10 Dos and Don’ts of Getting Google Reviews for Your Funeral Home
By Haley Laurence, Digital Marketing Supervisor
According to Review Trackers, about 64% of people say they check Google reviews before interacting with a business.
The fact is, reviews are important to build your funeral home’s credibility. The more 5-star Google reviews you have, the better your funeral home’s reputation looks to families in your community.
That said, do you have a consistent way to get new Google reviews for your funeral home?
The easiest way is to incorporate this process into your aftercare program.
But if you’re gathering reviews on your own, here are 10 dos and don’ts to keep in mind.
1. Do: Provide excellent service
Nearly all funeral home owners I meet with mention their service as their #1 differentiator from their competition. And the success of your aftercare program is dependent upon the service you provide every family!
When you go above and beyond to meet a family’s every need (whether that’s through livestreaming, online planning, or other personal touches), they’ll be more willing to leave a Google review for your funeral home. They might even ask their family members or friends who attended the service to leave reviews too, depending on how well you served.
2. Don’t: Ask for Google reviews immediately
When a service ends, a family will be emotionally vulnerable in their grief and working on settling the loved one’s estate. Reaching out on the day of the service or in the first week isn’t ideal because families are still overwhelmed and wrapping up tasks. As things slow down with the funeral service, the work of closing someone’s estate is just beginning.
That’s why we recommend waiting until the start of the third week to reach out to a family for a review. But this shouldn’t be the first time the family hears from you again. You should be reaching out in the weeks before that to share grief resources and advice on settling a loved one’s estate. Provide value upfront, and then ask your family for a Google review.
3. Do: Get familiar with Google My Business
Google My Business (GMB) is a tool that helps you manage your funeral home’s presence on Google. With an account, you can:
– Post your business hours, address, etc.
– Share photos for your company
– Answer common questions
– Advertise with Google Ads
– And much more
Another important part of GMB is it allows you to respond directly to reviews and direct messages. Maintaining your GMB account can get complicated quickly, though. That’s where our Google Ads team can step in to help.
If you don’t have a Google My Business account for your funeral home, click here to learn how to build your profile.
4. Don’t: Give the family too many requests all at once
I’ve seen funeral homes bombard families with too many requests that caused the family to get overwhelmed and not fulfill any of them. Some of our customers (before working with us) used to ask every family to complete a feedback survey, a Google review, and a referral card.
That’s simply too much to dump on a grieving family.
If your goal is to improve the number of Google reviews, ask for a review. If it’s to get feedback to improve, send a survey. But don’t ask for more than one thing.
5. Do: Remind families to complete their Google reviews
Some funeral homes don’t want to appear pushy or bothersome by reminding a family to leave a Google review. We understand it can be uncomfortable. But remind them anyway!
Families are busy, so they might not see the request the first time. They might even forget all about it.
With our service, 54% of families who are asked to leave a Google review do so, and we send reminders as well. Most families don’t leave a review after the initial ask, so remind families 2 to 3 times if you have to.
Reach out over email, call, or text. Repetition is a good thing! If you provided great service, then asking them for a review shouldn’t be too hard.
6. Do: Make the review asking process personal
I’ve seen more Google reviews come in when specific funeral directors have asked for reviews. Families are more likely to leave a review for a specific person they’ve spent weeks getting to know, rather than write one for the funeral home as a whole. If your funeral directors provide incredible service, have them ask for reviews personally.
They can say, “I’d love to hear your feedback on how I served your family. If you could leave a review and mention my name, then that will help me to know how I can continue to serve families in the future. When you share your story with others, your review will help other grieving families see the service we can provide them.”
Be straight to the point when asking. Don’t appear unconfident or like you’re giving the family a large task to complete. For example, avoid saying something like, “If you’re not busy, you can give us a review. But if you can’t, I understand. No worries.” Don’t undersell the importance. Again, if you served a family well, they’ll comply with this request!
7. Don’t: Ask your friends or staff to write reviews
One day, my team noticed that one of our clients got a dozen reviews in a few days. When we looked into the situation, we discovered they asked their own family members, friends, and staff to write a review. Guess what happened next?
Google removed them.
Google will flag an influx of reviews as spam and remove them from your Google My Business account because it knows the reviews are coming from the same place. Trying to trick Google to inflate the number of reviews you have won’t work. Asking families for honest reviews is the best way to grow your review total.
After that incident I mentioned earlier, our client has seen more reviews come in from families. They don’t need to ask family or friends to help anymore.
8. Do: Make the asking process a friendly competition
You can even make getting Google reviews a friendly competition amongst your staff. One of our clients hosts a contest to see which funeral director can get the most Google reviews or have their name mentioned the most. Our client has seen this kindness competition boost employee morale and improve their funeral home’s culture. It could work for your staff, too!
9. Do: Reply to all Google reviews in a timely manner
Yes, I mean all of them: positive, neutral, or negative. Replying to Google reviews will show that you are gracious and can take accountability. Plus, replying to reviews improves your funeral home’s SEO, which is good news for your website. Click here for a resource that breaks down SEO further.
Responses to all types of reviews follow the same general outline:
– Address the reviewer by name (if possible)
– Thank the person for leaving a review
– Reply to specific details within the post (good or bad)
For a detailed breakdown of how you should reply to positive, neutral, and negative reviews, check out this guide for replying to reviews.
All in all, replying to Google reviews is a must, but you need a plan for what to say.
10. Do: Make getting Google reviews part of your aftercare program
Want a seamless way to make sure you don’t forget to ask for reviews? Sign up for an aftercare service with Google reviews built in!
For our clients, not only do we follow up on Google reviews, but we provide families with helpful grief resources and information about settling an estate. We have live text responders who check in with families about important dates, including birthdays and anniversaries.
And if you have questions about anything, chances are our team can answer them. These include:
“What exactly do I write to respond to this Google review?” We have templates for that.
“How and when should I reach out to families?” We have a schedule for that.
“What valuable information should I share with families?” We have videos and articles for that.
“How should I market this in my community?” We have a marketing package for that.
Learn more about your options today by visiting the link below!