The process of finding the right senior living community has changed dramatically in the past 50 years. Heck, it’s changed dramatically in the past 15. Today, older adults and their loved ones can tour units, read thousands of reviews, and chat directly with community staff members – all from the comfort of their own homes.
It’s no wonder that this wealth of information has changed the calculus for so many residents and families looking into senior living. It’s no longer just a matter of picking the community that’s nearby. And that’s a good thing. We want prospective residents to make the most educated choice possible.
Still, despite all this technological advancement, one core determining factor hasn’t changed: word-of-mouth testimony.
In this blog, we highlight the business value of senior living reviews, what goes into earning a positive review, and how communities can more easily gather feedback with the right pieces of senior living tech.
Reviews Set a Public Benchmark for Your Senior Living Community
Eighty-seven percent of consumers used Google to evaluate local businesses in 2022. And a 2020 Consumer Reports survey found that 74 percent of Americans read online reviews before making purchase decisions. Translation: your senior living prospects are very likely Googling your community and searching for reviews.
But people don’t just look at the content of a review; they also consider the number of reviews. One study found that 28 percent of consumers (the largest subset in this study) need to see 11 to 50 reviews before deeming a product trustworthy. An additional 21 percent reported needing to see 50 to 100. There’s, of course, some variance to be expected here. Senior living providers aren’t retailers. But the consumer psychology – the underlying desire to check reviews – remains the same.
That’s why sites like A Place for Mom and Caring.com have grown exponentially over the years. It’s also why these brands have invested resources in building trust with their users. When visitors go to these sites, they want unbiased, un-gated reviews. They want to read about different communities and see what others are saying about them.
All this to say: reviews can make or break the occupancy goals you set for your community.
To Earn Positive Senior Living Reviews, Consider These Three Es
We’ve established that when you have numerous public, positive reviews, they contribute to the growth of your community. But how do you create an aging experience worthy of a five-star review? Look into these three Es.
1. Engagement Technology
Older adults expect to have technology in their senior living dwellings. Tools like engagement platforms help foster the meaningful relationships that older adults seek out when they move to senior living.
These platforms also help lay the foundation for a more tech-forward community. And that emphasis on technology is a growing factor among the “silver tsunami” demographic.
Senior living leaders recognize this growing need – 61 percent of them have indicated they’ll adopt an engagement platform in the near future.
2. Enrichment Programming
For your residents to age healthily, and have an easy way to connect with others, they need a multi-dimensional life enrichment program. Engagement platforms go a long way in deepening the impact of your programming. But you still need a robust life enrichment calendar (trust us, your marketing team will thank you when it comes time to share photos from those events).
Maybe this life enrichment program involves pickleball tournaments. Or garden parties. Or cake decorating classes. The takeaway: a stimulating life enrichment calendar can go a long way in attracting residents to your community and compelling current residents to sing its praises.
3. Employee Wellbeing
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: the best communities to live in are often the best communities to work at.
The severity of this industry’s staffing shortage ebbs and flows, but most communities have been understaffed (to some degree) for years now. That reinforces the importance of keeping your staff around – not just for workflow continuity, but for your residents.
Remember, your caregivers and residents develop close relationships with each other. When employees feel valued, your residents notice. That overall contentment plays a key role in cultivating a positive atmosphere for your community – even indirectly.
Adopt Senior Living Technology That Makes It Easy to Gather Feedback
No doubt, your community’s rating on A Place for Mom is important. And you’ll want to check these external review sites on a semi-regular basis to uncover any larger themes or opportunities for improvement.
But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. To effectively implement feedback from your community members, you need to first put the right tools in place to gather it. And that starts by adopting senior living technology with comprehensive reporting features.
Look for platforms that…
- Include preset NPS surveys you can send to residents, families, and staff.
- Offer customizable survey templates.
- Let residents easily share feedback, sometimes with just the tap of a digital prompt.
- Aggregate and illustrate respondents’ data.
In an increasingly-digital landscape, user data and feedback are like gold. You want to make sure you have the appropriate tools to source it and the right people and systems in place to make the most of it.
To see how this works in practice, check out how our customer, Cadence Senior Living, adopted a data-first mindset and how that approach drove greater engagement rates, satisfaction scores, and referrals.
More Data Leads to More Opportunities for Improving Your Community
In the best of situations, senior living reviews create a feedback loop of sorts. Community members share their thoughts → leadership reviews the feedback and occasionally adopts changes → community members share their thoughts.
When you have the right infrastructure in place, nearly every piece of data acts as a review.
Were activity attendance rates higher this year than last? That might mean residents find your life enrichment program more valuable. Has employee turnover decreased? That could mean staff are more satisfied with their employment situation.
Bottom line: the communities that are most vigilant about gathering and reviewing feedback are often the best at meeting their members’ needs.Want to learn more about how an all-in-one engagement and communication platform can lead to more five-star reviews? Reach out – we’re here to help!