There are 3 options when it comes to responding to online reviews:
- Don’t respond at all
– The safest, but not always practical
- Respond in a completely generic way,
– The office must be VERY careful not to confirm any patient details or even that the poster is a patient
- Say what you want
– Be prepared to write a check to the government to pay the fines when any patient complains about a HIPAA violation
We usually prefer option 2, but you have to be careful.
- For positive reviews you can say things like:
• “Thank you so much for the kinds words”
• “We appreciate this review”
• “We love it when people have a positive experience at our office”
• “We get compliments on ‘@employee’ all the time, our patients love her”
• Be careful to never confirm that they are a patient, use any PHI, or even directly confirm what they are saying
- For negative reviews
• Try to call the patient first and talk to them. Let them know you saw the review and that are reaching out to see what you can do to resolve the situation. Let them suggest something. If you can, do it. If you feel the conversation is going well, you can even ask if they would remove the review.
• If you can’t reach the patient or if the patient is still upset, respond carefully
Always be careful to state your policies in generic terms, do NOT confirm they are a patient or that the situation actually happened, for example:
- “Our office policy with insurance is to require all copays at the time of service”
- “In some situations we are required to use certain labs by an insurance company and those labs can take longer”
- “Our staff is thoroughly trained in utilizing the latest technology”
- “Exceptional customer service is something we strive for, we are not perfect, and when we fall short we always analyze any breakdowns and review correct policy with staff”
We know some of this sounds ridiculous and unnecessary, but unfortunately, those are the rules.
If you ever need help responding to a review, forward it to us, and we will be happy to help.