Struggling To Respond To That New Google Review? [Guide]

Reviews are crucial to today’s world, so the last thing any doctor should do is disregard what patients are saying about them. 

Regardless of whether it’s positive or negative, it’s important to make sure you let everyone know you care what they have to say – not just the reviewer.

Why Is Responding To Reviews Important?

It’s A Ranking Factor

Showing up on Google is important, and to really be found, you need to be in the top half of the search results on the first page. 

One of the main ranking factors for showing up in Google’s map pack (see below) is to ensure you’ve got reviews down. This doesn’t just mean getting more reviews on a consistent basis.

This also means showing that you are engaging with everyone who leaves a review. Responding to a review shows Google that there is a real live person looking. This helps give Google additional trust that you are paying attention and will work hard to help give the best results.

Google is also just looking for updates. Here’s a fun fact: Google at one point was struggling to know who was open and who was permanently closed – no one would report businesses as closed! A bunch of practices or retired doctors would be showing up, and patients looking for a doctor would get these horrible results and have a hard time getting an appointment. For your Google map pack rankings, updating your listings through regular updates – which can include review responses – is essential.

Reputation Management

On top of ranking factors, responding to a review helps make your brand even better. 

More and more people are viewing reviews and making decisions off them. So what happens when a company doesn’t respond to reviews? What message does that send?

For a negative review, ignored problems can tell someone many things: If I have a problem, will they pay attention to me? Have they addressed this issue in the office? Will I see this specific issue? This becomes an even bigger alarm if the SAME issues show up multiple times.

Now we know that the first instinct is to retaliate – after all, this is your practice, and these people don’t know the full story! But we always encourage everyone to look at the situation calmly. 

If there are repeating issues, this gives the perfect opportunity to address them directly with your team and come up with a solution. Maybe this is how you find out how impersonal your receptionist is? (Unfortunately, this is something that happens more often than many wish to admit).

If it’s a one-off review, it is possible they had a bad day. Don’t take it personally, and show patients how you DO listen to patients in a calm and rational manner.

If you’re getting good reviews, show your patients that you appreciate it! We could all use compliments; encourage others to continue to give you words of encouragement by showing your appreciation. Additionally, inversely from bad reviews, this shows you pay attention to what everyone does appreciate and like, so of course these responses tell individuals that you want to keep doing what works well for everyone.

How To Respond

We’ve already mentioned this, but the first step when reading a review is to look at everything calmly. This is especially true for bad reviews. So before we get to the step-by-step, the first TRUE step is CALM DOWN & THINK! 

There are things you need to make sure you don’t write, and that’s anything personal that shows any frustration and anger. If you can’t get out of that mindset, responding in a bad way will hurt you more than anything.

Step-By-Step

To get started on responding to reviews, the first step is to log into the Google account you have your Google listing set up and claimed on. If you don’t have a Google listing claimed, you’ll have to go through the steps to do so. If you need help, give us a call – we’ve seen plenty of situations, including times where someone else has control.

After you’ve signed in, you can look in the Google apps and services section (9 little boxes), and ideally it will show up near the top.

If not, you can scroll down in the sub menu until you find “More from Google.” You’ll get to an area that says “Browse all Products.” This area will show you everything Google has to offer, and specifically under the Google “For Business” section you can find the same icon.

Additionally, this link could get you immediately to your listings provided you are already signed in (or you can click on the link to get to a place that will ask you to sign in): https://www.google.com/business/?ppsrc=GPDA2 

From here, you’ll either see the list of businesses you can check in and look at or it will sign you into the dashboard for your only listing. If you have multiple, click on the listing you want to get to for responding to the review.

Or This…

And obviously once you sign in, you’ll want to click on the reviews tab of your listing.

From there, you can see all the reviews you’ve received. You can sort by all, the ones you have replied to, or the ones you haven’t replied to. From there, you should see an option to reply to the reviews. Additionally, for reviews you already have replied to, you can edit or delete your replies (we don’t recommend deleting the reply, but editing can definitely happen!).

What To Write

Now that you’re there, how do you respond? 

The first note we’ll make here is that since we are dealing with medical, don’t forget HIPAA compliance. Whatever you do, you cannot confirm specific details about the person leaving a review. This does make responding tricky, however. You can still acknowledge compliments or help mitigate the damage from negative responses.

Negative Reviews

When it comes to negative reviews, the first thing to point out is that EVERYONE can see both the review itself and the response that comes with it. If you respond with any type of anger, rant, inappropriate comments, etc., even good patients who might see your response would be less willing to have you be their doctor. That means regardless of what the review said, we have to be smart about how we approach everything.

To start off, acknowledge the individual’s feelings or frustrations. This is different from acknowledging fault – especially if it could lead to a malpractice concern. 

You don’t always need to admit you’re wrong. There are times when it might be ok (“I’ve heard about my receptionist and have taken steps to correct this behavior”), but discussing treatment could violate HIPAA and cause a concern for potential malpractice if you aren’t careful.

Once you have acknowledged the frustrations, next would be to ideally provide some refutation – “Our office is known for providing excellent and cheerful communication, so your comments leave me concerned.” This helps the reviewer and, even more importantly, anyone else reading the review understand that you take these concerns seriously and will do something about the issue stated.

Finally, we always want to take additional comments to the review offline, so we encourage the reviewer to discuss the topics with your office – “I would love to hear more about what happened, so please give our office a call at (###) ###-#### and ask for [Name].”

Positive Reviews

These are quite a bit easier to deal with! When responding to a positive review, we again like to encourage a statement that acknowledges the feelings of the reviewer. “Thank you for your kind words! We love working with [Name] too and agree she’s great on the phone.”

SEO can also be used in some responses – just be careful with HIPAA compliance. “We always want to be cheerful and provide the best podiatric care for all of our patients.”

And of course, you could always give some sort of call to action: “We hope you stay safe and healthy, and if you ever need any help, give us a call!”

General Tips & Tricks

The following are some additional thoughts to keep in mind:

  • Keep it short and sweet – no one wants to read a super long review OR response.
  • Stating names can help make things personable (if you didn’t catch that above).
  • If you are dealing with services outside of medical, such as a spa you run that has its own brand name, you can respond with more details and better keywords. “We love seeing you at our spa and found it a pleasure to give you our Ultimate Pedi!”

Struggling To Find The Time To Respond?

We know the hustle and bustle of an office can leave everyone too busy to look at reviews and figure out the best response. The good news is we have tools, coaching, and services to help you depending on your needs!

To find out more about what that looks like, fill out the form on our website. 

Fill your waiting room with the kinds of patients you want to treat.

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