As the owner of a business, reviews matter. Positive reviews can attract families to your childcare center and provide valuable insight into your program. To grow your childcare business while building your reputation and credibility, it’s necessary to have a growing number of positive online reviews. While you may feel a bit uncomfortable asking for reviews at first, there are strategic ways to get your happy customers to provide good, quality reviews for your program that will help your business stand out from your competitors.
Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of online reviews and effective ways to ask families to share feedback about your program.
What are the benefits of online reviews?
Internet research is a significant part of decision-making when choosing a product or service. Ensuring that customers find positive online reviews when they come across your business can greatly impact your childcare center. There are many benefits of online reviews. With positive online reviews, you can:
Boost your credibility
When families regularly leave positive online reviews, that sends a message to other prospective families. It tells them that your childcare business is doing something right and customers are happy. By allowing families to share their positive experiences, you can build credibility and trust around your services. Choosing an early childhood education program can be a long, extensive process for families, but positive reviews can be the push they need to trust in leaving their child’s education and development in your hands.
Acquire new leads
For any business to be successful, it needs to keep current customers happy while also bringing in a consistent stream of new customers. The same goes for your childcare program. Positive online reviews and testimonials can be extremely beneficial because they can help you acquire new leads and drive enrollment. This social proof—when current customers recommend your services based on their experiences—can generate leads and bring new families to your business by demonstrating that these positive experiences are possible for them.
Increase your business visibility online
When families leave reviews, it can improve your ranking on online search engines like Google and maximize your business visibility. How? Google is the most popular search engine, with nearly 90% of the US market share. Not only can positive online reviews help your childcare website rank higher in organic search results, but they can also help it appear in the Google 3-pack—three local businesses that Google displays at the top of search results after deciding it’s relevant, prominent, and close in proximity—making it visible to a significant majority of families searching for local childcare programs.
Set yourself apart from your competitors
When evaluating a childcare program, families are likely to weigh multiple options. Positive reviews can set you apart from other local childcare businesses. These reviews are an opportunity to highlight experiences or services exclusive to your program. It’s a chance to demonstrate why families might find more success in sending their children to your program instead of another.
Connect with your families
Although online reviews are a great driving force in getting the attention of new families, they can also help you connect with the families of your current children. Effective communication with families is an important component of creating a collaborative childcare program. Asking for reviews can help strengthen staff-family relationships because it shows families that you value them as an active member of their child’s education. Additionally, seeing families they know leave positive reviews can convince other families in your program to share their own experiences.
Discover key insights
Have you ever wondered why families choose your childcare business? Is there a particular reason they’ve returned for another year? What would they tell a friend if they recommended your services? Positive online reviews can help you discover key insights about your business and help create your unique selling proposition (USP). A USP is a statement that differentiates your product—your childcare services—from your competitors. It’s a combination of what your customers want and what your business does well.
Get free advertising
Your childcare center likely has an advertising budget. Placing ads on websites and social media costs money. However, if your families leave online reviews for your company on your website and platforms like Google, Facebook, Yelp, and Trustpilot, they’re helping you get free advertising for your business.
How to ask customers for reviews
Positive customer reviews can help families determine the quality of your business. It can also help your website’s search engine ranking, making your program more visible to prospective families searching for local childcare options.
How can you build a healthy list of glowing reviews for your center? It’s simple—ask happy families to write them. Here are some helpful tips on how you can ask for parent reviews politely and effectively.
Reach out to families who have already shared their appreciation
It might feel uncomfortable to ask families to write reviews for your childcare center, especially if you’ve never done so before. Start by reaching out to families who have already expressed their satisfaction and appreciation for your program. Has a parent recently sent you a message praising your center’s curriculum? Has a family member thanked one of your teachers for going above and beyond for their child? Follow up with these happy families and ask them to share their appreciation online.
Start and end with gratitude
Whether you’re asking families for reviews over the phone, in person, or through email, remember to open and close the correspondence by thanking them for their support. This simple gesture will help you set the tone from the beginning, convey sincerity, and remind families how grateful you are for their trust. Even if the parent decides not to write a review, you’ll still be glad you had the chance to connect and show your gratitude for them.
Make it clear that it’s optional
Emphasize that leaving a review is completely their decision. While many families will be more than happy to write one, others may need some time before doing so or prefer not to altogether. By making sure your request doesn’t sound mandatory or required, you’ll encourage families who want to review your center to take action.
Here’s some suggested language:
“I’m so glad to hear that you love (insert specific positive feedback you’ve heard from the parent) about our program. If you’re comfortable leaving us a review online, we would greatly appreciate it!”
Provide relevant links
To make the process as easy as possible for your families, send links that lead directly to the review pages of your business profile. Some of the most popular review sites are Google, Facebook, and Yelp. Choose which are the most important or relevant for your center and share those links. If you’re providing multiple options, let families know they can pick and choose where to leave their reviews according to their preferences and their existing accounts.
By eliminating extra work for your families wherever possible, you’ll increase your chance of gaining more reviews for your program. Busy families will also appreciate being only one click away from starting their online review.
