How to Respond to Online Reviews

Businesses love getting reviews, but many are less enthusiastic about responding to reviews, especially when those reviews are lukewarm or negative. But the thing is, responding to reviews is almost as important for your dental practice as getting reviews. It can impact your business in ways you never imagined.

Below, we talk about why responding to reviews is important and beneficial to your dental practice, and provide some tips on how to respond to reviews properly.


Why You Should Respond to Reviews

Responding to reviews can benefit your dental practice in several significant ways:

  • It Increases the Number of Reviews Your Practice Gets

    A 2018 study by Harvard Business Review found that when TripAdvisor responded to its customer reviews, it received a 12% increase in reviews from customers going forward. This seems to demonstrate that by engaging with customers and responding to their reviews, you encourage more people to reach out and communicate their concerns (or compliments). They know their feedback will be heard, and addressed, if they reach out.

    Furthermore, your responses to reviews show you care about the quality of care and service you provide. You want to make everyone’s experience with your practice, be it in the office or online, as positive as possible.

  • It Can Improve Your Reputation

    Responding to customer reviews can also increase your star rating on Google. In the Harvard study referenced above, TripAdvisor saw a 0.12-star rating increase after responding to reviews. That increase might seem small, but it can add up quickly. In time, this can boost your star rating by a full point, or more. And with increased ratings come heightened perceptions from patients.

    Responding to reviews gives you more control over your dental practice’s reputation, and gives you the opportunity to shape how your business is perceived. Responding to reviews can elevate your reputation and encourage other patients of your practice to give you a high rating.

  • It Helps Your SEO

    Responding to reviews can also improve your standing in search engine rankings. It results in a cascade of wins for your practice, from getting more reviews and in turn getting more positive reviews and a better star rating. Google notices these things, and rewards these practices with higher placement in the search results. When someone types “dentist near me,” positive reviews for your practice are going to pop up. Managing reviews by responding regularly and encouraging more people to leave reviews will help increase your website conversions.

  • It Brings You More New Patients

    It’s important to note that the reviewer is not the only person who is seeing your response. Potential new patients may also see your review responses, and appreciate the fact that you’re responding. This will give potential new patients a good impression of your practice, and possibly encourage them to visit your website and even give you a call.

How to Respond to Reviews

Courtesy is key when responding to reviews. It doesn’t matter if the reviews are super positive or deeply negative—be civil, helpful, and empathetic. This reflects well on your practice.

Here is how we recommend responding to both positive and negative reviews:

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Responding to Positive Reviews

There’s a formula to responding to positive reviews. You don’t have to follow it to a tee, but it does provide you with a handy template to make responding to reviews a less tedious affair.

We break it down into these steps:

  • Thank the patient (address them by name, if possible) for their review
  • Express that you are happy they had a good experience
  • Let the patient know that you look forward to serving them well in the future

Responding to Negative Reviews

Negative reviews might be unpleasant to receive, but they can also be a great learning experience for your practice. They are also an opportunity for you to turn things around and turn an unsatisfied patient into a loyal one.

Here’s how we suggest responding to negative reviews:

  • Greet the reviewer by name
  • Thank them for their feedback
  • Express regret at their negative experience
  • Let the them know your manager will be reaching out to them to resolve the issue (if applicable to the situation)
  • Reiterate that you value their feedback, and strive to deliver better care and service than they experienced

Showing empathy and understanding towards unhappy patients can make a huge difference in how they choose to respond to your practice. Some patients may be unmoved and decide to take their business to another dental practice regardless, but others might appreciate your concern and commitment to resolving their issue. They might be willing to give you another chance and stay on as a patient. This is why it’s worth it to take time to respond to negative reviews.

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Want More Tips on Responding to Reviews?

Getting and responding to reviews is an acquired skill that every dental practice should seek to master. It will benefit your business’s reputation in the long run and contribute to your success overall. At InTouch, we’re happy to offer advice in this area of marketing to help businesses like yours, because getting reviews and responding to them is often taken for granted. Reviews are a tool to use to your advantage!

For more tips on how to accumulate more reviews for your practice and respond to them appropriately, get InTouch today by calling (877) 493-9003.