Your funeral home got a bad review on Google. Now what?

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online funeral home reviewsEveryone has an opinion. And thanks to the Internet, everyone’s opinion can now be heard in form of online reviews that can remain online indefinitely. And while Yelp and Yahoo! aren’t websites to ignore, poor Google ratings can do your funeral home permanent damage. If your funeral home receives a less-than-flattering Google review, here are a few things you can do.

1. If your business received a review that you don’t agree with, attempt to reconcile the situation with the customer. Google says, “We know a negative review can be frustrating, but we believe that engaging with a customer to address his or her concerns creates the best environment on Google Places.”

You can call the family and say that you noticed the review and wanted to make sure they were completely satisfied with your services. If that conversation goes well, you can ask them to change or delete their rating. FYI, reviews can only be deleted from Google Maps.

2. If they won’t take your calls or emails, as a verified Google Places business owner (this means you have a Google account and have claimed and verified your funeral home on Google Places) you can publicly respond to reviews posted directly on Google in the reviews section on the Places Page. By responding online, other readers will see that you are at least attempting to reach out to the reviewer and make things ‘right.’

3. You can use the Flag as inappropriate link next to a review to report it as inappropriate. Google will then check to see if the review violates their guidelines. To protect both business owners and customers, Google has systems in place that may remove reviews that include any of the following:

  • Inappropriate content: reviews that contain or link to unlawful content
  • Advertising and spam: reviews that advertise or post the same or similar reviews (good or bad) across multiple places
  • Off-topic reviews: reviews that don’t describe your personal, first-hand experience with a specific place
  • Conflict of interest: reviews written by a business owner, family member or employee

Note, however, that Google Places reviews are a forum for users to share both positive and negative opinions. Google doesn’t arbitrate disputes and more often than not, they admit they leave reviews up.

4. If you can’t reconcile the situation or remove the review, your best option (and one you should be focusing on anyway) is getting positive reviews to counter the unfavorable one. If you can get families to post a positive review soon after the negative review, it helps readers understand this could be an isolated incident or one person’s perspective. A string of unfavorable reviews … well, that’s another story.

You won’t know about the bad reviews unless you are monitoring your Google account. Ask someone in your firm to check reviews on a weekly, if not daily, basis as Google does not currently send out notifications to business owners when a review is added. It is as easy as pulling up your funeral home name in Google Maps.

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