A recent PatientPop online reputation management survey found that 80.3 percent of doctors and other healthcare providers feel maintaining a strong online profile is extremely important. And yet, many providers take actions that greatly hurt their online reputations and their likelihood of attracting new patients.
Healthcare providers have the ability to achieve new levels of patient acquisition — if they follow online reputation management best practices and correct harmful actions. Read on to see some of the most common reputation mistakes.
5 online reputation management mistakes healthcare providers make
1. They disregard the impact of online reviews
Positive reviews on sites like Google, Facebook, Healthgrades, and WebMD are crucial to patient acquisition for a couple of reasons. First, reviews affect search engine rankings. According to Moz, review signals (review quantity, review velocity, review diversity, etc.) are factors in local pack/finder rankings as well as localized organic rankings.
Second, patients look to reviews to help them choose a provider. According to Software Advice, 72 percent of patients use online reviews as their first step in finding a new doctor. And 85 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, according to Bright Local.
Read: The importance of online reviews for healthcare practices
2. They do not claim their online directory listings
According to Search Engine Land, about half of potential sales don’t occur because consumers can’t find accurate information about the business. By claiming and populating your listings on important business and healthcare review sites, you increase the likelihood that prospective patients will find the information they need to request an appointment, in addition to other benefits.
3. They don’t have any online reviews
It’s difficult to catch a prospective patient’s eye if you don’t have any online reviews. This is especially true when you consider that multiple studies show that rich snippets — like the stars you sometimes see in search results — can increase click through rate (CTR) by 30 percent. An absence of reviews is visually unappealing and can hurt your patient acquisition.
Check out: Why healthcare practices should embrace online reviews
4. They discount dissatisfied patients
It can be tempting to dismiss a patient who is being difficult or who seems dissatisfied. A patient out-of-office might be a patient out-of-mind, but failing to address in-person issues can have a negative effect on your online reputation management.
Doctors and their staff should always aim for every patient to leave happy and satisfied. Always follow bedside manner best practices, and keep an eye out for nonverbal cues that signal dissatisfaction. Deal with any potential problems in the office, and your online reputation management will be easier.
Look: How to Deal With ‘Problem’ Patients at Your Healthcare Practice
5. They don't ask for patient feedback
Patient feedback is critical for your success online and off. Asking patients about their experiences at your practice gives you insight on what you can do to improve, and also opens the door for you to ask satisfied patients to write online reviews. If you feel uncomfortable asking patients for feedback face-to-face, or your efforts have not yielded desired results, see a few tips on how to create an efficient patient feedback system.
Are you guilty of making these online reputation management mistakes? It’s not too late to fix them and effectively attract new patients. Watch the webinar How to avoid 5 online reputation killers for tips.