The Do’s and Don’ts of Responding to Online Reviews

The Do’s and Don’ts of Responding to Online Reviews

by Shearly (SU)

In our previous blog post – Online Patient Reviews: A Must-Have Tool for Medical Practices – we discussed why it’s so important for medical professionals to build their online reputations. Now, we’d like to discuss how to manage them, with a focus on online patient reviews.

Online reviews can have the power to make or break your practice. According to MedScape, a survey of 50,000 patient reviews found that 25% of patients find their healthcare professionals online, including from online reviews. So, as more and more people use these reviews, it’s important to understand how your responses can impact your practice. In addition to helping amplify awareness of your practice with new patients, your responses can even minimize potential damage from a bad review.

The following are some Do’s and Don’ts when responding to your online patient reviews. 

Positive Reviews

You should always respond to a positive review. It shows that you care about your patients and value their feedback.

-        Do thank your patient for taking the time to write a review. Let them know how much you appreciate their feedback.

-        Don’t ask your patient for anything. For example, no need to ask them to ‘spread the word’ about your practice, as that’s what they’ve just done with their review!

-        Do keep your response professional. Less is more – keep it brief. Long responses can come across as overbearing. And don’t mention any details about them or the service you provided, as this could violate HIPAA rules.

-        Don’t respond to minor criticism. Focus on the positive feedback in your response. Any reference to a criticism can make you look petty and unprofessional.

Here are a couple of quick tips for writing a good response to a positive review:

-        Always start with a thank you…it’s the polite thing to do!

-        Use your business name and key words to help the positive review appear in search results.

Negative Reviews

You should also respond to negative reviews. However, you need to be extremely careful as you don’t want to offend someone, or make the situation even worse.

-        Do keep your response professional. Be pleasant (or at least neutral), keep it brief and remember, don’t reference any detail regarding the patient or the service. Also, don’t respond when you’re angry – the only person who will look bad is you.

-        Don’t respond to trolls. If the review is obviously from someone who isn’t a patient or is making things up, contact the site admin and request assistance. If the comment violates the site’s rules, you can ask to have it removed.

-        Do follow-up with a private message or phone call after responding to a particularly negative comment. This is a great opportunity to ‘turn lemons into lemonade’. If you put in the extra effort, your patient might decide to change or remove their comment, or even post a positive follow-up comment.

-        Don’t ask your patient to remove the review. This will give the perception that you have something to hide. In addition, it could anger them further, causing them to post additional comments and raise awareness of the negative review.

Here are a couple of quick tips for writing a good response to a negative review:

-        Even if the comments are unfounded, show sympathy that your patient had a bad experience.

-        Don’t go into too much detail or ask any questions. Instead move the conversation offline by providing a phone number or email address.

-        Don’t include your business name or key words as you don’t want the review to appear in search results.

Managing online patient reviews and responses can be a lot of work. If you don’t have the time, iHealthSpot offers comprehensive online reputation management via our Reputation MD Program.

We help monitor patient reviews online, promptly address any negative or false information, encourage patients to share their positive experiences, and promote those testimonials on social media. This enables you to take full advantage of online patient reviews without doing all the work. With iHealthSpot managing your reputation online, you can focus on creating positive patient experiences that will turn into dozens of positive testimonials. 

If you are interested in our service, contact us today, toll-free at (877) 709-0999 and request a FREE consultation. We’ll evaluate your online ratings and provide a plan of action for monitoring your reviews and increasing your positive reach online.