Did you know that 72 percent of patients begin their search for a new doctor online? Just like you may read reviews on products you are considering purchasing or restaurants you haven’t been to before, people read reviews about practices when looking for a new doctor.
In a world of social media and rating systems, online reputation management is more important than it’s ever been. But what is online reputation management? It is the process of controlling how your current and prospective patients view your practice on the internet, based on ratings and reviews. This includes how you respond to your negative and positive comments on social media sites such as Facebook and Yelp.
Why Your Online Reputation Matters
Your website, social media accounts and customer reviews are the first pieces of information that a prospective patient will see before picking up the phone. Your online reputation helps build the credibility and trust that a patient looks for in a doctor.
One of the best ways to begin building your online reputation is to claim all of your online profiles. You want to make sure each profile contains accurate information, such as your office location and contact information. Along with updating your information, add photos to help give your profiles that personal touch.
Once you have your profiles claimed and set up, ensuring positive reviews for your practice will help boost the prospective client’s perception of your practice before they speak with you.
Taking the Negative with the Positive
Patient reviews, both positive and negative, are important because they allow you to enhance the patient experience and grow your practice. It’s the crucial insight you need to know: What works? What needs to be improved? And, what doesn’t work?
Positive reviews result in more customers–48 percent of patients would choose to go to a doctor that is outside of their network based on a good review history. By growing the amount of positive reviews and ratings for your practice, you are able to better paint the digital picture for those prospective customers.
However, there may be some negatives along the way. Negative reviews give you the opportunity to reach out to your patient and turn it into a positive experience. This also allows prospective customers to see that you care about your patients and their experience with your practice. According to Software Advice, 65% percent of survey respondents think it is important for doctors to respond to online reviews. Plus, by responding to online reviews, it allows you to not only become part of the online conversation, but it gives you some control of the conversation as well.
An important thing to remember is to be cognizant of your patients’ experience with your practice. If a negative situation takes place in the office, try to address it before the patient leaves the office. Not only does this give you the opportunity to turn the patient’s negative experience into a positive one, but you may be preventing a potential negative review online.
What You Can Do
In order to take part of the online conversation, and receive those positive reviews, you want to start the conversation in person.
Find your satisfied patients and ask for them to leave a review on one of your social sites, or post an image in your office that says something along the lines of “We Love Reviews,” and include the logos and handles of your social accounts.