Contributed by Curiosity Marketing Group
In the digital age, your online reputation is one of the most critical assets of your medical practice. Think about it, how do you choose where to dine or where to get your hair cut? If you’d start by checking for local reviews on Google or Yelp, you’re in good company. In fact, according to a consumer review survey, more than 69% of people consult online reviews every month to decide what businesses to patronize, and choosing a medical provider is no different. Therefore, maintaining a positive online reputation is essential for attracting new patients and also keeping existing ones.
What exactly is online reputation management?
We mentioned patient reviews, but that is just one component of what online reputation management is all about. In a nutshell, reputation management involves promoting a positive image of your practice online and addressing anything that might reflect poorly on your trustworthiness in the eyes of consumers. All the pieces that make up your online presence contribute to building the professionalism of your practice or undermining it, including your website, provider listings, review ratings, and more.
Patient Feedback – The Cost of a Bad Review
It may be impossible to understate the importance of monitoring your practice’s reviews online. Potential patients are increasingly using the internet to do research before choosing a provider, and a 2019 study suggests that 75% of patients would only book an appointment with a practice rated 4-stars or higher. So how do you entice existing patients to leave glowing reviews, and what do you do if you receive the dreaded one-star review? This is where having a solid Reputation Management strategy in place can help turn a negative review into a valuable opportunity for your office.
Treating Your Reputation Burns
The truth is that people are more likely to leave a review if they are dissatisfied with the experience, so what do you do when you get a negative review from a patient? A good reputation management strategy involves making sure all patients feel heard – especially those who turn to the internet to criticize your establishment. Addressing a disgruntled patient’s review promptly with a well-crafted, professional response can not only successfully convert the reviewer into a loyal customer but also signals to those checking your reviews that your office truly cares about patient feedback.
Other Pieces of the Reputation Puzzle
Along with your online rating, other elements make up a top-notch reputation management strategy and can help position your practice as professional and trustworthy.
Perhaps a prospective patient likes your reviews and is considering making an appointment – Now what? Chances are, they will look for a website to learn a little bit more about your expertise, what services you provide, and how they can contact your office. A well-designed website that offers the information patients are looking for can also have a huge impact on your overall credibility. 64% of small businesses have a website, and if you don’t have one, your practice can be difficult to find, thus, appearing less trustworthy. Likewise, if your website looks outdated, provides a poor user experience, or isn’t optimized for ranking in online searches, the traction you gained with positive reviews can be lost. Websites present excellent opportunities to showcase your qualifications and share information that helps you stand out as an expert in your field.
Healthgrades, Yelp, WebMD, and Google My Business are a few of the numerous online directories that patients may go to find reviews and information about your practice. Because online visitors frequent these online directories to find healthcare services, it is vital to ensure that they contain accurate information about your office. Taking the time to make sure the phone number, address, and hours of operation are present and correct across these sites can provide a significant boost to your credibility as a provider. Imagine trying to book an appointment just to find that the number listed on the healthcare profile is out of service. Making your practice’s important information easy to find and always up to date can go a long way with prospective patients.
You might be wondering what use a healthcare practice might have for a social media account. Beyond the funny cat videos and goofy memes, healthcare providers are turning to these platforms to show a more relatable side to their team and to start conversations with their patients. A staggering number of people are active on social media, so having a presence there provides another opportunity to connect with potential and current patients. You can utilize these accounts to promote positive reviews, build relationships with your patients, and speak on topics that position you as a leader in your field.
Huge Demands and a Huge Reward
There is no doubt that building and maintaining credibility online is hard work. The process is ongoing and requires monitoring, responsiveness, and attention to detail. You can be sure that the time needed to pull off successful reputation management pays off by positively impacting your acquisition of new patients and increasing patient loyalty.
Partnering with a Reputation Management Team
However, many doctors and office staff have their hands full managing patient care and administrative duties as it is. Plus, with the sheer quantity of websites, blogs, social media platforms, and review sites floating around the web, keeping track of them all on a regular basis can feel like an insurmountable burden.
For practices that are unable to devote the time needed to develop and implement reputation management strategies, partnering with highly-skilled professionals that can take managing patient reviews, website maintenance, and social media strategy off your plate can be a lifesaver. The experts at Curiosity Marketing Group have years of experience boosting and maintaining medical professionals’ online reputations. We understand the unique challenges physicians and their office’s face, such as remaining in compliance with HIPAA when responding to patient reviews and can build a customized plan to help you stay in control of your reputation. With cutting-edge tools to help us find and respond to reviews from all over the internet in one place and automation features to streamline the process, we can help you ensure that nothing related to your online image slips through the cracks.