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How to Respond to Reviews, The Right Way

Jason Schulz, Hey Chiro CEO

Reviews can tell a lot about a chiropractic clinic; such as the reputation and public perception that practice holds, and how they handle complaints or conflicts with patients (a negative review can be flipped into a positive depending on how it is handled).

While the chiropractic industry is fairly restricted by advertising guidelines as far as reviews and testimonials are concerned – it is still appropriate to respond to reviews that are outside of the control of the practice (like Google My Business).

I know for me, when auditing the web presence of a practice for Local Search signals, one of the things I always look at is reviews on major platforms.

Too often, (and potentially due to the hard to understand restrictions on Health Practitioners under National Law) practitioners don’t respond to reviews at all.

If they do, the responses are generic, insincere, and maybe even combative ? . This is a bigger problem than many people realise. 

Review content and review responses are a fairly significant part of search optimisation (as much as 15% of at least 200 ranking factors!).

The keywords used in this space (as well as your actual ⭐ rating) can have a big impact on the local search visibility of your brand.

Recently, I was doing an SEO audit for a potential client to find out if our services would be a good fit for them. One of the things that really struck me about this particular clinic was how they handled their reviews! 

Not only did the Practice Manager respond to every review, but each response was incredibly well researched and tailored to the patient.

He addressed each person by name and responded to every item they brought up – good or bad. He was incredibly thorough in his approach, offering proof, solutions, and even discounts when needed.

Where there was a miscommunication, he made sure it was clarified by speaking to all parties involved. If there was something the business had made a mistake on, he admitted and apologised for it.

His attention to detail really impressed me, and made even me want to do business with them.

Here’s the takeaway: review responses matter, but it’s not just what you say – it’s how you say it.

The level of attention you give to an issue can make or break a patient’s perception of your business; and influence your future interest from prospects.

 Here are some tips to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward when managing your online reputation.

  • Use the patient’s first name.
    People like to hear their name. Addressing each patient personally adds a level of respect and attention that has a positive psychological influence.
     
  • Address each point made.
    Whether the review is in praise of good customer service from a specific employee, or in critique of a perceived injustice, do MORE than just saying ‘thank you’ or ‘I’m sorry.’ Be specific and reference each of the items mentioned in the review. This will show that you actually read and absorbed what the patient had to say. There is nothing worse than posting the same generic response to every single review. You’re not a robot and neither are your patients 🙂
     
  • Do your homework.
    Follow up on the information given in the review. If they are claiming a negative experience with a specific service department or employee, reach out internally to clarify what was actually done or said. You can even check your CRM to see if this is a real patient or not. Utilise that feedback when you respond to show that you actually looked into the situation to get all of the information. This information can help provide a more well-rounded understanding of what actually happened.
  • Offer empathy and help when practical.
    If your team did make a mistake (i.e. clerical error or customer service issue) – a health related accusation is another story (see more below for instances where legal action is threatened), own it and offer a solution. This could be in the form of a discount, a request to speak personally with the patient and revisit the concern, etc. It is important to recognise that sometimes patients just want to feel heard, and showing that you want to make things right is enough for them to revise their review.
     
  • Respond to ALL reviews.
    I have noticed that often, clinics will respond to either positive or negative reviews, but not both. You need to show gratitude for patients who share their positive interactions with your practice. You also need to address concerns from patients who have less-desirable things to say. If you’re only doing one or the other, it may seem like you only care about certain types of patients.

    Note: There are of course cases in which a patient may be threatening legal action or making a health related claim. Whether or not this is a legitimate threat, it is more than okay to not respond to these types of reviews without first obtaining legal advice.
     
  • Take reviews with a grain of salt.
    You can’t please everybody, and sometimes there is nothing you can do to curb a patient’s anger. Occasionally even the most positive interactions receive critique. Keep in mind that as long as you’re doing your best to provide excellent customer service, you’re doing your job.

Remember: reviews are about much more than addressing customer sentiment. They are important for helping you rank better in search, and showing both existing and prospective patients why you’re a good chiropractor to work with.

Getting better at responding to reviews can add a ton of value to your practice operations, both online and in person.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Jason