Here are eleven tips to make better use of online search and reviews before choosing a home care agency:
1) People trust online reviews like they trust a friend’s opinion.
The main reason people trust online reviews is simple: because it works. The fact that someone took their time to go online and write a review without receiving any reward for doing so demonstrates willingness in helping others to make an informed choice.
2) Business owners have no control over reviews.
A business cannot remove a bad review posted in most independent review sites. Therefore they may help you to avoid making the wrong decision;
3) The more, the better.
Twenty 5-Star reviews mean much more than two or three 5-star reviews. People tend to review bad experiences more than good ones. An agency that has a higher number of 5-star reviews and recommendations offers services which are above and beyond what customers expect. A low number of reviews could mean that the business owner just asked a few of their customers to write them, while a higher number of reviews will reflect the fact that more customers enjoy the care they are receiving.
4) Don't limit your search to your town.
Many review companies, like Google and Yelp, will show you only agencies that are very near your address or only in your town.
At Home Helpers we assess many prospective clients who find us on Google, searching the expression "Home Care Enfield". We also get calls from people who searched "Home Care Suffield" or "Home Care Somers". However, we do not receive many calls from clients searching for "Home Care Tolland", "Home Care Vernon", "Home Care Manchester" and many other towns where we offer our services.
Therefore, try to expand your search to neighboring towns. That will help you to have a view of the different agencies serving your town, so you will be able to pick the best.
5) Check the reviews answers.
Agencies have the option of answering to a good or a bad review. Read those answers. A commitment to solving the problem pointed demonstrates the willingness to improve continuously. A thank you note for a good review is important too. It shows that the agency is interested in the opinion of their clients and thankful for the recognition for work well done.
6) Third-party validation.
Look for the agency's listing in the Best of Home Care, Provider of Choice Award, by Home Care Pulse. Home Care Pulse is an independent survey company that calls the agency’s current clients randomly and asks them questions about their care. The home care agencies have no right to interfere in the answers and reviews, so it is a pretty accurate x-ray of what’s going on with the patients and their caregivers. Agencies who submit to this type of scrutiny are willing to take an extra step to know how their customers are feeling about their services. Besides showing the quality of care offered, it also shows the willingness to hear criticism and improve;
7) Compare reviews across different channels.
Google, Yelp and Home Care related websites (care.com, caringhomes.com) all have reviews listed. Don’t settle for one result, go through as many channels as possible, before making your decision. In this case, as well, the more, the better;
8) Identify unreliable reviews
A good review will describe details of how the services were executed and give you a solid background on why that customer believes you should make that choice.
9) Find out who is the agency’s owner
During your survey, search who is the owner of the business, his/her biography, experience, commitment, etc. Read his/her blog. Notice that when clients mention the owner by name in their reviews, that means responsibility and involvement in the care provided.
10) Look for community reputation.
Reviews from other businesses in the community should strengthen your decision. Good reviews from lawyers, doctors, chamber of commerce members and other people who know the owner contribute to establishing the work ethics of the company and the reliability of the business. Home care is personal and you want a business owner who is 100% invested in offering the best.
11) Don’t decide yet.
Reviews are great, but there are other things you need to consider before hiring an in-home care agency. Ask for an in-home consultation to discuss your loved one’s situation and build a care plan. Here is a list of questions you may ask during your meeting. They will help you navigate through the different alternatives that exist: https://goo.gl/jYkdku