It’s Friday night, and you’re exhausted from a busy work week. As you rummage around your kitchen looking for dinner ingredients, you open the fridge to see what’s there. It’s nearly empty, and unfortunately, the remaining groceries look, well, unappetizing. Your stomach is growling, and going out to eat is looking like your best option. Pretty soon, you’re on Yelp, tracking down the best cheesesteak your city has to offer. You sit down on the couch and scroll through the reviews until you’ve found “the one” (in my mind, finding the best cheesesteak sandwich might look a lot like a Nicholas Sparks love story—fraught with drama and full of everlasting love, but we’ll leave that for another post). “Sam’s Sandwich” has great reviews, and thanks to those, you’re on the road to sandwich bliss.

So, what do sandwich shop reviews have to do with your therapy clinic? You may not be selling sandwiches, but you certainly should be selling the value of your therapy services online. Adults are using the Internet more than ever to find everything from their next meal to advice regarding specific medical diagnoses. And these days, online reviews aren’t only reserved for stores and restaurants. Patients are looking to Internet reviews to help them find their next healthcare provider. As this Pew Research Center article reveals, “16% of internet users, or 12% of adults, have consulted online rankings or reviews of doctors or other providers.” That means your clinic's reviews can influence your success, because patients are making their initial judgements long before they walk through your clinic’s doors.

But it’s not just the reviews themselves that are informing your potential patients’ first impressions; they’re also judging you based on how you respond to those comments and ratings. Stumped on how—and when—to respond to reviews? Here’s a hint: You should respond to all reviews—the good, the bad, and the ugly. Here’s how:

Down with Denials! 5 Claim Fixes to Make Sure Your PT Clinic Gets Paid - Regular BannerDown with Denials! 5 Claim Fixes to Make Sure Your PT Clinic Gets Paid - Small Banner

The Good

Engaging in thoughtful dialogue with your patients shouldn’t end when they step outside of your clinic’s doors. When a patient leaves a positive review online, you have a chance to show him or her you genuinely care by offering a word of thanks. You should craft your responses as if the patient were thanking you in person. For example, if a patient complimented your clinic during his or her visit, you wouldn’t turn around and ignore that person, would you? I hope not. The same logic applies online. As you’re thanking your reviewer, be sure to write in a tone that matches the vibe of your clinic. If your staff’s attitudes are upbeat and casual, don’t be afraid to write in a bubbly tone. If you err on the more serious and clinical side of the spectrum, then be straightforward—but always keep your responses kind and positive.

The Bad

Bad reviews hurt. And if left unaddressed, such negative comments can hurt more than your feelings; you risk hurting your business, too. Although patients look for positive reviews when choosing a provider, this JAMA article shows that negative reviews hold their own power: “Among those who sought online physician ratings in the past year, 35 percent reported selecting a physician based on good ratings and 37 percent had avoided a physician with bad ratings.” Although you can’t avoid bad reviews entirely, you can craft responses that show your patients you genuinely care about their experiences in your clinic—and that you’re doing everything you can to improve on the thing that spurred the negative review in the first place.

Okay, so responding to bad reviews might be a little nerve-wracking, but remember, it’s all in the name of improvement—of your reviewers’ opinions of your practice as well as your practice itself. And when patients do offer advice, take it with grace, and whatever you do, don’t argue. Highlight how important it is that they have a positive experience in your clinic, then take a hard look at their suggestions. If you do find room for improvement, adjust your processes, and if those adjustments come as a direct result of a patient’s suggested changes, let that patient know. He or she will be impressed that you not only listened, but also took action.

The Ugly

There might come a time when a patient leaves a negative review that really pushes the limit. He or she might make over-the-top claims, use expletives, or write other damaging (or false) statements. In these types of situations, it’s easy to let your emotions get the better of you. Resist the urge to fight fire with fire—whether or not the patient’s complaint was justified. Instead, politely address the comment, expressing how sorry you are that the patient’s experience was so negative. Offer to contact the patient by phone to discuss his or her frustrations (just ask him or her to provide a phone number via email or direct message so it does not appear publicly).


It’s crucial you respond to all reviews in a timely manner, but this especially holds true when the situation is boiling hot. And your prompt attention won’t just help appease your naysayer; when future patients are stalking your clinic online, they’ll see the proactive measures you took to address past concerns. It can be reassuring—and refreshing—for a prospective patient to see that a clinic cares enough about client satisfaction to to address such reviews head on, rather than simply shrugging them off.


In this day and age, online reviews are important. And while not all reviews will be glowing, every published opinion of your practice provides you an opportunity to demonstrate how deeply you care about your patients—by either thanking them or engaging them to find out what you can do better. So, when your patients leave reviews, respond politely, appropriately, and quickly. Keep these tips in mind, and you just might win some lifelong clients—or at the very least, a delicious cheesesteak sandwich. (Who’s hungry?)

