Your online reputation defines your practice. However, the results of a PatientPop survey revealed nearly half of healthcare providers (47.6 percent) are unsure how to positively affect their standing.
If you’re not pleased with the current state of your healthcare reputation management, it’s time to make a change. Here’s some advice to help you build a name for your practice that makes you proud.
1. Ensure your online assets are in tip-top shape
Patients are conducting internet searches for your practice, so your doctor reputation management strategy needs to ensure your online assets — such as online listings, website, and social media profiles — are accurate and up-to-date. If you think this is optional, think again.
Nearly one-third of small businesses (29 percent) do not have a website, according to marketing firm Clutch. However, there are 292.9 million internet users in the U.S. as of March 2019, according to Statista. Clearly, if you’re one of the businesses without a website, you’re missing out.
In addition to your website, your practice also needs to be listed on popular directory sites. Having accurate and consistent profiles on sites like Google My Business and Yelp increases your visibility and promotes your practice.
Finally, 2019 Statista research revealed 79 percent of the U.S. population has at least one social media profile. Social media plays a huge role in online reputation management, so keeping your profiles updated and active is a must.
Read: 5 medical marketing mistakes doctors make — and how to fix them
2. Monitor popular sites for patient reviews
Patient reviews play a huge role in reputation management for doctors. People are writing reviews on your practice, and others are eager to read them.
In fact, three out of four people have conducted an online search to learn about a doctor, dentist, or medical care, according to a PatientPop survey. Not surprisingly, 69.9 percent believe a positive reputation is very or extremely important.
The five most popular sites for patient reviews are Google, WebMD, Yelp, Healthgrades, and Facebook, according to PatientPop. Failing to monitor what patients are saying causes you to miss a lot, including ideas for practice improvement and the opportunity to remedy souring relationships.
Look: Doctors and patients agree on impact of reviews, comparison shows
3. Actively request patient feedback
If you want to find out what patients think of your practice, go straight to the source. Sending patient satisfaction surveys after every visit is the best way to learn what you’re doing right and where there’s room for improvement.
Automating this process is the most efficient approach because you’re able to get valuable feedback without a time investment. Reputation management services can send HIPAA-compliant surveys and invite patients to share their positive experience with others.
A patient review report: One-third of practices fail at feedback
4. Implement a process for responding to patient feedback
Patients want to know you care, so responding to reviews is a big part of online reputation management. Most people (89 percent) read local businesses’ responses to reviews, according to BrightLocal.
Surprisingly, 51.8 percent of patients who’ve submitted negative feedback haven’t been contacted by the practice, according to PatientPop. Taking the time to respond is certainly advantageous, as patient satisfaction rates increase 99 percent when the negative feedback is addressed by the practice.
As a busy doctor, you don’t have time to scour review sites in search of feedback. Investing in reputation management software makes this a non-issue because it quickly brings new reviews to your attention.
This makes it easy to create a process for responding to patient reviews. Connecting with unhappy patients gives you the opportunity to make things right, increasing the chance they’ll give your practice another try.
Online reputation management is a big job. If trying to manage it on your own just isn’t working, it’s time to delegate the responsibility to your marketing staff or to work with outside companies to employ reputation management software or other services.
A good online reputation is priceless. Patients research your practice before making an appointment, so if they don’t like what they see, they’ll take their business elsewhere.
For more information on this topic, check out the blog post “Online reputation management for doctors: How to take control.”