When we want to know something, we automatically do a Web search. It is quick, convenient, and provides current information. So, when a family needs to find assistance for an aging parent, or senior needs to make plans when they reach their golden years, they search the Web. They conduct searches for available options and the personal experiences of others. An Internet survey conducted by Pew indicated that 8 out of 10 caregivers have Web access, and 90% of those individuals use it for finding health information for someone else. Since seniors, their families, and caregivers utilize this resource, it makes sense for those providing elder services to create a professional, personal, and positive on-line presence.
A recent survey conducted by G5, a provider of services to senior living facilities, indicated that 75% of consumers do not trust what companies say about themselves; consumer reviews are twelve times more likely to be trusted. For this reason, a facilities website should not only include client’s positive comments and news articles related to the service you provide, but also objective informational content from external sources.
Reputation management must be a priority for senior living providers. The first step is to monitor what information about your facility is out there and attempt to maintain positive feedback. This is not always easy as there is no way to have complete control over what others say about your facility. The key is to maintain a commitment to quality service and make sure any problems that could negatively impact the image of the facility are resolved quickly and publicly.
There will be information on the Web about your facility. You need to take charge of your on-line reputation by doing the following:
- Establish an on-line presence with a website and participation in social networks. You want to make sure your target market (seniors and their families) are able to find you online.
- Encourage those you serve to provide positive feedback. You want those who are considering your facility to view you as trustworthy.
- Create informational content on your website with a forum, blog, or e-newsletter. This content can contribute to your credibility, an important foundation for your online presence.
- Use Google Alerts to find out what is being posted about your facility. You need to know what others are saying about your facility. Remember: it is important to address any problems as quickly as possible.
- Have a way for site visitors to contact you. Determine the best way to establish a connection with your site visitors.
You want to make sure that your website is quick to load, professional looking, and easy to navigate. If you do not have someone connected to your facility with the capability to produce a quality site, consider hiring a professional. Look for one with experience producing sites for elder care facilities, as they will know what areas need to be addressed to generate traffic and meet the needs of those exploring the options you provide.
Caregivers, seniors, and their families are utilizing the Internet to obtain information and following the progress of individuals’ health situations on blogs and public forums such as Facebook and Twitter. Taking advantage of the Internet and social media should be a priority for facilities that provide senior care.
At Highland Risk Services, we know the importance of reputation management. We will work with you to provide your client with the resources they need to facilitate a positive public image. Additionally, we know the insurance needs of these elder care facilities and can help design custom insurance packages for our agents and the clients they serve. Please contact us at one of our two offices in Chicago at 847-832-9100 or Phoenix at 847-832-9099.