Best Practices When Asking For and Responding to Online Reviews

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Are you asking for and responding to all of your business reviews? If not, read on! Online reviews on sites like Google, Facebook, and Yelp allow people to share their word-of-mouth experiences faster and further. In many cases, a consumer’s first impression of your business depends on your digital reputation, including your website and the pictures and reviews posted by your consumers.

More consumers are reading online reviews than ever before. In 2021, 77% ‘always’ or ‘regularly’ read them when browsing for local businesses (up from 60% in 2020). Patients and customers use these online reviews to discover great products, services, and companies. This makes it extremely important for businesses to learn how to ask for reviews and respond to them. When not done correctly, it could result in a HIPAA violation or damage your brand’s reputation.

Asking for Reviews

A Bright Local report revealed that 70% of consumers will leave a review for a business when asked. That’s a great percentage! Do you have a process in place to actively ask all customers to leave a review? If not, you should! The easiest way to incorporate this is into your checkout process. Try this example script!

  • “Our goal is to ensure everyone who visits our business is 100% satisfied with their experience. If you felt your experience was positive, would you be willing to write us a short online review?”
  • If they respond that they are not satisfied, see if you can help! “I’m sorry you were less than 100% satisfied with your experience. Is there anything I can do at this time to address your concerns?”

Age and Volume of Reviews

Unfortunately, online reviews aren’t something you can collect a bunch of and then take a break. Most potential consumers need to read ten or more reviews before considering a business (depending on the type of business). In many cases, reviews two weeks or older are considered irrelevant. Driving consumers online to review sites must be part of a consistent strategy and should be an ongoing effort.

Importance of Replying to Online Reviews

It’s essential to reply to all reviews, both positive and negative. Both warrant a response. Replying to reviews is an opportunity to fix something that went wrong or to reinforce and spotlight the things customers love about your business. Additionally, replying after someone takes the time to provide you with feedback about your business is polite!

Key Statistics

  • 89% of consumers are ‘highly’ or ‘fairly’ likely to use a business that responds to all reviews.
  • 57% say they would ‘not be very’ or ‘not at all’ likely to use a business that doesn’t respond to reviews at all.
  • 53% of customers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews within a week. However, 63% say that a business has never responded to their review.

How to Correctly Reply to Reviews

Depending on your unique industry, there may be additional tips and tricks to responding to reviews. For example, it’s a little trickier for healthcare providers to craft responses to negative and positive patient reviews. Due to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA),  which is designed to safeguard patients’ health information, practices must respond without referring to any specifics about medical care or the patient’s identity, which could be construed as “patient data.” To effectively reply, keep these tips in mind:

  • When necessary, keep it vague
  • Say “Thank You”
  • Respond in a timely manner (ideally within 24-48 hrs)
  • Stay professional and courteous
  • Don’t respond emotionally
  • Seek to understand your customer’s experience with your business
  • Don’t place blame
  • Apologize when appropriate
  • Offer to talk it over if a customer has a complaint
  • Take the conversation private
  • Show that you’re authentic and genuine by signing your name or initials

Don’t respond if you’re only going to write the same generic “Thank you” message for two dozen positive reviews. Take the time to personalize your responses and make them unique.

Take Control of Your Online Reputation

For best results, we recommend assigning a specific person in your practice to reply to and respond to all online reviews. Include this task as part of their job role and responsibility. Remember to allocate time accordingly based on the volume of reviews your business receives.

By responding to all reviews and applying these best practices, you can make a positive impact on your brand reputation, generate more new customers online, and grow your overall revenue.


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Heather Morrison

Heather is the VP of Operations at Innereactive and we are lucky to have her. She has over five years of experience running an HR department and enjoys helping businesses like yours find solutions to their HR needs.



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