5 Helpful Online Reputation Management Tips for DoctorsPosted: January 25, 2024 - By Health Dev
As a medical practice, your online presence and reputation matter. Because most people start their search for a doctor online, you want to be sure that you make a positive first impression. You want to attract new patients to your practice and entice them to schedule an appointment.
Unfortunately, when you’re busy focusing on providing high-quality care to your existing patients, taking care of your online reputation can often fall by the wayside. Ignoring what patients are saying about you online—especially when it’s negative—leaving your social media pages unattended, and not updating your website can all reflect poorly on your practice. In turn, this can keep you from growing your practice the way you’d like to.
Online reputation management for doctors can help you avoid these issues. Fortunately, it’s not as complicated as it might sound. With these straightforward steps, you can ensure a positive online presence for your medical practice and boost your overall reputation.
1. Respond to Negative Reviews
A staggering 94% of patients rely on online reviews when choosing a doctor. As great as it would be to have nothing but positive online reviews, the reality is that bad reviews do happen.
While it’s disappointing to hear that a patient had a poor experience in your medical practice, a few negative reviews won’t harm your overall reputation, especially if you don’t ignore them. What matters is how you handle them.
Reply Quickly and Politely
Like most other medical practices, you probably enjoy reading positive reviews. You might even go so far as to thank patients for their positive feedback. A negative review, on the other hand, can hurt. You do your best to provide exceptional care to every patient, so it can be disappointing to see someone express a complaint.
The last thing you want to do, though, is to ignore negative feedback. Instead, you want to address it as soon as it appears. First, apologize to the patient for their experience and sympathize with them. Acknowledge their complaint, but avoid getting too personal in your reply. Responding to bad reviews and being polite about it shows potential patients that you care about their satisfaction.
Continue the Conversation Privately
Even if you know a patient’s negative review is wrong, avoid trying to correct them online. That could result in an argument, which would reflect poorly on your medical practice.
Instead, you’ll want to discuss their patient feedback privately. As much as you might want to defend your practice’s reputation on the review platform, it will reflect much more positively on you if you don’t.
When you reply to negative patient feedback, ask the patient to contact you. Make it easy for them by providing your phone number and email address right there.
Alternatively, you can reach out to the patient. Either way, you want to take the conversation off of a public platform, which allows you to get to the bottom of the issue and protect your online reputation.
Work With the Patient To Find a Solution
During your discussion with a patient regarding their negative review, work with them to find a solution. You don’t want to lose them as a patient. A discount on a future service or refunding them for the service they weren’t happy with can help. While you might not want to ask patients to remove negative reviews, a person may go back and edit their online feedback to reflect their satisfaction with your response.
Use Negative Reviews as a Learning Tool
In some cases, negative reviews can be beneficial to your medical practice. As you go through patient feedback, be on the lookout for patterns.
If people are expressing similar complaints, there may be a problem in your practice that needs addressing. For instance, if they’re unhappy with long queues at check-in, a digital check-in system could help. Not only can it shorten wait times in line, but it also takes the burden off of your front office staff. In other words, patient reviews can improve your practice for everyone.
2. Encourage Reviews From Your Current Patients
Since new patients use feedback on review sites to select a medical practice, you want to be sure they have something to read. However, most people don’t think about leaving patient reviews, especially after positive experiences.
Believe it or not, 72% of people asked to leave a review will do just that. In other words, you can encourage patient feedback by asking for it.
Train Your Staff To Ask
One of the first steps you can take to encourage more positive reviews is to train your medical practice staff to ask. For instance, your front office staff can ask a patient how the patient’s visit was during check out.
If the patient is happy, the staff member can then request that they leave a review. You might also speak to your long-time patients and ask if they’d be willing to share their experiences with your practice online.
Along with verbally asking for reviews, have your staff provide a reminder. Include a link or QR code on appointment reminder cards or take-home instructions. That way, your patients won’t forget after they’ve left the office.
Send Out an Email After Appointments
The office isn’t the only place where you can ask your patients for reviews. Another effective strategy is to send follow-up emails after their appointments. Using the patients’ names and thanking them for their visits can help make the emails feel more personal.
At the end of the email, let each patient know that you hope they had a positive experience and invite them to share their feedback online. Include a link to the review page of your medical practice website or a third-party site such as Google or Yelp.
While not everyone will follow through, you might find that several of your patients are more than happy to share their positive feedback just because you asked.
3. Listen to What Your Patients Are Saying
Review sites aren’t the only places where your current patients talk about you or where potential patients look for a healthcare provider. Patients may mention you to others on social media or even leave comments on your social media posts.
