Note: This is the second of a two-part series about managing your practice’s reputation online and covers best practices for how to respond to reviews. Click here to read part one, which explains where to find reviews online.
In an age where 90% of American adults use the internet
, most businesses will inevitably start collecting online reviews. Reviews are a key part of any business’ growth since 84% of consumers will trust a positive review the same as recommendations from friends
according to a recent study. What’s more, another study concluded that 68% of consumers will make a purchasing decision after taking in six reviews or less.
If you’re doing all the right things as a practice, you will likely have a good share of positive reviews. But no matter how smoothly any business is run, there will probably be some negative reviews mixed in as well. Most of the time, negative reviews are the result of a customer’s expectations not being met
and wanting other potential customers to know about their experience.
Since reviews are such a powerful influence, it is important for businesses to respond, no matter the type of review. Responding to reviews shows the practice is actively listening to feedback and is willing to engage with its patients, which helps build trust by making a personal connection.
Here are some best practices for responding to reviews. While this list is not exhaustive, these response examples will give you a good starting point to make adjusts as needed for the unique needs of your patients. Make it personal, but professional
Consumers are savvy and can tell when someone has simply copy and pasted the same response over and over again. If the patient mentions something specific about their experience, make sure you acknowledge it in your response. But keep an empathetic ear and don’t get into an argument with the reviewer.
Example: “Hi <Name>. We are so sorry to hear about your experience when you called our office to make an appointment. We strive to not keep anyone on hold for long and we would like to work with you on making your experience with us better. Someone from our team will be reaching out today via the phone number we have on file. Thank you and we look forward to speaking with you.” Keep it prompt and actionable
As a good rule of thumb, keep your responses short and sweet. Most people who leave negative reviews are looking for a resolution, so don’t let a review sit out online too long and make sure to include an actionable item in your response to show you are ready to help.
Example: “Hi <Name>. We are sorry to hear you had a negative experience with your most recent visit and we’d like to further understand your concerns so we can make it right. Please give us a call at <phone number>: we are standing by to help!”
Example: “Hi <Name>. We’re sorry to hear you had a hard time making an appointment online. That’s not the kind of experience we want our patients to have. You can always call us during regular business hours from <days and hours open> at <phone number> to set up an appointment. We are also happy to walk you through setting up an appointment online so it is easier in the future, so don’t hesitate to reach out: we are standing by.”
Acknowledge the review publicly, then take it private
When replying to a review, it is a good idea to publicly respond to the review to show others that you are actively taking action. But to protect the patient’s privacy, it is best to then take the conversation to a private channel, especially on social media where it is easy to reply and keep the conversation going.
Example: “Hi <Name.> We are sorry to hear you had a negative experience during your most recent visit and we’d like to make it right. We have sent you a message to your inbox so we can get more details. Thank you and we look forward to hearing from you.”
Example: “Hi <Name.> We are sorry to hear you had a frustrating experience with your dental bill and we’d like to work with you to resolve any concerns. Someone from our team will be calling you today at the phone number we have on file. Thank you and we look forward to speaking with you.”
Don’t forget about positive reviews, too!
It is easy to focus on the negative reviews, but it is just as important to respond to positive feedback as well! This accomplishes two things: you not only show potential patients that you are actively monitoring your reviews, but it also plants a seed of positivity in the patient who left the review. In turn, that will help foster loyalty and trust—not to mention giving your team well-earned kudos!
Example: “Hi <Name>. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with your recent appointment! We are happy we were able to help make your visit to <practice name> a good one.”
Example: “Hi <Name>. Thank you for sharing your experience with our dental assistant, Monica. We made sure we passed your feedback along and it made her day! We strive to create positive visits for our patients and we are so glad we were able to help.”
The bottom line: Online reviews are a large factor in consumer decision-making, so it is important to respond to them. Your replies should be personal, but professional, and offer an actionable item such as an upcoming phone call or direct message. Acknowledge reviews publicly, but then take the conversation to a private channel to work out the details. Finally, don’t forget about the positive reviews: acknowledging them and sharing that feedback with your team creates positivity all around!
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