Do you have questions about online reviews? Leave them in the comments section below.

  • articleSep 13, 2013 | 7 min. read

    6 Common Rehab Therapy Marketing Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

    So, you’ve got a marketing plan , you’ve honed your content-creation skills , and you’re ready to get down to business—or, to be more accurate, you’re ready to get down to marketing your business. As with any new endeavor, you’ll probably experience a few bumps along the road to building a successful marketing campaign—and that’s okay. After all, some of the world’s best innovations came about through trial and error. But while mistakes often present you with …

  • 7 Tips for Building a Strong Community on Social Image

    articleSep 9, 2014 | 7 min. read

    7 Tips for Building a Strong Community on Social

    Before the dawn of the Internet, building a community—around a business, an institution, or any other entity of mutual interest—required a heavy investment of face time (and I’m not talking about the iPhone app ). These days, though, starting a conversation around virtually any topic is as easy as hitting “Enter.” But as with face-to-face interactions, it’s one thing to run your mouth—or in this case, your keyboard—and another to wrangle your listeners’ interest enough to get …

  • 6 Types of Negative Online Feedback (and How to Handle Them) Image

    articleSep 17, 2014 | 9 min. read

    6 Types of Negative Online Feedback (and How to Handle Them)

    In elementary school, we learned the old adage , “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Unfortunately, this basic credo of kindness doesn’t quite hold up in the virtual world. While online comments and reviews are crucial to reinforcing your capability and credibility as a healthcare provider, it’s nearly impossible to elicit positive feedback 100% of the time. Depending on your tolerance for criticism, your reaction to reading a negative message …

  • How to Take Over the Internet: 5 Simple Strategies to Win More Patients Image

    webinarFeb 27, 2015

    How to Take Over the Internet: 5 Simple Strategies to Win More Patients

    Nowadays, everyone is looking for a way to “go viral” online. But with all that go-big-or-go-home hype, it’s easy to get intimidated—and that leaves many small business owners wondering if they have the time, resources, or wherewithal to even make a dent in the Internet, let alone break it.  Don’t get stuck in the muck and mire of cliché goals; you don’t have to hit a million views to make a big impact online. As a private …

  • Discovering and Marketing Your Physical Therapy Niche Image

    articleApr 25, 2019 | 6 min. read

    Discovering and Marketing Your Physical Therapy Niche

    If you’ve been following along on the WebPT Blog , then you already know how important it is to develop a unified brand for the PT profession . After all, as it stands, many people still don’t understand the value of physical therapy. And that’s gotta change—if you want to serve more patients, that is. But, that doesn’t negate the importance of creating a stellar brand for your own practice —one that resonates with your audience and …

  • Contests, Sweepstakes, and Raffles on Social Media: What You Need to Know Image

    articleSep 22, 2014 | 5 min. read

    Contests, Sweepstakes, and Raffles on Social Media: What You Need to Know

    Humans are competitive by nature—and if there’s one thing we love more than a bit of friendly rivalry, it’s the prospect of winning a super cool prize for our efforts. (And honestly, the coolness of the prize doesn’t even matter; if I win a chip clip, it’s automatically ten times cooler than all other chip clips because I won it.) So, if you’re looking for a way to stir up some excitement around your practice on social, …

  • articleJul 17, 2013 | 4 min. read

    About Engagement on Social Media

      Mak Kats is our Social Media & Community Manager. When he’s not tweeting or facebooking on behalf of WebPT, he stays busy keeping up with the latest trends in social media marketing. You can reach him at  or find him on  LinkedIn . You don't get engagement by simply blasting an open-ended question across all your social channels or posting it in dozens of online forums and LinkedIn groups. I promise, nothing you will do is …

  • The Golden Rules of Running a PT Clinic Blog Image

    articleMar 14, 2019 | 7 min. read

    The Golden Rules of Running a PT Clinic Blog

    If you’ve ever wondered whether blogging is a worthwhile use of your time as a PT clinic owner, the answer is almost certainly “yes.” After all, creating a blog for your PT clinic has countless benefits. In addition to providing valuable information to your current, past, and future patients, a blog helps keep your website fresh and relevant —as opposed to looking like nothing more than a digital brochure for your clinic. Furthermore, blogging allows you to …

  • 6 Simple Ways to Build Your Brand on LinkedIn Image

    articleSep 24, 2014 | 7 min. read

    6 Simple Ways to Build Your Brand on LinkedIn

    When you hear the word “brand,” you probably think of big-name product manufacturers—the Apples, Nikes, and Coca-Colas of the world. But if you offer products or services to consumers in a professional capacity, then you already have a brand—whether you’re aware of it or not. Because when you strip away all of the fancy-schmancy logos and taglines, your “brand” is really just the way your audience feels about you and your business. While resource-strapped small business owners …

Achieve greatness in practice with the ultimate EMR for PTs, OTs, and SLPs.