Paying attention to what people are saying about your practice on these platforms is critical to maintaining your online reputation.
Monitor Your Social Media Accounts
These days, most businesses, including medical practices, have expanded their online presence to include social media. But it’s not enough to just have an account on Facebook, Instagram, or other social media sites. You’ll also need to be active on them. Not only does that help to establish your medical practice online, but it also gives you a chance to keep an eye on what your patients say about you.
Don’t just read what your patients and social media followers say on your posts, though. You’ll want to engage with them, too. Say thank you when someone leaves positive feedback. Provide answers to questions. If someone expresses a concern or complaint, address it. Just as you would manage negative reviews, be prompt and polite. Suggest that the patient call you, send an email, or DM you.
Again, handling the situation in private is crucial. It helps to avoid a string of messages that could otherwise turn into an argument. It can also prevent others from joining in and harming your online reputation.
Set Google Alerts
You can make it easier to find new mentions of your medical practice online by setting up Google alerts. That way, you can receive notifications every time your name gets mentioned online.
These notifications can allow you to address poor reviews, negative publicity, and other issues that could rapidly affect your online reputation. At the same time, you can also thank patients for positive reviews or respond to questions on social media platforms just as quickly.
You want to be proactive when it comes to online reputation management. When you can manage your online presence quickly and effectively, you can more easily attract prospective patients and encourage them to book appointments.
4. Maintain a Solid SEO Strategy
As mentioned earlier, most patients start their search for a healthcare provider online. They’ll typically take to search engines like Google and type in specific words that allow them to find medical practices like yours nearby.
In today’s highly digital age, however, most doctors have an online presence. Standing out is essential for getting your name near the top of the search results page. Research shows 75% of people never go past the first page. The higher up you are, the more likely your site is to get clicked on.
A solid search engine optimization (SEO) strategy can help to keep you at the top of the search results pages. In addition to increasing your visibility, it also helps your practice appear more trustworthy and may even help negate the impact of poor reviews.
Keep Your Practice at the Top of Your Patients’ Minds
When you rank near the top of the search results pages, you’re much more visible. Even if a prospective patient doesn’t visit your site right away, they’re more likely to remember you.
Being at the top of prospective patients’ minds means that there’s a greater chance that they’ll eventually visit your practice website. They may even contact you or book an appointment.
Push Down Negative Reviews
Search engine optimization isn’t something you can do once and then forget about it. Staying on top of it can help push bad reviews and negative press about your practice further down the search results pages. As such, it’s a vital component of your online reputation management. The further down the negative coverage goes, the less likely it is that potential patients will see it.
Implement SEO Strategies
There are several SEO strategies that can help your practice rank higher on search results pages. Here are a few to use:
- Research and implement keywords throughout the content on your website.
- Create new, high-quality content regularly (such as blog posts).
- Make sure your website loads quickly and works correctly on both desktops and mobile devices.
- Complete your Google My Business listing and other online profiles.
- Make sure your NAP (name, address, and phone number) is consistent on every directory for local businesses.
These—and other—strategies can help patients find your practice more easily.
5. Ask for Help
Finally, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Like many medical professionals, you’re probably busy providing optimal patient care to everyone who comes into your medical practice. That means you might not have the time to devote to managing your online reputation as you might like. A little help from online reputation management companies can go a long way in ensuring your reputation stays positive.
Focus On Your Practice
As a medical professional, your patients are your top priority. Providing quality care can help boost overall patient satisfaction, which can lead to more positive reviews and more new patients.
When you have the assistance of someone else to take care of your online reputation, you can keep all of your attention right where it belongs—on your patients.
Use Professionals for Online Reputation Management
You don’t want to rely on just anyone to manage your reputation online. For the best results, professional online reputation management companies are your best bet. These companies know what matters most for practices like yours. This allows them to take the necessary steps to ensure that your online presence works for you, helping you to attract new patients and grow your practice successfully.
Manage your Online Reputation
With most patients searching for healthcare providers online, an online presence is a must. It’s not only about being online, though; it’s also about having a positive online reputation. You need to be aware of what people are saying about your practice.
That’s where online reputation management for doctors comes in. When you actively monitor what people are saying about your practice, you can take the necessary action to protect it. Striving for a good reputation benefits your patients, and it helps to ensure the longevity of your practice.
Are you looking to manage your online reputation more effectively? With automated review requests, real-time review alerts, and satisfaction surveys, Demandforce can help. Contact Demandforce to schedule your demo today.