayal?
Funeral homes and other deathcare providers work hard to serve families in need, attempting to ensure a difficult time is less so because of the quality of your services and products. Suddenly seeing that a family wasn’t satisfied after all can be a punch to the gut.

What a Negative Review Really Signifies
In most cases, negative online reviews aren’t personal. No one is leading a coup against you, and while rare instances of online reviews stem from personal differences, most reviewers are trying to help someone. They might even be trying to help you.

Around 44 percent of women and 32 percent of men say they leave negative reviews to help a business improve. Other common reasons for such reviews include:

  • Warning others about scams or dishonest businesses
  • Providing information to help others make better buying decisions
  • To simply share an experience

Only around 16 percent of North Americans say they have left a “revenge review” because a business provided poor service or quality.

Tips for Dealing With a Negative Review
With that in mind, here’s a three-step process for facing negative reviews from legitimate clientele:

1. Step away from the issue long enough to cool down. Angry or hurt responses don’t work well here.
2. Reach out to the reviewer privately to resolve potential misunderstandings or offer solutions.
3. Respond publicly (and with tact and compassion). Demonstrate that you’re willing to work out the issue or tell your side of the story. Responding lets others know that your firm cares about its reputation and its clientele.

You never know when a negative review might hit your Google profile—these don’t come with a “beware-the-Ides-of-March-style” warning. Being prepared to respond correctly when it does happen goes a long way to protecting your funeral home’s online reputation.

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