If you’re responsible for responding to patient reviews, it might surprise you to learn that:

  • 7,018 people posted a review about their GP practice on NHS.uk between April & June 2022.*
  • 3,611 people got a response. Just under half heard nothing.*

*Source: NHS.uk

How many more people read those reviews and only got one of half the story?

In a world where your social media posts only get seen by a handful of patients and you don’t have time to even finish your coffee some days, responding to an online review is a powerful way to show you’re listening and providing the facts to your patients.

We would argue responding to online reviews should be right up there as one of your main communications activities wherever you work in primary care.

Not just because CQC take an interest but because more people see those reviews than you think. And if you think that’s surprising, there’s still more…

People value your response

Yep, according to a 2019 NHS.uk user research study, patients value detailed and tailored responses. They actually prefer no reply at all over a cut-and-pasted one too.

Even negative reviews are good

Regardless of what’s said, positive or negative, what’s more important to a patient is that you took the time to reply.

According to the study, a profile full of responses, even for negative reviews, surprisingly gives an overall positive impression of your service. That’s because…

Answering online reviews isn’t the same as answering formal complaints. 

Answering a formal complaint is 1-on-1.

Answering an online review is 1-to-many.

More readers, more balance

Your side of the story, together with the facts, means you can provide a more balanced view.

Onlookers can see you’ve listened and have taken the time to respond too which is viewed positively. It’s a golden opportunity. Don’t believe us?

And one last thing…

Unlike a formal complaint, nasty or inaccurate reviews can often be reported and removed.

Even when they can’t, your response can completely take the sting out of the comments.

So what should you do?

Smile – It’s your chance to pour cold water on angry reviews where others can see it and make their own minds up.

Check – Can you remove that nasty review? Check Google’s restricted content policies and the NHS.uk ones.

And remember, if patient reviews are getting on top of you, Primary Care Comms Clinic has you covered. Our virtual communications manager service can take care of them on a monthly basis for you or get training for your team and let us show you our super-fast, tried and tested way of responding to online reviews.

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