Dear Dr. Noah Lot – Responding to Online ReviewsReading Time: 2 minutes
Dear Dr. Noah Lot,
Do I really need to respond to all online reviews for our veterinary practice? Even the horrible 1-star reviews that aren’t true?
– John, Veterinary Specialty Emergency Center
Yes, John, it is crucial to respond to ALL online reviews – the good, bad, and ugly. We understand it can be challenging to respond to an angry, bombastic, and possibly untrue review. However, monitoring and responding to online reviews is vital for your veterinary practice for a few reasons:
- The response is not necessarily for the person who posted it, but for prospective clients.
- It shows all readers of that online review site (Google, Yelp, NextDoor, Facebook, etc.) that you care, listen, and actively engage with your clients.
- A negative review might be due to a misunderstanding and require the practice manager to reach out and clear things up with the client.
- Responding to reviews can entice clients to write reviews online since they know they will receive a response in return.
- Positive reviews can help improve SEO, as Google factors online reviews in its rankings.
But wait! Before you respond to any review, you should:
- Remain calm: Negative reviews can be frustrating and infuriating, but replying out of defensiveness or anger is never going to help solve the problem.
- Investigate: Never respond to a good or bad review without finding out more information.
- Speak with the staff, including the attending veterinarian, specialists, technicians, and front office staff before publishing a response.
- Include your contact information, name, and title in your response and encourage the client to follow up with you offline.
We understand that during the pandemic, the implementation of curbside protocols have led to an influx of negative reviews from frustrated clients. However, if you have a strategy in place to respond to and manage reviews, you won’t feel overwhelmed when you get a 1-star Yelp notification in your inbox.
Need help with your online reputation? My good friends at BluePrints’ digital department help veterinary specialty and emergency hospitals around the country manage their online reputations, and they can help you too!