How to Respond to Online Reviews

by Nov 24, 2018SEO

Picture this – you’ve just moved to a new city and are looking online for a new optometrist. You see countless practices nearby to choose from and are overwhelmed with the decision of which will provide you with the best care. What do you do next? Check the patient reviews to see if they are having overall positive or negative experiences there. You pick the one with mostly 5/5 star ratings and schedule an appointment for next week.

This example shows the weight of online reviews in customer’s initial decision-making process. While the review itself provides a lot of information about the company/individual, the way they respond to the customer is also key. If a company got defensive or rude with an individual, that would not reflect well on them.

A survey by BrightLocal reports:

  • 57% of consumers searched online for a local business more than 6 times per year
  • The percentage of people searching for doctors/dentists has gone up to 38% from 35% in 2014
  • 88% read reviews to determine the quality of a local business and say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • 67% of consumers read up to 6 reviews before they feel like they can trust the business
  • 72% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more

Now that we are all well aware of the giant significance of these online reviews, let’s dive in to how to tackle how to respond to online reviews (both positive and the negative ones!).



You have received a perfect review from a patient/customer. Now you might be wondering if these reviews are for other people, why should you respond? Doesn’t the positive review speak for itself?

The reasons for why to respond are extensive. Your response will show that you are actively engaging with your community and shows potential patients that you value these individual’s business. Not to mention, it is just the polite thing to say thank you after receiving a compliment from someone. A response also helps you – an appropriate response can increase your practice’s SEO ranking.

Vendasta covers the important steps to approach your response. Start by thanking them for their review and make sure to address the specific elements they highlighted. Include your practice’s name and keywords associated with your field – this is how to use your response to boost SEO ranking. This is also a great time to slide in some free marketing, shamelessly promote a new product or feature. Finally, add in a call-to-action to end your response. You could encourage them to come again or refer their friends and family to you.



Ugh, this one is not as exciting as the 5/5 star review.

I definitely did not save the best for last. This person came in and did not experience the wonderful service you promise your customers. Let’s make sure this doesn’t happen again. Bad reviews are the perfect opportunity to tune up your processes and make sure that every single person coming in and out of your doors is getting the same great service.

Creating a response for negative reviews can be a challenge. Fight the urge to take the comment personally and get angry with the individual.

The important steps here are: acknowledge the specific complaint, sincerely apologize, educate the individual on the processes/abilities of your company, take action to soothe their frustrations, and finally thank them for their review. All of these are crucial to ensure the individual will forgive their negative experience.



Online reviews say a lot about your practice to both individuals with experience there and ones who are considering it. It is important to respond to both positive and negative reviews with care and sincerity to maximize customer satisfaction and increase SEO rankings (something we can help you with).


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