Good online reviews are an important part of a school’s digital presence. Along with social media and a professional website, reviews help build your school’s reputation. Often, reviews are one of the first things potential customers look at, and according to BrightLocal, 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

The importance of good online reviews for schools (and how to get more)

Online reviews also give your customers (in this case, parents) the chance to voice their opinion and share praise and feedback to you. As long as you’re providing an excellent service, you shouldn’t have to worry about bad reviews. However, if you do get some less-than-perfect ones, they give you an opportunity to improve. Besides, removing negative reviews only looks suspicious. According to EConsultancy, 68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad scores.

Good reviews solidify your school’s digital presence, build a good reputation and give your customers a place to share feedback.

How to ask for a review

When you approach customers to write a review, pick an appropriate time. For example, it’s probably not a good idea to ask a parent who has just enrolled their child to write a review, as they don’t have much experience with the school. Perhaps ask a parent who has sent multiple children to your school, and continued throughout pre-school, prep school and senior school.

You could also email parents who have been subscribed to your school newsletter for a number of months, as they are clearly engaged with the school’s activity. You can also ask for a review in person, perhaps at school events like plays or sports matches.

It’s important to ask an open-ended question before asking for a review. This can be something like: “How would you rate your experience with our school?”. This means that if someone has had a negative experience, you can contact them and try to resolve the issue, minimising bad reviews. If someone has positive comments, you can then invite them to leave a review for the school.

What to do next

It’s important to respond to all reviews, even negative ones. A mature response from a real human being that thanks the person for their feedback will actually improve your school’s reputation, as it shows willingness to do better. 

For example, if a parent leaves a three-star review that says: “Good school but they set my child too much homework.” You could respond with something like: “We believe setting homework not only solidifies a child’s learning but it challenges them and teaches self discipline.” This sounds defensive and dismissive of the parent’s views, which could lead to more frustration, and possibly more negative reviews.

Instead, you should respond with something along the lines of: “Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us. We will take on this feedback and discuss it during our next staff meeting”. This shows you are listening and care.

You should also share positive reviews on social media so that other prospects can see the good feedback. 

Overall, good reviews are important for schools because they boost reputation and provide an opportunity to show integrity and a willingness to improve.

If you enjoyed this post, read more of our guides for schools here.

For help managing your school’s reputation, book a free consultation with us.

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