The American healthcare ecosystem is witnessing a landscape of change. The Affordable Care Act has put patients at the center of care and as they now pay a larger portion of their own healthcare expenses, they expect nothing but the best healthcare services. For physicians, word-of-mouth marketing just won’t do anymore – they need to channel the power of patient reviews to grow their practice.
Americans have been diagnosed with an online obsession! The number of patients using online reviews jumped 68% from 2014 to 2015. People are increasingly turning to the Internet like never before to make their health decisions and to self-diagnose their medical conditions as nearly nine in ten consumers (87 per cent) access the Internet regularly (PEW American Life, 2014). The numbers seem to rise at a very rapid pace and, undoubtedly, a patient’s digital experience now counts prior to the physical experience. Whatever is said about you online makes a huge impact on your online reputation and affects the digital footprints of your practice. Are you equipped to grow your practice by managing what these empowered healthcare consumers are saying about you? If not, be prepared to lose your patients to the competitors who are proactive about their online review management.
Let’s face this fact! Your present and future patients are online and they actively engage in real-time conversations with others about their healthcare experiences. What others write about their experiences with a particular physician or healthcare provider lays the foundation of their perception, which in turn is the determining factor for a patient to book an appointment or not.
Online reviews carry great weight
While positive reviews can help create a positive online reputation, a few negative ones are sufficient to ruin it. Your reputation can be tarnished from any corner of the world, and there’s a chance you may not be even aware of it. In order to keep a track of your practice’s online reputation, it’s important to analyze what your patients are saying about you on the Internet. Physicians can leverage the power of online reviews to increase online visibility and enhance their online reputation.
Take the first step to protect your online reputation and request your Online Reputation Assessment.
Don’t let your practice get knocked down because of a few negative reviews. You’ve worked hard to build a great practice, so work toward the goal of managing online reviews so that the review sites reflect it. To stay competitive, you need to be online. You also need to listen to what people are saying and engage in the conversation.
Potential customers may see reviews before they see your website. Incorrect, biased or flat-out faulty views expressed on the Internet could negatively impact the flow of patients to your practice and hence, can be undermining factors for your growth.
Be sure to respond to as many reviews as possible. Humbly thank people who have posted positive reviews about you and assure them that you’ll continue to strive for delivering the best healthcare services. Respond to the negative reviews in a polite way and stay away from arguments. Just let the unhappy patients know that you want to provide a resolution to the problems they faced and try to take the conversation to an alternate platform such as phone, email or direct chat. Always remember to show your willingness with an open attitude to accept any lack of service. Use these negative reviews as direct patient insights and leverage them as an opportunity make improvements.
Physicians and healthcare providers can harness the power of reviews to build brand identity and increase patient count at their practice. If managed meticulously, each individual response to a review can be very impactful in balancing the effects of the negatives ones. Your practice can definitely grow by chanelling the power of reviews to provide wider bandwidth for brand-building and online visibility, which will enhance your online reputation.