According to research, 85% of patients are not comfortable selecting a healthcare provider with only a one-star rating. Why is that important? Well, more than 40% of patients use online reviews and consider doctor rating sites as “extremely important” for choosing their healthcare provider. Patients today are researching thoroughly before choosing a doctor. So it’s crucial for doctors to develop a strategy to establish and maintain the best possible online reputation.
Managing your online reputation is a continuous process. Here are some key things to watch to ensure you aren’t losing patients because of how you appear online.
An effective online reputation strategy can help existing and prospective patients recognize you as a credible, reliable, established and authoritative medical practice. Positive reviews can also crush negative comments, forcing them lower on search engine results pages and minimizing their damage.
Check out seven compelling strategies for monitoring and enhancing the online reputation of your healthcare practice:
#1 Leverage online ratings and reviews
Like them or not, review websites are here to stay. More than 77% of patients browse through online reviews as their first step towards finding a new doctor.
Patients use both healthcare-specific rating websites like HealthGrades and RateMDs and general review sites like Yelp and CitySearch. The best way to grab a consumer’s eye online is to have a large number of positive reviews across multiple ratings sites.
Instead of just waiting for reviews to come in, watch for ways to engage your patients and encourage them to share positive experiences online. Make the review process easy, and consider implementing a tool that aggregates reviews from various websites, so you can manage all your reviews in one place.
Read also: How to ask for reviews from your customers
#2 Fix your online presence
In addition to third-party review websites, make sure your business information is updated on search engines like Google and Bing. Uniform and accurate listings on various websites improves search engine rankings and reduces patient’s frustration over incorrect information. Correct listings are especially valuable for small healthcare practices that offer special services like flexible appointment schedules, short waiting times, and different insurance plan options.
Claim your listings on critical online directories, consumer sites and social media channels. These sites let you to share additional content like photos and reviews to present your healthcare practice as the best choice. Learn how lets you fix and enhance your listings across the web automatically.
#3 Keep an eye on what patients are saying on social
Social media is one the most useful sources for gathering the unedited opinion of your patients, especially the unhappy ones. With the help of social listening tools that hunt for mentions of your practice, you can discover high-engagement posts and address comments that need your attention. These tools scan social media channels like Twitter and Facebook and use crawlers to identify new review sites and online forums. The idea is to monitor all the feedback buzzing across the web that makes up your reputation. When you know what your patients are saying about your medical practice, you have a clear idea of the problems you need to fix.
#4 Always respond to reviews
Almost 70% of patients who share negative feedback feel better if their concerns are addressed. Your unhappy patients want to hear from you. Even if you are unable to solve an issue immediately due to insufficient information or a hectic schedule, do not ignore negative reviews. Acknowledge unsatisfied patients and let them know that you are looking into the matter. If you feel that the best way to deal with the situation is taking it offline, then do that, but try to minimize the steps involved in solving each problem.
Important: while responding to negative feedback, ensure that you adhere to HIPAA guidelines and check our blog on staying HIPAA compliant while responding to patient reviews.
#5 Promote positive testimonials
Negative feedback is inevitable, but it can be overpowered by the voices of your happy customers. If you’ve received some amazing patient reviews, share them on your social media pages and let prospective customers know. The more you intelligently share content online, the better reputation you build. BirdEye can help you do this automatically.
#6 Build a strong social media presence
When it comes to reputation management, social media is indispensable as it helps you reach both your existing patients and discover potential patients. It is crucial to create social media profiles on sites like Facebook and Twitter and keep them updated. If you already have social media pages, keep them active by sharing useful content and positive feedback from existing patients. These profiles determine how patients perceive your practice, and it’s up to you to ensure they show you in a positive light.
#7 Motivate your staff to provide outstanding service
Disappointed patients don’t tend to give you a second chance. Often, they share their bad experiences with their family and friends. This negative word-of-mouth can cost you patients. To avoid this situation, ensure that your employees are providing excellent patient care and exemplary service, and dive into patient feedback to find out what specifically your staff could improve upon. Delegate team members to manage patient concerns on certain channels to make sure nothing slips through the cracks.
Online reputation management is critical to the success of healthcare providers in today’s world of digitally connected patients, but it can be overwhelming without the right tools in place. BirdEye is a powerful online reputation management solution that caters to all the strategies mentioned above and many more. With BirdEye, you can manage feedback, respond to it, get more reviews, fix your online presence, share positive reviews on social media channels and listen to what patients are saying about you.