Ignore at your own risk

When was the last time you took a look at your Google reviews? Have you ever taken a look? Have you even claimed your business so that you can respond to reviews as they are made? What about asking happy clients to post a review for your funeral home or cemetery? Based on what I have seen, most funeral homes and cemeteries are not making Google reviews a part of their business plan.

As part of my job with OGR, I spend quite a bit of time looking up funeral homes and going to their websites. Most businesses have under 10 Google reviews. Even fewer respond to the posted reviews. The funeral home where I worked, Veterans Funeral Care, developed a plan to increase our Google reviews and in a matter of months, we went from 6 to over 75! What did we do? We asked. We responded. We worked our plan. Best of all, the reviews that were posted were personal and filled with staff names and details. This is what you want to have for your reviews as well.

Here is a recent example of a review and “branded” response:


Everyone I spoke with here was empathetic yet professional. Blair helped me over the phone so much as my father passed in Florida and I am stuck in Georgia due to the pandemic. I got great comfort knowing my Dad would be treated with the respect he deserved. If I could give 10 stars, I would.


Sherry, thanks so much for your kind words. Blair is a ‘Marine Corps’ son! So I’m thrilled when he takes care of a Navy daughter like you! This pandemic has been very stressful to our military families as the Military Honors have been delayed. Glad to have helped you. Please plan to come visit the cemetery when it is safe to travel and please, please stop in for a cup of coffee! We always have a fresh pot on.
--Jim Rudolph, Owner

Staff names, client name, military references, compassion, acknowledgement of the challenges that the pandemic has created and even an invitation to stop by for coffee! If you were looking for a funeral home and read this review, I doubt you would look any farther, especially if you came from a military family.

There is, however, the other side of this and that is the poor reviews that occur. When I see one and ask the owner of the funeral home what happened, most often the complaint was not founded, but it is out in the public domain anyway. This is where responding is imperative. Not to argue or defend, but to tactfully post your side of what happened and assure anyone reading the review that this is not how you do business. I read one that complained about errors with the funeral service and the owner responded by acknowledging their disappointment at this family’s experience and mentioning that the staff member who created the situation was no longer with the company.

Finally, there is a side to Google reviews that you may not have considered and that is the “spam” reviews that have nothing to do with your  company, but just someone using an open platform to share conspiracy theories, political platforms or “work from home and make millions of dollars” types of posts. This is what happened to one company who had a very low Google rating, which I could not understand as they provided outstanding service to their families. Upon closer inspection it became clear that none of the ratings had to do with the company, but just opportunists finding an unmonitored spot to share their nonsense and give 1- or 2-star ratings.

Here is a sample of what was written:

The master plan has been in the works for many decades. To pull off something this huge, it cannot be done overnight. Currently we are in a psy ops drill… this is all mass deception in order to implement their plan.

And another one on the same site:

Each continent have these harps and also have satellites, they are interconnected here on earth, with satellites in the skies. haarp has the power to do whatever they want with nature, winds, rains, heat, cold, earthquakes and tsunami.

If you don’t want your business associated with conspiracy theorists, check your Google reviews regularly. Take control of what is posted about your company or someone else will.

Email Member Resources Director Nancy Weil to request a copy of what Veterans Funeral Care sends the families they serve asking that they leave Google Reviews.

This article was originally published in the Winter 2021 issue of The Independent. Click here to read the entire issue.

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