Like it or not, in today’s digital era, your healthcare practice is only as good as its online reputation. In fact, 74.6 percent of people have looked online to find out about a doctor, a dentist, or medical care, according to PatientPop.
Therefore, it’s only natural to feel stressed if something puts your good standing at risk. Taking a swift and appropriate response is the best way to handle doctor reputation management problems. Use this guide to address common issues that can affect your online standing.
5 doctor reputation management concerns — and how to resolve them
1. An inappropriate online review
A whopping 97 percent of people who read online reviews also read businesses’ responses to reviews, according to BrightLocal. An overwhelming majority (71 percent) say they’re more likely to use a business that has responded to their reviews.
Given these numbers, the importance of taking action cannot be emphasized enough. If a review is fake or fraudulent — i.e. it is clearly spam or it is a review by a competitor — contact the review site it’s posted on and explain the situation. You might be able to have it removed if it’s clearly fake or vulgar in nature.
However, don’t panic if you’re unable to have the review taken down. As noted above, people will read your response to review, so write a calm and collected reply, if necessary, that shows you’re a class act.
2. Someone else claims or populates a directory profile
Claiming, completing, and monitoring directory profiles should be a part of your online reputation management strategy. Realizing someone else has access to — or complete control of — a profile with your practice name on it is undoubtedly alarming.
Every site has its own process for dealing with these issues, so you’ll need to reach out to the customer service team immediately. They should be able to help you figure out what’s going on and return exclusive access back to the rightful owner: you.
3. An incorrect response to a question on Google Q&A
The Google Q&A feature allows people to quickly and easily ask questions about your business. Both questions and answers are displayed on your Google My Business page, which can be helpful — if they’re answered correctly.
Finding an incorrect response can be alarming, so take swift action to have it removed. Click “more” next to the answer, then click “report” to alert Google of the false information.
In the meantime, replying to the question as your business is a great doctor reputation management strategy. The correct response from the business owner should set the record straight and negate the false information provided by the other user.
4. Several negative comments from a social media troll
It’s important for your practice to have a presence on popular social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Unfortunately, this opens the door to trolls who want to cause problems for your practice.
Having a plan in place to deal with trolls is an essential part of reputation management for doctors. The best approach to take often varies by situation, but a polite reply — or none at all — is generally the smartest route.
Unless the troll uses profanity or other language that’s offensive in nature, it’s typically best not to delete their comments.
Healthcare social media 101: Getting started with social media marketing for practices
5. A poor star rating
Only 53 percent of people will consider using a business with less than four stars, according to BrightLocal. Don’t panic if your star rating falls below this mark, however, because you can turn things around.
Send patient satisfaction surveys after each visit to find out what you’re doing well and where there’s room for improvement. Give satisfied patients the opportunity to share their feedback publicly, as each positive review will help bump your star rating up to an impressive level.
Never underestimate the importance of your doctor reputation management strategy. Prospective patients will research your practice online, and if they don’t like what they find, they’ll schedule an appointment with your competition instead.
For more on this topic, see the whitepaper “7 steps to boost your online reputation: a doctor’s guide.”