How to Respond to Online Reviews Like a Pro

posted on Friday, August 9, 2019

As you start ramping up the glowing reviews from positive patient experiences, you’ll start to feel really confident. On the flip side, what happens when you receive a negative review? How should you respond and how can you be confident you’re staying HIPAA compliant? Read the guidelines below to ensure you’re handling it like a pro.


Whether the review or comment is positive or negative, always be as generic as you can. Avoid using the patient’s name or identifying any details of their visit. This includes never acknowledging whether the patient actually came in. Instead of saying, “Thanks for visiting our clinic.” say ”We aim to deliver the highest quality patient care. Thanks for providing this feedback!”


When it comes to responding to negative reviews, less is more. One or two sentences is a good rule of thumb. Thank them for their review, apologize, sympathize or take accountability. Then, request to move the review offline to make it right. 

Often times, long-winded responses can actually legitimize the complaint, as if the review needed defending in the first place. For that reason, don’t go into detail (it can sound defensive) and don’t ask follow-up questions.


Very rarely will you be able to completely resolve a patient’s bad experience thanks to your empathetic online reply. In fact, trying to solve everything in one electronic response can often do more harm than good.

Instead, aim to take the conversation offline. Provide contact information for your practice, including the name of a specific contact person, if possible. Doing so demonstrates your receptiveness to feedback and that your practice takes the patient experience seriously enough to have someone in charge of addressing any concerns.


If a patient leaves a negative review, encourage the reviewer to contact the clinic directly. “We aim to deliver the highest quality patient care, please reach out to our clinic directly.”

Whatever your decision, handle it quickly, definitively and offline. We would also say that if/when you are able to talk with a patient and rectify a negative situation, you should ask them if they would mind updating their review on Google. You can say something like “Patient care is important to us and so is our online reputation. If you’re satisfied that we’ve resolved your issue we’d love it if you’d consider updating your review with how we were able to help.”

Focus on promoting positive reviews online and your reputation will follow suit!


“We’re sorry to hear of your negative experience. If you’re open to discussing this further, please call us at [phone number] and ask to speak with [Name], our Practice Manager. We’d greatly appreciate the opportunity to make things right and improve your experience in the future.”

“Thank you for your feedback. At [Practice Name], we take patient satisfaction seriously. In order to protect our patients’ privacy, we prefer to handle situations like these offline. Please call our office so we can better understand the situation.”

“We’re sorry to hear you had an unsatisfactory experience. Our goal is to ensure that all of our patients have the best experience every time they visit our office. We pride ourselves on our honesty, integrity, and superior clinical skills. Please call our practice at [phone number] if you would like to discuss further.”

“Thank you for your review. I’m sorry to hear you had such a frustrating experience, but really appreciate you bringing this to our attention. We’ll look into improving this in the future.” 

“We’re sorry to hear of your negative experience and will work to provide a more positive experience to all of our patients. Thank you for sharing your feedback so we can get better.”


Based on the number of responses or capacity to respond, simply “Liking” a review on Facebook or providing a “Thumbs Up” for a Google review is an appropriate response. A simple “Thanks for your positive review!” is highly recommended too.

  1. online reputation
  2. online reviews
  3. patient experience