These days, people won’t even go to a restaurant without looking up ratings and reviews online first. If they don’t trust a restaurant without reviews, why would they trust a doctor without reviews? This is why medical reputation management has become so important for doctors, especially those trying to build up their patient list.
Take Advantage of Online Review Sites
Word of mouth is simply not enough anymore. The only way for you to appeal to a large number of potential patients is to market yourself and your practice on the internet.
Whether you are aware of it or not, your practice is most likely already on some type of online review site. It is your responsibility to engage with these sites. Some sites, like Healthgrades and RateMDs, will ask for verification from a physician before posting information. However, some do not and it would be in your best interest to stay connected with these sites to ensure that the information about your practice is accurate and updated when necessary. Accurate, up-to-date information on review sites will help to increase your ranking in search engines.
Along with accurate listings, you want to make sure you have accurate reviews. Some sites offer a close-loop option. This ensures that all of the reviews you receive are verified, meaning that no one can write a review unless they’ve actually come in for an appointment.
Ask, Don’t Pressure Patients for Reviews
Would you tell your friend that you would give him or her $5 to write a nice comment on your Facebook picture? Maybe. Would it be genuine? No. The incentive you offer completely negates any positive affirmation you may receive from the person.
The same concept is true for doctors. Some businesses when asking customers for reviews will offer a chance to win a gift card if they fill out a survey. A lot of people will see this offer, take the survey, and give a mediocre review just to be given a chance to win a free gift card. This is not the way to build positive relationships with your patients.
Instead of offering incentives to get people to rate your practice, try listening to your patients. If a patient expresses positive feedback towards you, reach out to them. Ask if they would mind writing a quick review for you. If a patient goes out of his or her way to compliment you on your services, then there is a good chance they will be willing to take the time to write a review for you. But you have to ask them.
“Not asking your clients to post online reviews would be a disservice to your practice. Patients who are unhappy with their experience are quicker to write an unsolicited review than patients who are happy with their experience.” – Sheryl Paton, Director of Marketing for the Reproductive Science Center of New Jersey
Another simple way to receive feedback from patients is to send out a post-appointment email asking your patient to fill out a SHORT survey about their experience. Short is the key word. Don’t make it difficult for you patient to give you a review. No one wants to sit and fill out a ten page survey, no matter how satisfied they are.
Respond to All Reviews
A key aspect of medical reputation management is engaging with your patients. Take time to respond to online reviews. All of them, not just the positive ones.
It is very easy to respond to a positive review, but it is how you respond to a negative review that truly shows who you are as a doctor and how much your practice cares about its patients. Hopefully negative reviews are not common for your practice, but when you see one, offer them a positive response. Whatever their complaint is, tell them you appreciate the constructive criticism and that you will take steps to fix the problem. This lets the patient know that they are not being neglected and that you care about them.
Offering a positive response to a negative review can be the difference between losing a patient and keeping one. Also, prospective patients will see that you took the time to address an error and that you are serious about making all of your patients happy. However, it would not be wise to have an open conversation online about this individual’s complaint.
“While it is important to address a negative review, you don’t want to further agitate the individual who made the post. Our strategy is to leave a comment that publicly acknowledges the complaint while giving contact information that will allow the individual to contact us in order to further discuss their issue.” – Sheryl Paton, Director of Marketing for the Reproductive Science Center of New Jersey
Offering to speak with your patient one-on-one about their problem shows them that you truly do care about the issue and what you can do to make them happy.
Customer Service is Key
Although medical reputation management is focusing mainly on internet presence, that is not the only way to generate reviews. Good old fashioned customer service is crucial.
How a patient feels when they go in for a doctor’s appointment has a big impact on whether they stay with that practice or not. It is understandable to become stressed at work, but it is very important that you keep the patient’s experience in mind. You want your practice to be a safe place for your patients, a place where they can feel comfortable from the moment they walk in until they’re back home lying on their couch.
Every Practice Needs Medical Reputation Management
Using medical reputation management services is the best way to be aware of your online presence.
“Being aware of your online reviews is extremely important. In the past, we would hand our patients a list of different third-party review sites that would give the patient an array of options for writing a review about us. While this generated helpful feedback, it did not allow us to become aware of or track the reviews until they were already posted, which is especially important if a negative review is written. To resolve this issue, we began asking patients to use a kiosk tablet in the office to leave a review. The reviews left on this tablet would then be emailed directly to us by our reputation management service provider. This now gives us the ability to be aware of all of our reviews and to be able to address any negative reviews before they could have an adverse effect on our reputation.” – Sheryl Paton, Director of Marketing for the Reproductive Science Center of New Jersey
There are a number of tasks and responsibilities at a doctor’s office on any given day, which leaves the employees of that practice with very little time to focus on their online reviews. But being aware of your negative reviews especially can help you to act quickly before that review has time to damage your reputation.
Medical reputation management is becoming more and more prevalent in today’s world. With so many doctors growing their web presence, the competition for attracting customers is increasing rapidly. Grow My Practice Online is dedicated to helping with your online reputation management. We will help protect and advance your practice’s reputation. If you need help attracting new patients or managing your reputation, contact us today.