Big reputation, big reputation: Embracing reviews

Last updated on 3 April 2024

Janine Yeates, General Manager CarePage. [Source: Supplied]

Written by Janine Yeates, General Manager of CarePage, for the hello leaders Summer-Autumn print edition.

As a sector, it is time we embrace reviews for their valuable insights and the opportunity they present to change the narrative and reputation of aged care.

Over recent years, aged care has suffered from a massive reputation crisis. As we look to the sector’s future and rebuild the reputation of a sector close to every Australian’s heart, the role of word of mouth and, in particular, online reviews should be the centre of mind.

For years now, consumer groups, advocates, and aged care inquiries have highlighted the critical role independent insights and peer reviews have to play in the system’s future.

So why is the sector still reluctant to welcome reviews and ratings?

The initial fear among providers was that reviews would “be bad for business.” Perhaps the fear was also that public reviews would reveal experiences that weren’t favourable and might damage their reputation.

My reputation’s never been worse

In 2018, I wrote an article in which I said, “Research shows that 41% of Australians have a negative view of aged care.”

That was before the Royal Commission aired the sector’s failings, and long before COVID-19 and that Daniel Andrews moment (permanently etched in the minds of everyone who works in aged care) when he said of aged care, “I would not let my mum be in some of these places, I just wouldn’t.” 

With such a bad public reputation, it isn’t surprising that aged care occupancy is at an all-time low. 

Forward-thinking providers are embracing online reviews in the new world of aged care, understanding that reputation is built through transparency and insights into a provider collected through word of mouth. 

They also understand the power of reviews to provide early warning and the opportunity to improve, acknowledge improvements, and recourse a reputation to gain a competitive edge.

The truth is, it’s easier to ignore it, believe me

Please don’t confuse me for a digital evangelist when discussing online reviews. 

I firmly believe that we need information on aged care available in ways that are as accessible as possible for everyone. But often, in the sector, we focus so intensely on accessibility and offline sources of information that we can sometimes forget about the online world.

The truth is, it is easier to ignore. Monitoring online reviews across platforms is highly time-consuming. Responding to each review, even more so.

But we do so to our businesses’ detriment if we ignore online reviews. Consumer reviews matter a lot. Nielsen’s 2021 Trust in Advertising study found that 88% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know above all other forms of marketing messaging.

And before you say – “but ahh, aged care is different,” – they also found one of the top industries where consumers see reviews as most important is Healthcare. 

Today is never too late to be brand new 

Embracing consumer feedback, in all its forms, is an essential driver of innovation and continuous improvement.

If you’re ready, CarePage‘s online reviews aggregator can help you save hours monitoring Google and other aged care websites to give you a clear line of sight over your reputation and free up valuable resources to address and respond to reviews.

change the narrative
aged care reputation
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Janine Yeates