Why do online reputations matter? “If you make customers unhappy in the physical world they might each tell six friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.” – Jeff Bezos Founder & CEO, Amazon
Even if your practice isn’t online, your reputation is. People take their experiences to the Internet and these are noticed by thousands of others who make a perception about your practice based on them. Before the Internet and social media connectivity, your practice reputation was something you built, not managed. Any fallout from the patient complaints you couldn’t fix was of limited scope, but today, these grievances travel like wildfire. It takes years for physicians to build their reputation and just a few mouse clicks are enough to tarnish it. Social media and physician-review websites act as a magnifying lens for every unaddressed complaint, lack of service, cases of negligence and patient experiences.
Why does online reputation matter?
Even if you aren’t a social physician on the Internet, you’re susceptible to online criticism. Conversations about you and your practice are bound to happen in the digital space irrespective of you being aware of them. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to be aware of these conversations to know what is being said about you online, and participate in them when necessary, than to be a totally unaware and be a silent bystander? After all, your practice will grow and reflect your success only when you have your appointment book full. That can happen when you proactively manage your online reputation and turn the negative sentiments to positive ones, wherever possible. Surely, you wouldn’t want to miss the potential patient conversions from social media and other platforms. This can only happen if you actively monitor and manage your online practice reputation.
Warren Buffet also gave us a valuable piece of advice: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and just five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
Take the first step to protect your online reputation and request your Online Reputation Assessment.
Online reputation management is widely about managing two things. Firstly, it is to actively monitor and manage your online reputation on search engines, review websites and social media channels. You need to proactively participate in conversations where your practice is involved. This is important to build brand equity for your practice and will define how people perceive your brand. The second is crisis management, where you should have a strategy to protect your reputation in case someone tries to harm it. As it is next to impossible to deliver 100% patient satisfaction, there will always be some patients who will not be satisfied with you or your practice. Ironically, patients can post anything they wish, and that too under the cover of anonymity. If left un-responded to, negative/false/biased opinions can travel like wildfire and cause havoc to your online reputation.
Guard your reputation and transform how the world perceives you online
Digital and social media are considered high-value interactive platforms by industry experts as physician-patient communication is faster and easier. Physicians and healthcare providers should consider these channels as an opportunity for growth. Maintaining an online reputation is also a way of setting realistic expectations for patients before they visit you. It’s like your “digital guidebook” that describes you and the services offered at your practice. If managed proactively, a physician’s online reputation can pay off big – both in the short and long run. So, embrace it by developing a strong online reputation today for a better practice tomorrow.