Do you know that your online reviews on rating websites matter more than ever, as your patients/potential patients analyze them carefully before making a decision to book an appointment?
Online reputation management has taken center stage, and managing a positive digital reputation is becoming indispensable. As a physician, you can be so busy with your daily schedules and appointments that you barely get time to go online and see what people are saying about you. But will it stop people from posting reviews about you and rating your practice on physician-rating websites and social media? The answer is a clear NO!
Americans are turning to the Internet like never before to make their health decisions and to self-diagnose their medical conditions. And nearly nine in ten consumers (87 percent) 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 digitally ready to face the storm of online rating websites? It’s high time you take charge of your online reputation or be ready to lose your patients tech-savvy competitors. Learn some quick tips to deal with patient reviews on rating websites.
Don’t be a silent watchman of the reviews
You can’t just let them sit and see your online reputation going down the drain. If you choose to be silent and let people say whatever they wish about your practice, be ready to see a drastic decline in the number of patients at your practice. Don’t fear a professional online interaction, but always maintain privacy and confidentiality of patient information. A responsible response indicates transparency within your medical practice and creates a sense of trust and credibility.
Be “proactive” rather than “reactive”
Try to be humble and apologize wherever you feel there was some lack in services. Focus on coming up with a solution for the problems. Your attitude about resolving issues and delivering the best possible services will be visible to all your patients and prospective patients.
Take the first step to protect your online reputation and request your Online Reputation Assessment.
Try to personally respond to negative posts. You can extend an invitation to the concerned patient and take the conversation to an alternate platform such as phone or email. This is a better way to resolve the issues as there is a direct interaction with the patient, and the communication is not visible publically.
Figure out the “right way” to fight negative online reviews
Dealing with these reviews optimistically opens up the lines of communication between the physician and patients. Don’t fear a professional online interaction and figure out the “right way” to fight negative online reviews. Industry experts in online reputation management suggest that physicians solicit positive reviews and leverage them to counter negative ones.
Whatever might have been the reason to post a negative comment, many times people just want to be heard. By responding appropriately to reviews, feedback or complaints, you can gain the confidence of patients and potential patients who are reading the reviews. Always remember to set objectives for each review response and make sure the response is personalized.
Turn criticism into a positive outlook
Always take note of the fact that potential patients track your online profiles and analyze the way you respond to reviews. Based on this, they make a decision – whether your services are worthy of them or not. Capitalize on this! Don’t ever ignore unhappy patients or negative experiences they have stated. A key to resolving their negativity is to strike up a conversation with them and own up to mistakes that may have occurred. In any case, just assure your patients that their health is of prime importance and you’ll do your best to resolve issues and provide the best healthcare services.
Physicians and other healthcare providers can no longer choose to ignore the online reviews. It’s time they harness the power of reviews to build brand entity and increase patient count at their practice.