Reputation Management: Why It’s Important For Your PracticePosted: May 25, 2022 - By Health Dev
A practice’s reputation has a huge effect on its ability to attract new patients and hold onto the ones it has. Earning a good reputation should be a primary focus. Once earned, this positive reputation should be broadcast to the world and maintained through great customer service and through providing only high-quality services.
A bad reputation needs to be quickly turned around. This is particularly true in the digital era, when news travels fast and people finding your practice online may have only your practice’s reputation to base their decisions on where to receive the best patient care.
Whether your medical practice currently enjoys a good reputation or you need to work on improving how the world views you, online reputation management is a necessary part of promoting and protecting your brand.
What Is Reputation Management?
Reputation management is monitoring and adjusting public perceptions of your practice. It involves being aware of the reputation you currently have, answering negative press with your own narrative, and finding ways to boost your positive impressions.
This is now more important than ever before because more people are relying on the internet to find healthcare professionals. Without references from friends and family, new patients may have only your online reputation to decide whether your practice is a good fit for them.
In the digital era, reputation management is a daily chore. Negative comments or reviews about your practice can spread rapidly through social media accounts and review sites. Online reputation management is a time-consuming chore that may be best left to a reputation manager with state-of-the-art reputation management software.
How to Develop an Online Reputation Management Strategy
The first step to creating an effective online reputation management strategy is to understand the power of social media and patient-experience review sites when it comes to creating an image of your medical practice. Reputation is all about perception. Regardless of the reality, you need to be aware of how damaging negative content or bad reviews can be to your practice.
Your online reputation management strategy must accomplish three things: prevent negative content, react quickly to bad reviews, and encourage and promote positive content. The following steps are a good start toward accomplishing these goals.
Curating a Careful Online Image
Everything that you post online about yourself or your medical practice should be designed to promote a positive image. A careless tweet stating your political views or an image of one of your employees behaving badly will inevitably be linked to your practice, and it may damage your reputation.
To avoid this, always be aware of the potential impact of anything that you or your staff post online, whether it is directly related to your practice or not. More than that, you must actively promote the image you want people to have of you and your practice.
This may mean posting images of your participation in school-based events if you are a pediatrician who wants to be seen interacting with children outside the office. Or it may include images of you and your dogs on vacation if you are a veterinarian who wants to project the image of a doting pet owner.
How to Interact With a Potential Patient
You want to ensure that every interaction you have with a potential patient leaves them with a positive impression. You do this by interacting with them as an individual, not a dollar sign, and having real conversations, not a series of sales pitches.
Free-flowing conversations may be a bit more difficult to achieve in the digital era, when interactions often start with questionnaires and AI-based replies. Still, when you do have the opportunity to speak directly to potential patients, be sure to leave them with the impression that you are friendly, knowledgeable, and a good listener.
Online reviews should play a major role in your reputation management strategy. Recent studies have shown that many people, 84% of them, trust online reviews as much as word-of-mouth reviews from those they know.
Part of the strategy should involve monitoring negative reviews. The other aspect of online review management involves encouraging patients who are pleased with your services to leave positive reviews.
Here are a few tips on handling both positive and negative reviews.
How to Respond to a Positive Review or Positive Comment
While a positive review by itself is a good thing, the proper response to one can raise the validity of its claims and increase your likability. Be sure to include these things in your response:
- The customer’s name
- A greeting
- A sincere thank-you
- Responses to specific points addressed in the review
- Keywords, but only if they flow naturally in your response
How to Respond to a Negative Review or Negative Comment
There is no way to erase a negative review, but there are ways to minimize its impact. One of these is by posting a response. Respond quickly and be sure to include the following things:
- An acknowledgment of the patient’s complaint
- A sincere apology
- If possible, an explanation, not an excuse, for what went wrong
- Accountability for the patient;s negative experience
- A way to make it right
Integrating Patient Feedback
Integrating patient feedback into your online reputation management strategy may be the best way to increase positive patient experiences and reviews. By showing your patients that you listen to their advice and complaints, you make them feel valued and listened to. This will lead to more positive content about both you and your practice.
Using Reputation Management Software
Achieving and maintaining a positive reputation may be the best way to attract new patients and hold onto the ones you have. It is vital that your online reputation remains positive. It also takes a lot of work.
To solve this problem, many in the healthcare industry are turning to reputation management software. Quality software can root out negative reviews and find solutions to them, boost the visibility of positive reviews, and integrate patient feedback into the plan. It can also help you create a positive image online and keep it that way by creating pathways for positive interactions with your patients.