As child care business owners, we’d love to think that our raving fans will immediately take to the web and give us a five-star review. Unfortunately, in the real world, the reviews you are accustomed to seeing online don’t usually appear out of the blue. It takes consistent work and perseverance from the business owner.
In this article, we’ll explore the importance of these reviews and the steps you should take to help you earn reviews from customers.
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Just some of the benefits of online reviews
Convey your worth
When you are shopping online or researching a service, you check the reviews, right? That’s because they’ve become the standard of quality measurement. People determine their opinion of you quickly based on those stars. In other words… they carry a lot of weight.
When parents research child care options, you can bet that most of them are going to dig deep into the reviews and make assessments of your ability to provide great care for their kiddos. In our child care business, we often hear, “We read great reviews about you online” as one of the primary factors for contacting us.
Add reviews to marketing materials for a powerful effect
There are so many ways you can reuse your ratings that will be a natural and reassuring way to communicate the quality of care you provide. You can showcase your ratings and reviews by::
- Displaying them on your website
- Putting your star rating on school vehicles
- Inserting your ratings on the bottom of your email signature
- Adding reviews and ratings to your brochures or other printed collateral
- Placing your star ratings on outdoor advertising such as on lawn signs
Have a gameplan before seeking reviews
Know the guidelines
When it comes to getting reviews, different sites have different rules. For example, Yelp encourages businesses not to ask customers for reviews, as they feel it could be biased if you asked for it. On the other hand, Google does suggest asking customers for reviews. So make sure you’re aware of the rules for each platform.
(By the way — even though platforms such as Yelp don’t allow you to solicit customers to give reviews, they do provide many collateral materials such as website badges and storefront stickers that say “Find us on Yelp!’ and other items of that nature that provide subtle reminders to review your business.)
Don’t ask for all your reviews at once
Allow for a slow trickle, as getting tons of reviews at once could backfire. The review sites want the reviews to be genuine and not forced, so having people barrage the site all at once isn’t going to help you appear authentic. You want to reach out to only a few customers at a time and spread out your reviews to avoid being trapped in the basement of their spam algorithms.
Which platforms should child care businesses get reviews on?
I feel that right now, you should focus on what I consider to currently be the big three review sites: Google, Facebook and Yelp. In my experience, these ratings are usually the ones that display on Google’s search results and therefore, you should pay attention to these first.
How to get reviews
Just ask sincerely…
Sometimes just asking a parent who mentioned how much their child loves your school is the easiest way. Start with: “I’m so glad (child name) loves it here at our school! – if you don’t mind, a review would be very helpful for our business.”
Remember, don’t be embarrassed to ask for a review even though it might feel awkward at first. Smart businesses ask customers for reviews!
Want proof? Recently, the company that came to fix my chimney asked me for a review, and I gave them one! In fact, here’s a screenshot of my review — it worked for them and it’ll work for you!
Get reviews on the spot
One easy way to have parents write a review while they are in your daycare is to have them open their camera on their phone and hover over a printed QR code. It will instantly take them to a review site of your choice and allow them to easily enter their review.
Here’s an example of how to create a QR code for Google Reviews. Once that’s done, it’s easy to post a printed sign on the wall with the QR code on it with a message above the code asking for reviews!
Email a link
If you know you have a satisfied parent, reach out to them by email and provide a direct link to one of the review sites of your preference. I like to rotate between Google, Facebook and Yelp reviews to make our reviews appear balanced.
It’s also a good idea to start having employees review your business on employer-based sites such as Indeed or Glassdoor. Many potential employees are researching your company as much as customers. And if you’re aspiring to be a great child care business, you want your employees to be every bit as happy with your company as your customers are.
Furthermore, parents may be interested in how you are treating your employees, as it may reflect how well they’ll treat the children in their care. Therefore, it’s good practice to use the same methods described above to accumulate good employee reviews.
Dealing with negative reviews
The best defense is accumulating good reviews
Occasionally, you may receive a negative review. Don’t worry — it happens to everyone.
Using the methods suggested here, you should be receiving a steady stream of positive reviews that will counterbalance the occasional negative review. Once you develop enough positive reviews, your star rating will ideally hover between four and five stars, which will definitely help offset the occasional negative review.
Remember — no one is perfect and even the best products on Amazon have people who weren’t pleased and gave one-star reviews.
Responding to reviews
Always respond to negative reviews. Showing people that a solution was offered for a negative review in a professional manner will go a long way towards convincing readers that you tried to resolve the issue. People will infer from your response that you tried to make things right and I believe it will diminish the impact of the negative review.
If you wish to, some sites also recommend responding to positive reviews as well. Personally, I would recommend only responding to positive reviews in a personal fashion. For example, don’t copy and paste the same reply to every review. Rather, take the time to personalize your response to the reviewer so the customer feels that you took the time to appreciate and thoughtfully respond to their review.
Sometimes negative reviews can be submitted by someone who isn’t even a customer or is just out to spread negativity. In cases like this, or in the case of other inappropriate reviews, always “report” the review so it can potentially be removed by the site.
Make reviews are part of your child care business’s strategy
Reviews should be a critical part of your child care marketing and business strategy. And as you can see, it takes a lot more thought and planning to get credible reviews than just a one-time email blast asking for positive reviews.
Just follow these three easy steps to getting reviews that will rock!
- Sincerely ask customers for reviews and make it easy for them to get it done
- Respond to reviews
- Use your reviews to boost your marketing