Ask them to share specifics about what they love about your center
The more detailed your program’s reviews are, the better picture they’ll paint for prospective families, and the more your center will stand out. If families have already shared specific things they love about your program, don’t hesitate to remind them and ask them to include those details in their review. If you’re asking over email or online messaging, it could also be helpful to include examples of what other happy families appreciate about your center—or even aspects of your program that you’re most proud of—to help them brainstorm their ideas.
A tool like brightwheel's communication feature, enables administrators to quickly and easily ask families for reviews and streamline all communications.
Don’t ask too often
The last thing you want is for your families to feel bombarded by your review requests. Consider asking no more than a couple of times a year, or only after their unsolicited praise and appreciation. Gauge what feels most appropriate here—you know your families best.
If you hear positive feedback from a parent or family member, don’t wait too long to ask them for a review either. Ask as soon as possible so the details are still top-of-mind and they’re well-equipped to write a sincere, glowing review.
Set realistic expectations
Even if you ask for reviews from every family at your school, you may only get a handful of responses. That’s completely normal and to be expected. Your families are busy, and many of them may not know what to say or feel comfortable leaving a review. Don’t be discouraged—every positive review is helpful and valuable.
How to respond to a negative review
Asking for reviews doesn’t guarantee you’ll receive them. And while you might be certain that a family will leave a positive review, there is a chance that a negative review will slip through the cracks. Receiving a negative review is an inevitable part of operating a business, but knowing how to respond to them can minimize the damage.
Consider the below tips when replying to a negative review:
- Respond in a timely manner: Don’t let negative reviews sit without a response. Reply as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more it makes your business seem as if you don’t care about the customer experience.
- Address the reviewer: Most online reviews are left on Google or Facebook, meaning there is a name attached to it. Don’t generalize your response. Make sure you use the reviewer’s name to personalize your response.
- Say thank you: It may feel difficult, but it’s important to thank everyone who leaves a review for your childcare business. This demonstrates that your center values all feedback, good or bad.
- Apologize: Say sorry even if it isn’t your fault. If you’re at fault, be genuine but keep it short. If you’re not at fault, apologize that the service or their experience didn’t meet their expectations.
- Take responsibility: Take responsibility when appropriate but don’t accept it for things that weren’t your fault. Courteously explain where there might’ve been some confusion or if they had unrealistic expectations. In a business as sensitive as child care, you don’t want families attributing experiences to your program that are false.
- Correct the situation: Can the problem in the review be resolved? If it can, offer ways to make things right. If it can’t, promise that you’ll make changes to prevent the situation from happening again in the future.
- Ask to connect offline: Offer to discuss the situation with them offline. You don’t want to keep the issue alive on the internet. By speaking to them directly, you can privately resolve any issues. In your response, provide your contact information (email address and/or phone number).
Clever ways to ask for review examples
When asking for reviews, you need to be savvy. You want to avoid sounding too eager, but you don’t want to appear arrogant. Don’t send long, complicated emails, either. Be genuine and keep the process as simple as possible. Use the examples below for clever ways to ask for reviews using email, social media, and your business website.
Thank you so much for being an active and engaged community member. Positive reviews from parents like you help other parents feel confident about choosing our childcare program for their children. Could you take a few minutes to go to [insert link for review platform] and share your and [insert child’s name] experiences?
We would really appreciate your help in growing and strengthening our childcare program.
Thank you in advance for your help!
Did you know that our enrollment at [business name] has been strong for the last few years? We like to believe this tells us that we’re doing something right. Whatever it is, we want to keep doing it. So if you have the time, please tell us!
If you have a few minutes available, we’d love it if you went to [insert link for review platform] and wrote a review. A few sentences are all it takes. With your feedback, we can continue providing the best educational experience for you and [insert child’s name] while also helping other parents find quality child care.
Thank you in advance!
Using social media is one of the most effective marketing strategies for childcare businesses. While platforms like Instagram and Twitter are useful in attracting attention, Facebook is the ideal social media platform for reviews. Facebook allows you to enable reviews on business pages and send direct messages to parents. You can also create a Facebook post with a call-to-action to leave a review and share it with your childcare center community.
An example post might read:
We love the children and families of our [insert business name] community. If you’d like to return the love and share your experiences, please leave us a review.
Your childcare center website is a great location to house positive reviews from happy families. Consider adding a dedicated reviews page to your website that is accessible from your main page. Every visitor who stops at your website should be able to find this information easily. On the page, add a prompt for families to leave a review.
Here is an example of suggested copy:
Are you a parent at [insert business name]? Please take a moment to review your experience with us! Not only does your feedback help us, but it helps other families looking for a quality childcare program.
There are many options for asking families for reviews, and brightwheel’s app makes it easier than ever. The all-in-one app does more than cover curriculum, billing, and admissions. The communication feature enables you to centralize and send real-time messages to families, making your request for reviews quick and simple.
Boost your business with reviews
As a childcare provider, you have a responsibility to your business to keep operations running smoothly and effectively. Asking families for reviews is one of the many ways to do that. Positive reviews can help your center attract new families, boost its credibility, and set itself apart from local competitors. It might be uncomfortable initially, but the tips in this article are a great tool for moving past the awkwardness and getting families to share the impact of your program.