25 Aug 3 Steps to Take Control and Manage Your Online Reputation

It has become regular practice to jump online to see what others think of a restaurant before grabbing a bit to eat.  You should expect that something as important as finding a physician is being treated at least as critically as dinner plans.  Our businesses are being evaluated online by customers every day.  When we receive a positive review we are elated, but a negative review can lead to lost customers and a poor reputation, which means a decrease in revenue.  Your medical practice is being reviewed just as are other non-medical services and businesses.  Patients are taking to online review platforms to air grievances and make their opinions regarding your practice known.  From HealthGrades, to Yelp, to Facebook, and countless more platforms, patients are utilizing the internet to share their experiences (the good and the bad) with their healthcare providers, and anyone else who will listen. Are you regularly taking the time to review your online reputation?

Your Online Reputation Matters

 

It is estimated that upwards of 84% of people trust a credible online review as much as personal recommendations.  Additionally, 90% of consumers will read less than 10 reviews before forming their own opinion about a business. So if you have 10 reviews on Yelp, and 7 of them are negative with only 3 positive reviews, your chances that a person looking at those reviews will become your patient are very small if they heavily value these opinions.

Every lost patient due to a negative review is lost revenue that could have been attained through proper management of your online presence.  Nearly 75% of patients say that their first step to finding a doctor is to look at online reviews. If you’re losing 3 in every 4 potential new patients due to a poor online reputation, that could have a negative impact on your business over time. So how do manage your online reputation?

3 Steps for Taking Control of Your Online Reputation

 

We know you’ve heard all this before, but how many actionable, detailed, realistic solutions have been offered?  We’re talking about ones that your practice can actually implement and afford. We can’t control what people say about us online, but we can take action to manage our response:

1. Designate someone at your practice to regularly search your practice and physicians on review sites.

Some of the big ones to pay attention to are:

    • Facebook
    • Yelp
    • Google Reviews
    • ZocDoc
    • HealthGrades
    • Vitals

Scouring the internet once a month not only allows you the opportunity to respond to reviews, but it also lends you the opportunity to learn what others think about your practice. If 6    patients left a review in the past two months regarding lengthy wait times, perhaps you need to evaluate what you’re doing internally.

 

2. Take the time to “claim” your personal and business profiles on various review sites.

For many of these sites, they will send you an email when someone reviews you or your practice. For example, every time a patient reviews one of our physician practices on Yelp, their practice manager receives an email notifying them of the review. This takes the guess work out of the process and allows us to take action immediately.

 

3. Implement a plan for responding to both negative and positive reviews.

Who is going to respond to the reviews? What are they going to say? Be careful when designating this person and make sure to choose someone with excellent customer service skills (and good written communication skills). Your response to a negative review can win over a potential patient or drive them further away. By creating a plan of action for how you will respond, it will allow for a more seamless process and save you a lot of time in the long run.

 

In addition to managing your online reputation, ensure that you have implemented other methods in your office for soliciting regular feedback from your patients.  Sometimes patients take to the internet to voice their opinion because they feel there’s no other way that they are being heard.  Check in with your patients verbally on a regular basis, and consider implementing patient questionnaires.  If you are given the feedback though, especially if there is a pattern, ensure that you have a plan to act on that feedback.  It will improve your practice and your patients will see the difference!

 

Next week, we’ll provide you with the basics for responding to online reviews!

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